Self-Care vs. Sabbath

“Self-care” is a huge buzzword right now. I see someone posting about it almost every time I’m scrolling Instagram and even while I’m reading the news.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of hearing about it.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with actual self-care. Showering, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep…all of these things are wise choices that serve you and your body well.

But so often I think the people posting about self-care are just using it as a mask for – to put it bluntly – selfishness. They don’t seem to mean “taking good care of myself” as much as they seem to mean “doing whatever I want and getting away with it in the name of self-care.” They seem to be rationalizing self-centered behavior by calling it self-care.

Spa day? I’m pampering myself today.

Shopping spree? I deserve it.

Starbucks on the daily? I’m always the best version of myself when I’m at Starbucks, yoooo!

They sound more like Donna Meagle than the definition of health and wellness.

I don’t think going to the spa is sinful. And if you can afford a Frappuccino every day and still stay healthy, be my guest! But I think most of the people I see posting about these things and referring to them as “self-care” actually can’t and know they shouldn’t. They just want to indulge in these things, so they call them self-care in order to justify the credit card debt and the time spent.

Maybe you’re not using the term “self-care.” Maybe it’s a different word or a different excuse. Believe me, I’ve justified my own unnecessary spending with lame excuses plenty of times!

“You don’t even KNOW what kind of day I’ve had.”

“I’m just so tired.”

“But it’s on sale!”

…to name just a few. 😉

My friend Makyna wrote about self-care a few months back, and she made an excellent point that true peace, rest, and care can only come from spending time with Jesus. He is the source of everything we need.

Self-care as the world defines it? I would just call it self-centeredness. But true self-care? That’s what I’d call taking a Sabbath. Spending a 24-hour period refraining from work, chores, striving, stress…and simply resting. Praying. Reading God’s word. Recharging your batteries.

Self-Care vs. Sabbath | Millennials with Meaning

You know what’s crazy? I notice that the more I skip taking a weekly Sabbath, the more tired and empty I feel. And the more tempted I am to “treat myself” and engage in all the “self-care” regimens that I really don’t need and can’t afford.

But when I do set aside time each week for a Sabbath? I am way more rested and ready to face the next seven days. I don’t need coffee; I’ve gotten my sleep! I don’t need retail therapy; I’ve been reading my Bible and getting counsel straight from God himself!

The idea of taking a Sabbath may even sound selfish, but it’s 100% biblical. God actually commands it! He knows how beneficial it is for us and he wants us to be the healthiest possible versions of ourselves. Taking a Sabbath is one healthy routine you don’t need to feel an ounce of guilt over, because you are designed by God to practice this weekly rhythm of rest.

If you’re skeptical, I challenge you to get in the habit of taking a regular Sabbath and see how much better you feel! The book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is a good resource if you’d like to learn more about the concept of a Sabbath and what it might look like for you.

Self-care? I’m not a huge fan. But the Sabbath? Not only is it a command; it’s a game-changer.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20:8-11 NIV
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There are 3 comments

  1. Shawandie

    Another great article. Any tips on how to have a successful sabbath? For someone who works 9-5 and uses the weekend to catch-up or do extra things? How do you accomplish taking one full day of doing nothing?

    1. millennialswithmeaning

      Great question! I know it’s challenging to fit everything in and I’m not perfect at this by any means! I think it can be helpful to start with a half-day or even a few hours and try to work up to a full Sabbath. In Jewish culture, they start the Sabbath at sundown on Friday and it ends at sundown the next day. I’ve aspired to do that or some version of it, but it’s still a work in progress! Something that does help me (other than caffeine :)) is to stay up later or get up earlier than I normally would the day before my planned Sabbath so I can catch up on laundry and other tasks. Sometimes that works out great; other times I’m not as productive as I had hoped to be!

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