5 Pitfalls of Self Care

Self care is important but there are pitfalls that can negatively impact how we self-care. This post looks at warning signs by describing 5 pitfalls we all face.

Pitfall #1: The Binge

– The binge of “I deserve”. A mentality of self reward with excessive indulgence. This may include a shopping spree, eating whatever food I want (lots of it) and later feeling great regret or guilt because of it. This pitfall lures us with temptation assuming if we engage in that activity or spend that money it will make us feel better. To avoid this temptation of indulgence we must realize that this is not self-care it’s self sabotage. Self care is supposed to fuel you up with a great sense of confidence and joy – not regret or guilt.

Pitfall #2: Being Reactive not Proactive

– Someone who self cares is a proactive person. The opposite is being reactive. A reactive approach is acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it.

This one hit home for me as a new mother. I did not realize that I needed to schedule in advance my “break” or “me time” to self care. Instead I waited until the wall came and smacked me in the face. Then my husband, unfortunately for him, took my reaction of burn out. This pitfall involves zero self care as it doesn’t plan for it. Be careful for the wall – its coming and coming fast!

We need to be proactive like adding a new routine that opens space and time for our self care. This may include new daily habits that positively increase your rest, energy and ability to thrive. As well as, planning for things that bring you joy like a friend date (within your bubble/distant walk), reading or exercise. Scheduling and pre-planning is a great way to avoid the wall of burn out. Do not wait for plans to come to you, create the time now. To quote my husband, “present self doing future self favours.”

Pitfall #3: The Social Comparison

– The social comparison of assumptions, which manipulates the truth to make ourselves feel insecure. For instance, you feel insecure about your progress compared to someones success they posted online. The key is to stay in your lane of growth, success and achievement. We are all in different lanes but in the same race. As Christians we are racing for the same goal – to grow in likeness of Christ and to bring heaven on earth. Surround yourself with like-minded Christians that support, encourage and build you up in the way of Christ – not in the way of social comparison.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Pitfall #4: The “No Time” Theory

– Lack of prioritizing God in your life. This theory is an excuse we often use to reduce the guilt about not knowing God and His Word. If we want successful self-care, we need daily spiritual care. As Christians our priority is God. Him in us, through us, all by the workings of the Holy Spirit. Make time for God first.

Pitfall #5: Its Only About Me

– Its about who is around you. We all have a circle of people we lead and influence daily. By creating healthy boundaries in our use of time and daily habits it will help us become better people to those around us. Love your neighbour as yourself

Conclusion

To sum it up self-care is spiritual care for the Christian. No magazines, online blogs (like this one) can really tell you how to live a well-balanced life without adding a pitfall as a positive. There is a mandate to loving others and ourselves. The key is in humility. To reach this type of humility we need Jesus (loving God first). Let’s be a people of the church that talk more about the benefits of spiritual care in likeness of Jesus than self care in the likeness of people.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus in human form as an example in how to live and how to self care. As Jesus took time away from the crowd (Luke 5:16) to spend time with you, Father God, may we do the same. I pray that as I start to make more consistent time for you, I will learn how to love myself and others more humbly with a focus of Christ as the centre. Amen.

Renew your Mind

Everyday is an opportunity to renew our mind and its a chance we need to take. Otherwise the world will dictate our decisions, ideas and passions far from God’s will for us.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world

Paul, warns Christians not to abide or comply to the standards of the world but by the standards of God. We must recognize what in the world opposes God, so we can discern what’s good.

Be transformed by the renewal of your mind

It’s so easy to conform to a world that is constantly telling us to do whatever makes us happy or feels good. So how do we avoid its temptations – Paul says, with transformation. It’s by the work of the Holy Spirit. Not in our own will or our own mind, but by the work of Christ who does a work within us. However, we don’t wait around for it to just happen, we do our part in allowing transformation to occur.

For example, I used to pray for things “to go away.” “Dear Jesus, “take away this problem, this anger, this anguish.. this situation away from me!” Not a bad prayer, the problem was its focus and my lack of obedience to God. My prayer had intentions of my own will in what I think God should do. God, “take this away from me because I know its best for me”. It was a worldly focus of “I deserve”. The only way to switch perspective was to think in a way that honours God. Transformation occurs through prayer and knowledge of God. Recognizing and honouring the fact that He first loved us. I use scripture to guide my prayers because then I can focus on Him and less on me.

Discern the will of God

The good and peace in my life increases when I am confident in my decision making because I know it lines with the will of God. Despite the outcome and through the testing of my faith, I can trust in Him who works all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

Practical ways to renew your mind:

  1. Use scripture to guide your prayer life – Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
  2. Read the Bible alongside a friend, spouse or group study for community, support and accountability.
  3. Spend time with God to hear His voice. Try writing out your prayers in a journal and read scripture, asking yourself, “how does this passage describe God’s character?”
  4. Check out this great resource to get started in reading your Bible: The Bible Recap.

“If we evict the one true God from our throne of worship, we will replace Him with ourselves. If we are the final source for “our truth,” we can easily make God into our own image instead of the other way around.” – Alisa Childers

Mama Bear Apologetics

This is why renewing your mind is a daily pursuit. We must take advantage of our relationship with God by allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our mind. So we can avoid slipping into a worldview that is “our own”. Instead we need to pursue the God view (the Biblical view) as our own.

Repositioned

In a team sport or in the workplace when you get repositioned it can be hard to accept. Especially, if you have been in that position for most of your career. Then all of a sudden with the new team, coach or boss you’ve been called to a new role. “But that’s not me!” “I don’t know how to lead that way!” “I am not comfortable…” However, the authority is not yours to choose.

When you give Jesus the authority over your life you are repositioned “with Christ in God” (Col 3:3).  Scripture says you have become a new creation, “the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Repositioned from death to life, becoming “born again” (John 3:6-7, 1 Peter 1:2-4, Eph 2:5-6).

I had a dream. (MOST dreams are exaggerated pictures of your current reality and emotional state that have hidden symbols/messages meaningful specifically to you. God uses dreams to communicate with us).  In my dream I was passing by a rowing team practicing on the sand.  I approached one rowboat and the coach said to me, “sit up front”, (where the team leader sits).  I looked back and saw all the rowers on the boat and asked the coach, “shouldn’t I be back there rowing with them, I have a strong build”.  The coach replied, “I have bigger girls than you back there, you stay up front”.  So nervously (with excitement) I did so without knowing how.  She explained to me how to direct and lead the boat with my legs crossing over from one to the other.  Then she said, “You’re ready!” And I looked at her and replied, “This is going to be intense”.

Dream over.

As we repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).  The Holy Spirit becomes our spiritual guide.  He acts as our coach who directs and counsels us to live like Jesus (John 14:25-26, 15:26); and how did Jesus live? He led.  In my dream I told the coach, “shouldn’t I be back there with the others? I have a strong build!” But the coach said, “I have bigger girls than you back there, you stay up front!” Where I was more comfortable to lead, there was no room, the position was already (perfectly) filled. It was up front where she needed me. When you become a Christian, Jesus doesn’t just reposition you, He calls you to the frontlines – he makes a leader out of you! In my dream, I naturally saw that I was strong enough to help where I knew I could. But when God calls you he sees much greater things in you than you do in yourself (Romans 8:17, 37). Sometimes the call on our lives is greater in HIS eyes than our own. We must seek him in order to supernaturally see it.  Another part of that conversation I had with the coach meant not one role is better than the other. We as Christians are unified in Christ – we are all part of ONE Body but make up many parts (Romans 12:3-8).  Your part in leadership can evolve, change as you grow in Christ. Perhaps, I was once better “rowing with the rest of them” now God is calling me to lead up front.

Where is God calling you to lead? Where have you been stuck feeling too comfortable and God is saying, “hey I already have leaders there, I need you over here…”  Perhaps you have been a Christian your whole life, decades of waking in faith, but are feeling stagnant.  In my dream the coach explains in order to lead the boat I needed to “cross over” with my legs. (Sometimes depicting symbols in dreams, God uses “play on words” to help us discover more of the message.) Where in your life have you felt God asking you to cross over into a new position? Regardless of the position God gives you, it takes training and belief that He can do it through you.   Rowboats obviously race on the water, but in my dream it was on the sand. So the interpretation meant the team was in “dry-land” training. In sports, there are “dry-land” seasons (also known as “pre-seasons”) before the competition season starts.  In these seasons the athletes work on their weaknesses, such as increasing strength, skill or team chemistry, so when competition starts they are at their best.

Just like being a follower of Jesus, we must always be in “dry-land” training or “pre-season”, getting trained up in the Word of God. So when “season” hits – or “life gets in the way” we are ready.

Matthew 7:24-29  (NIV)

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Pursue your leadership daily with Godly training, aka-studying scripture. Being built up with the Word of God, so you may lack nothing and persevere through the intensity of being repositioned to lead as Jesus led (James 1:4).

Weakness In The Way

Understanding how to manage your weaknesses will help you to learn how to manage and elevate your strengths. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses, they come as a unique package, you cannot have one without the other. Which means we must not focus on only one but have an understanding of both.

The interviewer asks, “What are your strength and what are your weaknesses?” Not, “do you have any weaknesses…?” It is already assumed that every person has them. The question is then, how can I help you in achieving your strength’s despite your weaknesses in this job role? It is inevitable that you are going to have weak areas about you that hold you back from being your best. What are they so I can be of best assistance to you?

Imagine for a moment that God is the interviewer, except instead of asking you, “what are your weaknesses?” He tells you what they are.

Not to discourage you but to encourage you that even with your weaknesses He can be of best assistance for and through you. But first you must know what they are.

Benefits of knowing your weakness is so you can avoid the element of surprise when they arise. For example, the element of surprise may come in a form of anxiety, and without knowledge or time to process why that feeling arose it can spiral to a panic attack. The goal is to not let the weaknesses hold you back from moving forward. The goal is to acknowledge their existence to better manage their feelings.

I want to encourage you that you are not defined by your weakness, but by your ability to manage them for strength. Seek God in question: “What are my weaknesses that keep me from elevating my strengths?” “Show me how YOU can assist me in my weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NIV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This is how we manage our weakness; we replace its power with God’s grace through prayer and submission. The focus does not shift on your own power but on the power of the cross. Your weakness is not a set back – it’s a breakthrough; an opportunity to glorify God.