Jesus and the Self-Care Movement

by Dr. Georgia Purdom on March 7, 2020

“I am enough.” Have you seen this saying possibly on social media posted by a Christian friend or shared from a Christian website? Every time I see it, I just want to shout, “no, you’re not!” It is the essence of the lie that Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden, “. . . you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” In other words, you don’t need God; you can be wise, just like him. But it takes a lot of work to try to be “enough” all by ourselves, and we end up exhausted and frustrated, and we’re told by our society that we just need more “me time.” But is that idea biblical?

Returning speaker Camille Cates is going to help us know! She is the Assistant Director for Healing Hearts International and a speaker, author, and certified counselor. Camille writes this about her upcoming presentation:

  • Stress
  • Burnout
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion

What do we do when we experience these things?

Our lives are filled with cleaning, laundry, meal prep, running errands, deadlines at work, spending quality time with spouses (at least trying to), or making the most of our singleness. Most days, we are trying our best to care for our children or grandchildren, or perhaps parents or grandparents—sometimes both—depending on what stage of life we’re in! And let’s not forget our responsibilities at church.

Many women wake up with a to-do list a mile long and feel by the time bedtime rolls around only an inch of ground was covered.

Who wouldn’t be tempted to be stressed, burned out, depressed or anxious, and flat-out exhausted after that list?

Our culture is trying to alleviate these pounding pressures through what some call “self-care.”

Self-care can be defined as: “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”1

Sounds good, right? I mean, what’s wrong with taking care of ourselves? Isn’t that what God wants us to do?

The problem is the way the world tells us to care for ourselves and the way God expects us to care for ourselves can be different, even subtly different. The truth about how and why we are to care for ourselves can get lost as we scroll through Facebook or Pinterest posts giving us, “The 10 Best Tips for Self-Care.”

All too often, the Church will latch onto the latest ideas permeating our culture, then try to reinterpret Scripture through the lens of these new ideas. As Christians, it is important to evaluate new trends and movements through the lens of truth—God’s Word.

From the gospel accounts—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—we can observe that Jesus’ life and ministry were extremely busy and often demanding. Did Jesus experience any temptation to succumb to stress, burnout, depression, or anxiety? Was Jesus ever physically and mentally exhausted?

According to Hebrews 4:15, John 4:6, and other passages in Scripture, the answer is a resounding “YES!”

Knowing Jesus experienced the same struggles we do, we must ask ourselves, “If Jesus were living in our modern era, would he prescribe today’s “self-care” as the solution to a busy life?”

Here’s where we must use extreme caution. As women seeking to follow Jesus, we must not try to conform Jesus to our modern-day culture.

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 12:2).

While the self-care movement seems to have good intentions, could it be a well-crafted counterfeit solution to our troubles?

This is not to say that those who have promoted or endorsed the self-care movement have done so with intent to deceive. Instead, we must be aware of the schemes of our enemy, Satan, whose native tongue is lying and deception (see John 8:44 and 2 Corinthians 2:11). He is quite adept at constructing counterfeits—worldly ideologies that sound good, but actually lure our hearts off course and away from the truth (see 2 Corinthians 11:14).

The truth is that God does want us to be good stewards of our physical and spiritual lives—taking care of our hearts, minds, and bodies—in order to fully live for Him!

Yet, we don’t need to rely on the world’s methodologies to steward our lives well. We need to look to Jesus and His Word. The Bible gives us sufficient counsel and practical examples to help us when “life” gets us down. The Bible gives us this promise:

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3 NLT).

What a powerful truth! In Christ, we have everything we need to live a godly life. The real question is: Do you know where to look in God’s Word to find what you need to overcome the stresses of life, to be a good steward of the life He has given you?

I hope you will join me in March at the Answers for Women Conference: Truth—Uncovering the Lies We Believe. Together, we’ll discover some practical ways to steward our lives well and overcome exhaustion all for the glory of God and the benefit of others.

We are not enough, and only with God’s help can we do what he has called us to do in this life.

Will you help us spread the word about Answers for Women? Overwhelmingly, women say they learned about the conference by “word of mouth.” So, I want you to read these blog posts, share them on social media, and use them to personally invite women to this truth-filled time of worship, teaching, and fellowship. Register here today!

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