Encouragement Hope

Loving God and Self-Care aren’t Mutually Exclusive

Depending on your church tradition, you are likely to have heard one of two messages emphasized – “You are valuable because God loves you,” without expanding that picture beyond you to God himself. Some call this a “self-help” church. Or you may have heard a message that boils down to, “The Bible isn’t about you, it’s about God. It’s not your story – it’s his.”

The problem with these emphases is that they are used against the other. The good news is these two truths don’t war against each other.

The Bible is the Great Story about God and how wonderful, awe-inspiring, and beautiful he is. It’s also the story of why we are so precious and loved by God – because he not only is our Creator who began our days, and calls us to follow him all our days, but he also created us in his own image (Genesis 1:27). And because of that, he bestowed on us some of his worth and value.

In the New Testament, we are given a new reason to rejoice in God’s work in us, because we find that we have been made children of the most high God through the work of Jesus Christ. 1 John 3:1, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

To use one truth to try to dismiss another isn’t biblical, but instead, both of these truths together help us have a healthy perspective about God and ourselves.

God is glorious, and it’s because he is glorious and good, that his work in us is good too. The Bible is about God, yes, and it’s also about us and how we fit into God’s creation.

I’ve noticed that there is a slight war in my social media accounts among Christian women authors. Some point doggedly to our need for self-care and seeing our worth in Christ. Others doggedly insist we stop thinking about ourselves so much and remind ourselves about our smallness and God’s bigness.

But know this, both glorious truths are necessary. God is the potter, and we are the clay and understanding what it means to be a servant of God is vital to our ongoing faith. Treating ourselves with respect and care is stewardship of God’s goodness to us and in us. When we take up our cross and follow our Savior, including sacrificial choices for others, we are demonstrating the worth of ourselves again. Because what is self-sacrifice if we think we have no value? It’s only valuable because we have value.

So love God with all your hearts, minds and souls, and love others because of it. Because in loving God we find why mankind is valuable and worthy of sacrificial love. In loving God, we find out why we also have value.

I suspect that these different slants come from those women’s backstories – perhaps early on they needed one of those messages most and so that’s what comes out clearly in their writing.