The morning was falling apart. The baby didn’t want to be put down. The toddler kept having meltdowns. The washing machine was making funny noises. My husband had been out of town all week, and I was utterly exhausted, overwhelmed, and in great need of a break.
I text my husband, “I need somewhere quiet. Can I, please, leave when you get home for lunch for half an hour? I have to recharge.”
I believe self-care is biblical, and as Christian women, we could use a good dose of self-care.
However, making sure my needs are met hasn’t always come easily to me. I face several challenges when it comes to taking care of myself. I want to share three challenges that rear their ugly heads most often because I don’t think I’m alone in my struggle to embrace self-care.
3 Challenges I Face When it Comes to Self-Care
1. I can’t voice what I need because others have needs too … and they are more important.
I can come up with several reasons why I can’t take time for self-care.
- My husband works long hours, and he needs a break.
- I’m nursing our baby, and I can’t leave him.
- My toddler needs stability, so I need to stay with him right now.
And on and on it goes …
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. ~Philippians 2:4
According to Paul, it is assumed that we are caring for our own needs. Therefore, caring for the needs of others is not a valid reason to neglect self-care.
My needs are important. My family’s needs are important. But it’s not an either/or situation. It is important that we balance God’s calling to care for others with introspection and self-care.
2. I shouldn’t have to ask for help in order to get my needs met.
I think this shows up most in my marriage.
Too often, my pride stands in the way of asking for help. I cover up my pride by claiming that I shouldn’t have to tell my husband I need help.
Shouldn’t he just know I need a break? Can’t he see that I haven’t gotten out of my pj’s in two days? Can’t he taste the horrible dinner?
He should know I’m in over my head. He should offer to take the kids. I shouldn’t have to ask.
Neglecting self-care because I shouldn’t have to ask is ridiculous and unfair to others around me, particularly my husband.
The truth is my husband loves nothing more than to care for our children so I can get away for a little bit. However, he doesn’t know I need a break unless I tell him.
3. I haven’t always known what I needed.
Understanding who I am and what I need has been a journey.
Early in my marriage, my husband and I conflicted a lot. One of the main sources of conflict was his need to be around people and my need to be alone.
He didn’t understand me. I didn’t understand him. Heck, I didn’t understand myself.
A few years into marriage, we discovered Myers-Briggs personality test. What we discovered changed our marriage!
- I need a good book. He needs people.
- I need quiet. He needs noise.
- I like the music soft. He wants the decibel to shake the walls.
With time, we’ve learned that self-care looks very differently for each of us. It likely looks differently for you too.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
God created us all in unique and important ways.
For years, I felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Being surrounded by extroverts, I felt bad for needing to be alone to recharge. Wasn’t it less Christian to not want to be in fellowship, doing community with others?
Knowing who I am has helped me truly embrace self-care because I know what I need to recharge. It’s okay that I’m different from my husband. It’s okay that he’s different from me.
Overcoming these three challenges to embracing self-care is a journey. Self-care doesn’t come naturally to many Christian women. However, as we live out our God-given mission, it is important that we learn to embrace self-care.
Application: Write down the challenges you face when it comes to self-care. Then, prayerfully consider how you can overcome these challenges with truth.
The month of April is self-care month here at Intentional By Grace. You can read the introduction post here.
We will be covering in the Embracing Self-Care Series:
- Wednesday, April 2 – Know thyself
- Wednesday, April 9 – Health and Spirituality
- Wednesday, April 16 – Peace in the Home
- Wednesday, April 23 – Taking some R & R
Are you on Pinterest?
Head over to follow our group board on Pinterest: Embracing Self-Care. There are several more posts and articles to encourage you on your journey of embracing self-care!
Want to join the Intentional By Grace private community?
Do you blog?
We want to extend an invitation to you to join us! If you blog, write a post on the weekly topic – on your blog – and link it up each week.
If you don’t blog, then share your thoughts in the comments section. We’d really love to hear from you… and more importantly we hope to inspire you to embark on a journey of self-care in your own life.