I have long been a proponent of self-care. Living with a chronic illness means I know exactly why it’s important to take time for myself each day. Unfortunately, self-care has been twisted to mean anything and everything, especially as a marketing buzzword used to sell stuff. As a Christian woman, I want to reclaim self-care from capitalism by sharing a different approach: biblical rest.
Biblical rest is not a one-time event. It’s not something you do on your day off or when you have time to spare. Biblical rest is a way of life. It’s finding peace and rest in Jesus, even when life is chaotic and hectic.
Self-Care is Biblical
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer. If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed.-1 Timothy 4:4-6
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.-1 Corinthians 10:31
Self-care is biblical. As Christians, we are called to glorify God in everything that we do, including the simple things like eating and drinking. Taking care of ourselves is a way of honoring God and showing Her that we love Her.
Self-care isn’t selfish. When we take care of ourselves, we are better able to serve God and others. When we are physically and emotionally healthy, we can better love and support those around us.
Think about it this way. God calls us to love Her fully, with our whole hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. How can we do that if we never take care of ourselves?
So, as Christian women, let’s make self-care a priority. Let’s take time for rest and relaxation, and let’s do everything we can to honor God with our full selves. Biblical rest is an essential concept for Christian women. Let’s make it a priority in our lives!
But how do we implement biblical rest into our lives? Here are a few ideas for this Christian approach to self-care.
Keep the Sabbath Holy
And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.-Genesis 2:2-3
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.-Exodus 20:8-11
Guess what! The Bible has a lot to say about rest!
In Genesis, we see that God rested on the seventh day after creating the entire expanse of the universe. She even commands us to do the same in Exodus 20:11. And yet, so many of us live our lives as if we are not allowed to stop. We hustle and grind until we are completely exhausted. We fill our schedules to the brim, leaving no room for downtime.
In Isaiah 58, God says this about Her people:
If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,Isaiah 58:13-14
from pursuing your own interests on my holy day;
if you call the sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
When we take time to rest, we are honoring God. We are saying that She is more important than our to-do lists, our work, our errands, and our goals. We are recognizing that She is the One who gives us life and breath and time.
Make time for Sabbath each week. Set aside one day to rest and reflect on God’s goodness. This may look different for everyone, but the important thing is to have a day when you do not work or do anything that feels like work.
Find Rest in Jesus
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”-Matthew 11:28-30
When we find our peace and rest in Jesus, it transforms the way we approach self-care. We don’t need to strive for perfection. We can give ourselves grace when we don’t have time for a self-care routine. And most importantly, we can rest assured that Jesus is in control.
Jesus wants to give you rest. You just need to come to Him and ask. You can do this through two simple ways.
Spend time in God’s Word every day. This is the best way to find peace and rest in the midst of a hectic life.
Make time for prayer. Prayer is how we communicate with God, and it’s crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship with Him.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can find rest in Jesus. Next time you feel overwhelmed, try taking a few deep breaths and praying. Throughout your workday, give yourself a quick break to drink some water, stretch, and thank God for the body She gave you.
Practical Tips for Biblical Rest
Practice self-care daily. This may look different for everyone, but here are a few ideas to enjoy biblical rest.
- Make time for God. Spend time in prayer and reading your Bible. This is a great way to start or end your day.
- Get enough sleep. Our bodies need time to rest and recover, so make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye.
- Eat healthy foods. When we fuel our bodies with healthy food, we’re better able to handle the stress of life.
- Move your body in a way that feels good to you. Whether that means a brisk walk, yoga, or lifting weights, find something that helps you feel strong and healthy. Even gentle exercise can help relieve tension and stress.
- Connect with nature. Spend time outside in God’s creation. Take in the fresh air and enjoy the beauty around you.
- Surround yourself with positive, God-loving people. When we’re constantly around negative people, it can bring us down. Find people who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself.
No matter how you do it, always take time for yourself. Dedicate at least fifteen minutes each day to do something that brings you joy, whether it’s reading, taking a walk outdoors, or spending time with friends and family.
Final Thoughts on Biblical Rest
He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working.-C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Rest is essential for our physical, mental, and emotional health. When we don’t take the time to rest, we can end up feeling burned out and stressed out. As Christian women, we’re called to care for ourselves and others.
The bottom line is that biblical rest is about choosing God over our schedules and recognizing that She is more important than anything else in our lives. It’s a free and holy approach to self-care that Christian women can practice each day.
What are your thoughts on biblical rest? Have you ever tried implementing it into your life? Share your experiences in the comments below!