The Need for Self-Care Amid this Crisis

The last few months have had a crippling effect on America and its compatriots. Normal people living out their lives in peace and hope have been sidelined by political opportunist and bureaucratic tyrants. This has caused great distress in family structures and organizations that exist to serve the public good. It is all too common for these structures to be caught up in the wellness of others that they forget the concept of self-care and how important that is to the efficacy purpose of caring for humanity.

If proper self-care is neglected, it leads to irrational thinking and a push toward “doing good” despite what that good may lead to. Good intentions, in most situations, lead to bad decisions made under the guise of peace and unity.

Temperance is a key component of self-care and it undergirds the biblical understanding of how to measure oneself in the light of the Gospel; “So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27 ESV).

Self-care can be defined as a commitment to your optimal health and well-being for your own sake, for those who love and care about you, and in the service of God’s kingdom.[1] The importance of self-care is often overlooked in ministry and home life settings. Head of households, leadership, and staff are too habitually set-aside in homes, non-profits, and ministry organizations. “How we imagine leadership, for example, is influenced by corporate understandings of leadership.”[2] But this is a flawed understanding of leadership. Homes are, in part, ministry settings so, therefore, this will serve as our analogy. Ministry and non-profit organizations are not guided and spearheaded by the same principals and structures as the private sector and most political ideologies. The ultimate goal of self-preservation does not serve the same purpose of biblical families, ministries, and parachurch organizations, causing those involved to give themselves selflessly in the faithful service of the Gospel and ministry of Jesus Christ. In some instances, this leads to a lack of self-care on behalf of the disciple (employee) which inescapably gets passed onto the family, congregation, or clientele.

What is self-care? “Never promoting self-involved behavior or narcissism, self-care is one way to love yourself so that you can love your neighbor.”[3] It is making sure that the person in charge of other people is making sure that he/she can fulfill these duties with joy, integrity, and efficacy. This can only be attained through diligent adherence to feeding the mind, healthy physical acumen, and spiritual wellness. To be able to properly perform the duties of the job (or mission), the mind, body, and spirit has to be able to appropriately function at a rate commiserate to the expectations of the outcome. This means that mediocre self-care produces mediocre productivity or customer service. If leadership is neglecting the self, then sub-par leadership will it produce.

The biblical mandate shows that a renovated heart leads to the bearing of good fruit. That fruit is the evidence of efficient self-care: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:22-26).

Take time and slowly go through this fruit and ask yourself if that is what you are extolling in life and the society in which you contribute? Do you see love, joy, and peace in the riots? Are patience, kindness, and goodness instilled in the cancel culture that we see in the protestations? Are faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control displayed in the animus toward American heritage and history? In fact, what we see in society and throughout our homes and organizations is an irrational jump to appease the mob to overt indictment.

No fruit of the spirit is present in the misappropriation of social justice over God’s justice. Side-stepping sovereignty and self-constraint and control is opposition to what the Bible teaches about self-care; “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works”(Titus 2:11-14).

R-Rated Religion would like to propose three basic questions to test yourself and how you may be reacting to the COVID-19 lockdowns, the racial tensions filling our discourse, and the political animosity festooned all over media:

  1. Are you biblically feeding yourself daily as to the steps it takes to care for yourself, others, and the community (Joshua 1:8)?
  2. Are you responding to the ills of society with the viewpoint of God in control, or human domination (1 Corinthians 10:13)?
  3. Are you reacting to situations in your home, vocation, or society that side-steps God as the Sovereign arbitrator of love and justice (Romans 3:24-26)?

Take the time and meditate on your answers before you respond. Take ideology, race, creed, and experience out of your answer and think about what pleases God. Believers elevate our faith over societal norms and group think mentalities. This often goes against mainstream leaders and ideas but, none-the-less, it is the biblical way of life; I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).

Some of the aforementioned points may not have connected with you right now in the “safe space” that currently live in. R-Rated Religion urges you to set aside your biases and suppositions while you consider the need for self-care that leads to biblical self-preservation. Christians should not be concerned with winning the argument but winning souls for Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). This is especially true for home, church, and parachurch organizations; salvation trumps (no pun intended) critical race theology and diversity platitudes. Self-care leads to God-centered theology which created sound biblical doctrine that undergirds our interpretation of scripture which propels our walk-in faith that bears good fruit of the Holy Spirit who enables our light to shine unto the world: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Footnotes:

[1] Jaco Hamman, “Self-Care and Community,” in Welcome to Theological Field Education!, ed. Matthew Floding (Lanham, MD; Boulder; New York; Toronto; Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), 102.

[2] Ibid, 101.

[3] Ibid, 102.

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