I recently hear a podcast about taking care of one’s self. It was created by a doctor. The doctor said that the most important thing is to take care of yourself and your family. Many of us would agree with this statement, but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered. If proper care is just being selfish, then doesn’t that naturally lead to self-absorption? If the best thing we can do for ourselves is to think about ourselves doesn’t than just lead to more thinking about ourselves?
Yes, there are obvious times when we need to pay attention to our well being. We need to be responsible for our own well being, but I wonder if this is all. Instead of just taking care of ourselves, maybe we should try to help ourselves by helping others. Perhaps if we turn our focus to others, then we won’t get to self-absorbed. For example, how do you respond to your own illnesses? There is a certain amount of self-pity and comfort-seeking that we all do. Some of us probably want or expect more of this than others. What happens next? What happens with the anesthesia fog of surgery clears? Where do our thoughts go? What actions do we choose to do with limited energy? I believe that if we think about things other than ourselves we allow ourselves to heal. By thinking about others we save ourselves from become focused on the aches and pains we experience. By using our time and energy for others, we send a message to our body that it is going to be okay. We are able to know that even in a diminished state that we can have a positive affect on the lives of others.
While I do not have any proof that this is better self-care, I do know that this is what Jesus calls us to do. We are called to serve others, not to our own detriment, but we are to use what we have for the sake of God’s kingdom. Just as God gives to us, so we are to give of ourselves. When we give ourselves we find new life for us and for others. Take care of yourself by taking care of others. Take Care.