True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.
How do we forget ourselves in a God-honoring way, without neglecting ourselves? What does that look like in real-time? How on earth can we be “free of me” (a concept from Sharon Hode) when nothing seems right or easy, let alone joyful?
We are all isolated to varying degrees. Our face to face socialization as we know it has changed radically. Mundane daily rhythms, we no longer have, seem much sweeter now that they are no longer options. How do we respond rather than react to those we live with or take care of or who may care for us? How is it possible to separate ourselves from what comes naturally and live supernaturally?
Intentionally, prayerfully and in complete and utter dependence on the One who can.
“Self-forgetfulness” is freedom. To focus less on self is a battle, and I have to be willing to fight for it. I have had many self-focused dialogs parading through my mind over these weeks of social distancing. “Why am I the one who has to do all of the meal planning, shopping, and cooking? Why am I the one who has to remember the details and identify needs?” (There are many more of those conversations. However, I intend for this to be a short read.)
“Self-forgetfulness” reminds me that I am so very blessed by not being physically alone. I can ask for help with some of the tasks. I can focus on the blessings of having the resources to prepare healthy food and that I am loving and serving Christ when I am loving and serving others.
On the other hand, “self-neglect” paints a different picture. Self-neglect ignores healthy boundaries or refuses to establish healthy boundaries. Self-neglect says that I don’t have time to spend alone with God and be nourished spiritually. Self-neglect says I can’t possibly go for a walk with all of the laundry and cleaning that needs to be done.
“Self-care” says, “I’m going for a walk for physical and emotional well-being.” Self-care says, “I’m going to bed rather than mindlessly scroll through Facebook posts or read the negative news on the internet.” I want to love and serve well, and physical rest is critical. Self-care says, “Yes” to healthier food options most of the time and doesn’t give up or self-punish for occasional treats.
Self-care and self-forgetfulness require one thing—the mind of Christ. If I am focused on all that is wrong and hard and scary and frustrating (and that requires little effort for most of us), I will not be able to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 4:8). He is our peace. He is our strength. God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46).
When have you taken self-care time, and how has it encouraged and blessed you? How is the world enticing you into self-neglect or to self-obsess? What Bible verses help you have the mind of Christ? Share below.
Jennifer Krogh is a long time First Place for Health member and leader. She currently serves as a virtual leader and on our Advisory Council. Click here to read Jenn’s success story.