This past year, the need for self-care became increasingly evident for me. Not a modern all-about-me and my feelings self-care, but instead a Christ-centered vessel-care.
The Bible says we are Christ’s ambassadors, His vessels called to glorify Him and do good work prepared in advance (2 Corinthians 5:20, 2 Timothy 2:21).
If the vessel is depleted, how can it best be used as an ambassador? True self-care is good stewardship and proper maintenance.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul delivers encouragement and strength to the church with “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (ESV)
Reveals man as having three parts - a body, a soul, and a spirit.
Speaks of God’s redeeming work and sanctification over all three areas. We are his creation and each part of us is important to Him.
Infers that stewardship should be a priority. If these three areas are important to Him, they should be important to us.
The question now is, what is God's responsibility for the care and maintenance of me and what is mine? God is the one who sanctifies (sets apart for his purposes), but throughout the Bible, God calls his people to be good stewards (caretakers) of what is given (i.e. treasures, talents, children, life, etc.).
May I suggest that Christ-centered vessel care is assessing and stewarding the body, soul, and spirit?
We all know when we feel a little off. Whether it's fatigue, negative emotion, or distraction, it is bound to come and will come again. These are the times we need to notice that we've moved and are in an area of deficiency. We regroup by assessing our whole being (each part), then identify and incrementally care for the deficiency area we find.
Step 1: Assess each area (examples below)
Sleep and Rest: Am I getting enough sleep? Am I allowing my body time to rest?
Nutrition: How is my diet? Am I properly fueling my body? Am I drinking enough water?
Activity: Am I being physically active or working my body?
Medical: Am I getting my annual doctor checks? Am I carrying stress in my body?
Am I holding onto negative emotions that need to be addressed and released?
Am I ruminating on negative messages or thoughts?
Am I giving too much effort to the distractions of life?
Am I isolating myself from community?
Am I making it a priority to draw near to the Lord? What does that look like in this season?
Am I listening to the world or God's Word?
Is there a sin that I'm allowing to hijack my connection to the father?
Step 2: Implement Incremental Care:
Once a deficiency is identified, prayerfully implement one sustainable action step of faith you can take towards caring for that area. If the step is too overwhelming, it's too big.
Set a bedtime or rest time.
Start drinking more water.
Set a step goal or go for a walk.
Schedule an appointment with your primary care.
Identify an emotion and see what God says about it.
Determine if what you are saying to yourself is true.
Thank God for something when your mind focuses on difficult circumstances.
Schedule time with a friend.
Schedule consistent time to sit, talk, and listen to God.
Ask God to remove the noise and reveal His voice.
Confess and repent sin. Ask for the desire and power to obey (Philippians 2:13)
Step 3: Reassess and repeat
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.