“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Matthew 16-24-26
Following Jesus requires self-sacrifice. All through out the scriptures we are called to kill the flesh. How can these be in line with self-care?
Be killing the flesh or it will be killing you!
Self-care is not self-indulgence.
Most of what I read as good self-care involves trips to the salon to get nails painted, pedicures, and $300 haircuts. With hand raised and wounded heart, I confess I was one. None of these outward things changed my cycles of self-hatred, anxieties, depression, bitterness, jealousies, or loneliness. I felt just as worthless with pretty nails and new shoes.
Following Jesus requires us to read the scriptures, so that we know the truth. And, the truth is what will set us free to practice good self-care and to understand what it means to lose your life for Jesus so that you find it.
Others needs did not dictate Jesus’ schedule. Although everyone was looking for him, he didn’t stay in that village and continue to heal, he left for other villages. He did the will of the Father, and that means he left some people to go to other villages. Mark 1:38
Jesus says no to his friends. In Luke 7, John the Baptist, who is in jail, sends disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? (Luke 7:20). Jesus gives John a great compliment, but does nothing to rescue him from being beheaded by Herod (Mark 6:14-29). Jesus didn’t save him.
Jesus points out, when some one is sinning against him. He doesn’t just let evil words “roll of his back”. Kindness isn’t always nice. Some people want to be nice and ignore sinful behavior. Jesus wasn’t co-dependently nice. He was kind. Matthew 12:33-37
All of these situations are difficult for those of us who want to be accepted and loved. Sometimes we feel like the more we do for others the more they will love and accept us. So we become yes people. The sad truth is that we lie with every yes.
If you say yes to some one and you really want to say no, then you’ve lied to them.
Jesus says let your yes be yes and your no be no. Anything else is from the evil one (Matthew 5:37).
Practicing self-care takes rigorous honesty. Are we following Christ? or Are we just trying to get our need for love and acceptance met by serving others in the church? This falls into the category of manipulation. We are using our service and sacrifice as a way to manipulate others into loving, admiring, or accepting us. Serving and sacrificing are good things. We’ve been called to it. But, when we serve others with the wrong motives we become bitter, angry, and entitled. Ask yourself, am I bitter when some one treats me as a servant? Am angry when some one doesn’t treat me the way I want to be treated after I served or sacrificed for them? Do I feel like I deserve something for my service or sacrifice?
We need to learn to say NO, and yes, that may mean that someone you love may reject you.
Take the chance. God has called all of us to do good works that He has planned for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus said no to his family in order to fulfill those good works. Jesus didn’t rescue his friend. Jesus slept, prayed, and took time for himself to be alone with God. We can do all of that too.
Self-care is admitting why we feel unworthy, bitter, jealous, lonely, and depressed. In order to do that we must face the sins that we have committed and the sins that have been perpetrated against us. When we declare the evil acts committed against us as sin, we are speaking truth. The truth sets us free. Call it a sin. When we confess it as sin, Jesus breaks the power of the trauma. We release our bitterness and anger.
There is just something healing in confession. Some wrongly connect condemnation with confession. However, when we finally come to the end of ourselves, we stop trying to hide our sin and denying that we’ve been sinned against, we acknowledge the truth. The truth sets us free, releasing us from bondage.
We acknowledge that we are valuable and should be treated as valuable. We are not worthless. The truth is this…The person who treated us as if we were worthless, sinned. They were wrong, not us.
Release the shame of their sin.
We acknowledge that we treated ourselves as worth-less than what God created us to be. We sinned. We treated others less than as loved and valuable as God created them to be too. We sinned.
Accept God’s forgiveness.
If the Creator forgives you, be humble enough to forgive yourself.
Tip #4 Learn to say NO!
Jesus says, “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.” This means it is acceptable for you to say, “No, I can’t do that.”
It’s OK to say NO. We don’t even have to say why. We are unique and valuable and God has good works for us to do, and no one, except God, dictates what those works are.
*The next post will be on acknowledging our uniqueness before God.*