Do you tend to take care of everyone else BEFORE you take care of yourself?

  • Do you tend to say “no” when someone offers to help because you feel guilty about inconveniencing him or her?

  • Do you stay up late doing nice things for others, but cringe at the thought of someone going out of their way for you?

  • Have you ever put something back in the store or canceled an online purchase for yourself because you felt too guilty to do something nice for yourself?

Many years ago, I received a gift certificate from a friend of mine. She owns a beautiful luxury spa and she wanted me to enjoy a free massage. When she handed me the gold foil envelope at church, I quickly shoved it in my purse because I didn’t want anyone to know that I’d received something so nice. I wanted people to think that I was a hard worker and obviously, hard workers never have time for something as frivolous as a massage, right?

Don’t get me wrong. I wanted that massage soooo badly. I had three kids at home, a husband, a demanding job and a body that just wanted to be pampered. BUT, I just couldn’t say “yes” to 60 minutes of luxury until I’d finished my to-do list. The following is the list back then that I felt that I had to finish before I could say “yes” to that massage.

  • File the insurance claim.

  • Take the dog to the vet.

  • Get my annual mammogram appointment (because obviously I couldn’t enjoy my massage without getting the girls’ squished first…)

Friend, I drove around with that gold-foil envelope gift certificate for six months before I finally gave in and used it.

I loved that massage. It was such a beautiful experience and getting that massage didn’t take away or diminish anyone or anything else important in my life.

Over the years, I’ve turned into the Queen of Self-Care. On purpose. As well as for a divine purpose!

Why don’t we give ourselves PERMISSION to take care of ourselves?

Before I talk about permission, I want to address the debate that Christian women have about whether or not self-care is a spiritual issue. There’s a lot that we can say about how we define self-care and such, but I’m going to share my perspective and it’s one that I wrote about long ago in my Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle with Beauty book:

If God created our bodies, then how we treat them and care for them is a spiritual matter.

The step before practicing successful self-care is giving ourselves PERMISSION.

Permission is saying “yes.” Therefore, giving yourself permission for self-care is saying “yes” to taking care of the body that God gave to you.

You maybe asking, “Barb, what should I say ‘yes’ to?” Good question! Here are a few Self-Care Starter questions that I ask myself when I am thinking about self-care. (If you need some ideas on what to do, I’ve got a resource for you farther down.)

  1. When do I need to take a day off to rest my body and mind? (Sabbath)

  2. Do I need to put down my phone and go to bed sooner? (Sleep)

  3. What brings me joy, encourages me and uplifts my heart? (Smile)

  4. What will help me be mentally or emotionally healthy today? (Spirit)

Have you ever thought about praying and asking God to help you discern where you need better self-care? Don’t discount God if you feel a leading that you need a haircut because it’s been way too long.

Ultimately, self-care is about giving our bodies the same honor that God gives to our bodies. We’re created in His image! When you give yourself permission to take care of yourself, you’re honoring God. When I take care of the body that God gives me, then my self-care is actually a preparation for my body to be used by God! Think about that!

Your self-care can be a partnership between you and God!

Need some fresh self-care ideas? Do you have my “Taking Care of You in Tough Times: 101 Self-Care Tips” ebook? You can drop in your name and email and I’ll send it to you!

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