I’d like to introduce to you, my pastor, John K. McGhee, Ed.D., Ed.S., M.S.P.H.
We met about ten years ago in Boston, and worshiped together there for no more than a couple of months. In contrast to how quickly I chose him, I’ve been very slow about letting him go. He lives around the globe, talking about health, Love, God and individuals. He has been and continues to be an important presence in my life and although I sit in other churches, he’s my pastor. May God continue to bless him, his family and his work.
Dr. Sana’s blog is persuasive, and possibly life-changing. However there may be some spiritually inclined conservative Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestants who may be uncomfortable with her emphasis on self-care as a vital first-step to healthy interactions. Isn’t it quite selfish and rather ungodly to focus on self-care? Don’t the great monotheistic faiths teach that people achieve their greatest potential when they unselfishly focus on serving others?
I wonder what God thinks about self-care? Probably it is impossible to know with certainty. Who can know God’s thoughts?
However, one can find ample evidence from the Holy Books to support a few principles about self-care.
1. Self-care is promoted in the Torah. Genesis 1:28 – 2:3 clearly identifies that God told Adam and Eve to have plenty of sex, and babies; eat nutritious food; and enjoy a delightful weekly rest.
2. Self-care is promoted in the New Testament. 3 John 2 clearly identifies a principle stated by the human being who was one of Dr. Jesus Christ’s closest friends. “Beloved I wish above all that you would prosper and be in health.” Here we recognize God’s concern with finance and health care on a very personal level. The language implies that there is a direct action involved by God’s friends that they would become financially viable and do what it takes to remain in good health.
3. Perhaps the most concentrated teaching on self-care is given by Paul who mentored Timothy so effectively. In I Timothy 4: 7 – 16, I find the following direct commands:
- Train yourself in godliness – this requires time to read, time to pray, time to think, time to do acts of kindness;
- Don’t let anyone put you down because you are a young teacher – this requires time to nourish a healthy ego, time to know who you are, time to build character;
- Do not neglect the gift(s) you have received – this requires time to write; time to develop musical or other artistic talents, time to share gifts with others in a faith fellowship community;
- And finally Paul counsels Timothy, “Pay close attention to yourself.”
Questions: What conflicts do you have in becoming your own friend with your religious beliefs? Is religion a barrier to you being friendly to you? Or, how has it been otherwise? Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip: Be aware of barriers to friendship with yourself, even religion.