Are you tired of living a life of quiet desperation, constantly searching for happiness but never quite finding it? Well, today we are going to talk about how to break free from that cycle and truly live your best life.
To accomplish big things for God you must be in good shape. I haven’t always understood this truth. In my early thirties, I experienced an emotional meltdown. I was getting out of an unhealthy relationship that brought me to the verge of depression. I began to see my entire life as black and soon my dreams and visions vanished too. In those dark moments, I lived in survival mode with no energy left to serve at church.
Then I learned about self-care and that made all the difference.
Once I began exercising, eating better, getting more rest, and spending more time with friends, my depression lifted and my energy returned.
Without self-care, you are not the best version of yourself and thus are not as prepared as you could be to do God’s work. If you take good care of yourself, you may find true joy.
Now, self-care is one of my priorities because I realize when I am out of shape — physically, mentally, or emotionally — I can’t serve God properly. To remind myself of the importance of self-care, I often consider this verse from Proverbs:
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. — Proverbs 4:23
This means to live the life of abundance Jesus has in store for you, you need to protect your wellbeing.
Have you ever felt like caring for yourself is selfish? What if people need me? Jesus said,
Love your neighbor as yourself. — Mark 12:31
It took me many years to realize that this commandment includes two parts: “Love your neighbor” and “as yourself.” Jesus knows you have dreams, aspirations, and moments when you want to jump in and fix whatever you see that needs fixing. That’s great.
But you need to build a solid life foundation to achieve your vision, and that solid foundation must include self-care. To quote Parker Palmer, founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal,
“Self-care is never a selfish act. It is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.”
The world needs the best version of you, so you have to take good care of yourself.
To do so, I invite you to follow these four steps:
An often forgotten element of self-care is to regularly check to see that all is well with your soul. Do you have your priorities straight? Are you living your best life, the one God planned for you? If so, you will notice that He is beside you, helping you achieve your dream.
The prophet Elijah was a fearless warrior for God. One day, he confronted Israel’s King Ahab and offered him a showdown to prove who was the true God. Elijah said,
Send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table. — 1 Kings 18:19
The priests of Baal placed a bull on the altar and prayed to their god for him to rain down fire upon it. Nothing happened. Then Elijah told the people to pour water over the meat and the wood. He then prayed in 1 Kings 18:37,
”Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that these people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”
The fire of the Lord came down from heaven and consumed the offering, the wood, the stone altar, and even the water in the trench around the altar. All was right with Elijah’s soul so God rewarded him by sending down His sign, as requested.
Unfortunately, the soul doesn’t cry out, begging for our attention, so how can you tell whether or not all is well with it? Consider keeping a journal and regularly asking yourself questions like these:
When asked, “Why should you care for your soul?” Sharla Fritz provides these four reasons:
When placed in that context, it is easy to see why it is important to maintain a healthy soul.
Gordon MacDonald said,
“When the inner garden is under cultivation and God’s Spirit is present, harvests are regular events. The fruits? Things like courage, hope, love, endurance, joy, and lots of peace.”
Cultivating your inner garden will allow these wonderful fruits to grow and thus do greater works through God. To quote the psalmist,
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. […] They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green. — Psalm 92:12
If you do your part by taking care of your inner being, God will do His part by keeping you flourishing.
Caring for your soul is crucial for living your best life and achieving your goals. Regularly checking in with your soul ensures you are living the life you were meant to.
Doing soul care depends upon establishing healthy limits. Instead of asking, “Can I do that?” Andy Stanley suggests in his book that you ask, “Is it wise to do that?”
For example: “Can I do that extra project at work? Yes, I have the skills, but is it wise to do it? Is this the right time to work overtime or should I dedicate my time to the kids while they are still young?”
You are the only person who knows where you need to establish limits.
Remember to slow down and listen to your soul. The Bible says,
Walk with the wise and become wise. — Proverbs 13:20
It doesn’t say, “run,” “catch up,” or “accelerate.” Jesus accomplished so much within His three-year ministry, yet He never ran. He took His time and appreciated what God gave Him. Jesus even went to weddings. And after they had celebrated for a long time, He said, “Let’s continue,” and turned water into the most delicious wine his friends had ever tasted. Jesus used the “Is it wise?” filter to protect His soul and not allow busyness to steal the joy from His life.
Hence, slow down.
In sum, to live your best life and be truly happy, you need to take good care of yourself. Regularly examine the state of your soul.
To quote Michael Pietrzak,
“The most neglected piece of any productivity plan is your most important asset: YOU.”
Alright folks. If you wanna be the best version of yourself and crush your goals, you have to take care of your soul. Regularly checking in on your soul is gonna keep you on track and help you achieve your vision.