Reflection for today:

Self-Care and Should’s don’t go together.  

There is a difference between understanding your personal need for self-care and living under the burden of all the “should’s” you put on yourself resulting in dissatisfaction, discouragement, and even depression.

Habitual “shoulding” leads to dissatisfaction because you can never, never, never do everything perfectly enough to fulfill the tasks and requirements that your imagined “should-list” requires.  Subsequently, when “should’s” are left undone or incomplete, you feel inadequate and less-than.  You feel like you’ve failed God, yourself, and mankind.

Habitual “shoulding” leads to discouragement because when you don’t fulfill your “should-list” you feel defective and that feeling is the root of feeling less-than and shameful.  These feelings can accumulate and cause you to believe you are an utter failure.

If your sense of dissatisfaction and discouragement continually increase, you will most likely feel the weight of a depressed mood over-taking you.

Self-Care

Self-Care is something to value highly.  Self-care is not selfishness, it is good stewardship.  You are the only person who lives in your body.  Therefore, it is up to you to care for your person: your mental, spiritual, physical, emotional, and relational health.  (Side-bar to any of you “cheaters”: Let me clarify.  You could easily act selfishly and call it self-care, but everyone around you will know the truth, so don’t cheat or confuse selfishness with self-care!!!!)

You, like so many, probably use the word “should” all the time.  A better more accurate phrase might be:

  • I wonder if the Lord wants me to ______. (Examples: go visit a friend; prepare a meal; give to a charity, etc.)
  • It might be a good thing to _____.
  • I’m going to try to do _______.

By saying phrases like these, you’re not under a spirit of compulsion or legalism to accomplish the task, you are sincerely intending to do something and you intend to give your best effort.

What “should” you do?

Let’s say that you have worked all day and you intended to go see a friend in the hospital.   During your work day you had one of the worst days ever, would you still force yourself to go see your sick friend in the hospital?  The correct answer is: I don’t know.

What I suggest is that you ask God.

You see, when you ask God what to do, He might say, “Yes, I want you to go.  I’ll give you my grace (divine enablement) to go.”  You are in His will for you to go.  You’re not going out of a spirit of obligation or legalism; you’re going because God is equipping you to go and He is asking you to love your friend in a sacrificial way.

On the other hand, He might say, “(Your name), I want you to go home.  You are weary and heavy laden and you need to rest.  You are not the only one I’ve asked to go see your friend in the hospital.  Go home, connect with your family, be quiet and enjoy a Godly peace that only I can give.  Go home, it’s ok.  I release you to care for yourself.”

Christians can be so “crazy” and live by the: “should’s, ought’s, must’s, and have to’s.”  Are you one of those Christians?