Loving Oneself, Part 3
Updated: Aug 28
The Validity and Benefits of Good Self-Care, Part 3
by Jim Walter, ThM
In reading your Bible, have you noticed how often God appeals to us to do (or not do!) something which is in our own best interests?
Because He cares for us, He wants us live in ways that are good for us!
In Part 1 of this series, we saw that loving ourselves—good self care—is essential for loving God and loving our neighbors.
In Part 2, we saw that the pursuit of living wisely is one of the best ways to practice good self care.
Now we will see from Ecclesiastes 5 three more ways to follow God’s directions in Scripture, each of which are really good for us!
First, be less busy:
Ecclesiastes 5:3—"Too much activity gives you restless dreams."
How many of us fill our days with so much activity, even productive activity, that we have a hard time “winding down” at the end of the day? Then in order to get sleepy and quiet our minds, we have a few drinks and sometimes a sleep med? Though we may get to sleep, experts like Matthew Walker (Why We Sleep) say that medicated sleep is not the restorative sleep we need.
Look at your calendar or whatever indicates your “busyness” level. Could you be less busy, have more margin?
And consider why you are so busy…Are you fulfilling your calling? Or seeking approval? Or security? Is there something motivating your busy-ness that needs understanding and care?
As a kid, the only thing I remember my step-father saying to me to me is, “You’re lazy, you’re no-good, and you’ll never amount to anything!!!” Sure, very likely reverse psychology to motivate me to work hard…but here I am, decades later, sometimes way too busy in order to prove to him and perhaps myself that he IS wrong!
If you aren’t sure why you are so busy, consider asking Jesus what He wants you to know about that?
Second, talk less and listen more.
Also from Ecclesiastes 5:3: “Too many words make you a fool.”
I’m one who talks a lot, so I don’t particularly like this passage! But no doubt, especially if I am upset, the more I talk, the more I end up having a lot that I later wish I had not said!
Consider after any conversation, did you talk more than the other person? Or did you listen more?
It is good self-care—loving ourselves—to talk less and listen more and so decrease our risk of being foolish!
Third, keep our promises, and make fewer.
Ecclesiastes 5:5-6—"It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.”
This is another one that is difficult for me. I like for people to like me, so I am often tempted to say yes without considering whether I can really keep my “yes.”
And then the embarrassment and shame when I don’t follow through…Ugh!
I’ve come to see that the God who loves me wants to protect me from those painful situations…He wants me to care for myself by making fewer promises but then doing what I say I will do.
How about you? Can you identify with this challenge?
What promises have you made without enough consideration of whether you have the capacity to keep the promise?
What promises have you made that you have yet to keep?
Ask Jesus to show you anything He wants you to see in this area of your life.
May these three aspects of good self care grow and deepen in your life!