Self-Care / Soul-Care
We hear lots about self-care at the moment. There are countless books, podcasts, YouTube
clips and articles to read, all on the subject of self-care. It seems that most people agree
that self-care is a good thing, and that there are several things we can be doing to care for
ourselves and improve our mental health and wellbeing. A few examples might be to take
time out for yourself, nurture your friendships, get a good night’s sleep, drink lots of water,
cut down on caffeine or alcohol, go for a brisk walk or take some exercise. We might want
to add to this list take time out from people, sit down for a good cup of tea, enjoy a nice hot
bath, or going for a run. Self-care looks different for all of us, and the tips are endless.
Many of us would look at a list like I have written above, and say yes, these are things that
would help me to care for myself.
But the purpose of this Blog is to have a think about self-care for those of us that are
Christian, and I am going to call this soul-care. Here are some examples of self-care we read
of in the Bible, and I think you will see that as we look at these examples of self-care, we are
prompted to think of ways they might affect our soul-care.
In the book of Genesis, God models to us the pattern of working, and resting. He spent six
days creating, and then one day resting. In Genesis 1 we read “By the seventh day God had
finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His
work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all
the work of creating that He had done.” God models to us the pattern of working and
resting. If resting was good for God, resting is good for us too, and that is reflected when
the law was introduced, and God told His people to take Sabbath rest. Notice that we are
told that God’s day of rest was blessed, and holy. It was different to His other days. Do we
allow our self-care times to be different to our other times? Could we describe them as
“blessed” or “holy”?
Elijah is another example of someone in the Bible who modelled the need to rest. After he
ran away from Ahab and Jezebel, Elijah reached despair point. He hid under a bush where
he prayed that God would take away his life. The Lord used this moment to provide for
Elijah’s needs. The angel of the Lord provided Elijah with food and drink before Elijah rested
again. The angel of the Lord returned to Elijah giving him more food and drink, preparing
Elijah for what was to come next. Do we allow ourselves time to rest and recover from what
we have done, and time to prepare ourselves for what is to come? Notice here that the
Lord provided all that Elijah needed. (1 Kings 19). When we take time out, do we ask the
Lord to provide all we need? Do we ask Him to refresh us, to help us recover from what is
behind, and prepare us for what is ahead? This is not just self-care, this is soul-care.
Jesus also models to us this pattern of needing to take time out. Jesus uses His time out to
rest and pray. (See for example Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Mark 6:31 and more.) Reading
through these examples does cause me to ask myself when I am taking a bit of time, maybe
time we would call “me time”, would I ever consider using it to rest and pray? Would I
consider using it to feed my soul, or do I use it just to fill up on things I enjoy?
Soul-care is vital. It’s more needed even than self-care! If you are struggling to think where
you might start, why not spend some time in Psalm 62.
“Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from Him.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
We all know that at times we need rest; we need to practice self-care. And we have seen
from the Bible that in addition to our already helpful pattern of self-care, we must also
make time for soul-care. Psalm 62 is a great Psalm to use to guide us in our practice of soul-
care. Psalm 62 helps us to acknowledge that our soul finds rest in God. Psalm 62 helps us
to express that the Lord is our rock (our safe place), and our salvation. Psalm 62 helps us to
know that in Him, we will never be shaken.
Let’s pray that God’s word will guide us in our soul-care, as we practice self-care. It will
keep us from being tempted to keep going in our own strength and not the Lord’s. It will
keep us trusting in Jesus to be the provider of all our needs. It will help us to trust that with
Jesus, we will never be shaken.
- Emma Howard, Church Member