When I was a little girl, I used to cut pictures from magazines and newspapers and save them all in a shoe box. Recipes, homes, pretty clothes - I just loved to behold the beauty of design and be inspired.
I was in high school when I got my own laptop; I upgraded my shoebox system to folders on a hard drive. Now I could save images and links from all over the internet! Too bad it takes up so much storage on my computer.
Do you remember when Pinterest was born? I do, because I remember thinking "I basically invented this." I mean, I didn't understand the internet or social sharing or anything like that, but the concept was there, taking up all my disk space.
Pinterest drew me in faster than the smell of fresh coffee. So many beautiful ideas!
The first time I ever came across the term self-care was on Pinterest. I was fresh into my role as a stay at home mom and for the first time in my life my intellect, my education, and my talents didn't matter anymore. I loved being home with my son, but my own identity had washed out with the tide and left me deserted on the shoreline, lost and uncertain.
Self-care sounded like the thing that would bring me back into my own skin. If I could just carve out some time for a little yoga, or maybe a manicure, or even a weekly bubble bath then surely I could reconcile my stay-at-home-mom-self with my talented professional self and all would feel right again.
It didn't work.
I gave it a good go (like, 2 years or something like that), but no amount of self-pampering, quiet time, or nutritious food created an identity to fill up the empty space cocooned by my flesh.
Self care has become so trendy, hasn’t it? It’s suddenly fashionable to instagram a picture of your perfectly manicured nails or your freshly blended kale smoothie with #selfcare attached. But I'm not sure these things are self-care. They are good and fun and rewarding, but perhaps there is another way to nourish your truest self.
TRUE SELF-CARE HONORS THE IMAGO DEI
We read in the account of creation that God created mankind in his own image; you and I are carefully replicated from God himself. Biblical self-care honors our deepest self, this replication of the divine in us.
None of the trendy #selfcare that I tried ever nourished lasting emotional health because I didn't know my deepest self. I created an identity around my skills and my education, and I believed that was who I was. So when those things didn't matter anymore, I was convinced that I didn't matter anymore.
But that's not what God says about me, and it's not what he says about you. God tells us that we are beloved and that his affection for us is unending.
I loved cutting out pretty magazine pictures when I was little, but I don't love it anymore. Things changed, and I moved on to another way of cataloging my design aspirations. If God's feelings for us never change, perhaps it is because our truest self, deep in our soul, is unchanging.
I thought that I needed some routines and practices that would draw my old self back on the incoming tide. Truthfully, my self never left my body; I just hadn't discovered who my real self was yet.
A WAY FORWARD
Don't you feel that disconnect, too? Aren't you standing on the beach staring out at the still, still water wishing that you could grab back the comfortable familiarity of the girl you used to be?
Don't worry. The girl you are looking for never left. She’s been there the entire time, covered up by the titles and the piled-on expectations.
Do you really want to make a difference with your life? Learn to honor the image of God that rests in your soul and then nourish that self with truth. That's the purest kind of pampering you can give yourself, and in turn, your life will speak loudly about the goodness of this Jesus you claim.
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