• Renee Bethel

Seven Little Words That Changed My Life

Updated: Oct 24, 2020



My girls were in elementary and middle school when Ms. Phyllis said something that ruffled my mother hen feathers. I was married, homeschooling my three girls, planning field trips, teaching in a home school co-op, working part time for my church, running a business from home, cooking, cleaning – all the things – MAJOR multi-tasking. My life was full and I was loving every minute of it! I had a purpose and I felt very accomplished and fulfilled. How could SEVEN LITTLE WORDS carry such weight? I could not even answer the question our church secretary, Ms. Phyllis, asked me. I was too filled with aggravation that she would dare ask me such a thing! Consequently I did not even take time to question if I needed to evaluate my life in light of her question. I actually wondered how someone who would dare to ask such a "radical" question could be serving as the church secretary!


My only thoughts were that I was filling all of these rolls, I was serving and investing in others, which IS what every GOOD Christian woman does . . . right??

I also wondered why I was SO BOTHERED by Ms. Phyllis’ question.


Have YOU ever been there?

Have you been so caught up in the busyness of your life that you can’t STOP long enough to pull back and reflect on your current situation?

Have you been so busy with a million thoughts in your head about what needs to be done next, that you don’t have time to STOP in order to get some perspective?

Have you ever been so filled with pride that YOU know what YOU are doing, and that YOU have everything under control, that you don’t think anything in your life needs to be adjusted?


Well, that’s where I found myself on this life-changing day when I was asked this question.

When do you have time for yourself? SEVEN LITTLE WORDS asked by Ms. Phyllis!


Time for myself? Self-care?!

Isn’t that selfish?

Doesn’t the Bible tell me in Luke 9:23 to deny myself?

“Then Jesus said to all of them, if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

Within the Christian community, without even realizing it, many times I think as women we work so hard to NOT focus on ourselves or be selfish, that we neglect ourselves emotionally, spiritually and physically. These things are so ingrained in us as believers that we go to extremes to make sure we aren’t focusing too much on ourselves. Unfortunately, I feel like we hear various Bible verses about denying ourselves and taking up our cross and we never take time to study the complete passage and understand the context that it was written in and have a correct understanding of how we are to apply it to our own lives. We carry snippets of verses in our thoughts and develop our own meaning and create our own application of that verse to our life.


To deny myself according to Luke 9:23 is about saying no to my will, the natural desires of my sinful flesh, and about saying yes to God’s will for my life. Denying myself is about discipline and self-control. It DOES NOT mean that I cannot do anything to care for my body which is God’s temple - for the ultimate goal of bringing honor and glory to God.

Based on my limited Biblical understanding and interpretation at the time, I misinterpreted this Bible verse and thought Ms. Phyllis was being “radical” to suggest that I take time for myself.


I NOW see that Ms. Phyllis, being an older, wiser woman, who had experienced more of life than I had at the time, was trying to HELP me.

I needed a PARADIGM shift in my thinking. I needed to change the way I viewed making time for myself.

I wonder if there are others who need to have a similar paradigm shift.


I NOW realize that this was a “freeze frame” moment for me – something that I still vividly remember 30 years later. I’m so thankful that my loving Heavenly Father uses these “freeze frame” moments throughout my life to open my eyes and teach me and grow me.


So, what exactly is SELF-CARE?

Self-care is the practice of taking an ACTIVE ROLE in preserving or improving one’s emotional, spiritual and physical health.

Taking time to work on myself emotionally, spiritually and physically is NOT being selfish.


What does self-care look like in the DAILY LIFE of a Christian woman?


Following is a short list of possibilities for self-care. There are MANY more ways women can care for themselves – many of which we discover as we begin to learn about ourselves and what helps us feel relaxed, refreshed and renewed.



Emotionally

  • Practicing gratitude regularly

  • Scheduling down time every week

  • Going to see a counselor/social worker/therapist when needed

  • Journaling

  • Listening to an encouraging podcast

  • Listening to uplifting music

  • Coloring/painting/drawing

  • Learning something new



Spiritually

  • Reading the Bible

  • Memorizing Bible verses

  • Learning how to dig into God’s word and understand it

  • Studying Bible verses around a particular topic/word

  • Learning about my identity in Christ

  • Making time to listen to God


Physically

  • Eating healthy meals

  • Taking supplements

  • Developing a regular sleep routine

  • Exercising

  • Going for a walk

  • Increasing my water intake

  • Improving my air quality



Why is SELF-CARE so important?

The MOST IMPORTANT reason we need to MAKE TIME to care for our emotional, spiritual and physical bodies is because our bodies are not our own. They are a dwelling place of God.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We can also better understand who God created us to be when we MAKE TIME to work on ourselves – when we understand who we are and what brings us joy, what gives us fulfillment, what is difficult for us, and where we need to spend time working on ourselves.


When we are spending time working on ourselves, we are EQUIPPING ourselves to fulfill God’s purpose for our life. Our ability to invest in, serve and minister to OTHERS INCREASES because we NOW have something to give. We cannot give something to others that we don’t have.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Now that you know what self-care LOOKS LIKE in real life and why it is so IMPORTANT, where do YOU start?


I’d LOVE to help you begin the process of working on YOU and incorporate self-care practices into your daily life. I have created a FREE Assessment that I’d love to share with YOU! This is a great tool to evaluate where YOU are in each of the areas of whole body wellness – emotionally, spiritually and physically. Get your Assessment here.



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