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Psalm 139:13–18 ‘My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’ (vv15–16)

Is taking care of ourselves selfish? We’re best placed to know how we best function, but failing in self-care is bad for us and others. There’s a delicate balance between serving self and others, which helps both. The need to meet others’ needs can prove self-destructive when attempting to prove our value. Jesus wasn’t afraid to take the space He needed during His life on earth. 

Maturity is when we’re able clearly to state our preferences, without fear or favour. Failure here isn’t one of Christian service but of self-care, which has many causes. Meanwhile, Apple reports that self-care is its most popular app theme. We easily lose sight of personal preferences, but these may not be at the expense of others. 

Selfish means caring only for oneself. That’s as wrong as caring only for others, where we get lost, our only agenda seeking to please others. This breeds unhappiness. Paul’s words are from someone confident with their life purpose, but who also fell out with a best friend (Acts 15:35–41). He understands that decision-making lies within our gift, and we can only be disciplined to the degree we choose. 

Discipleship is all about inner motivation, so ask yourself why you want to do something specific, for yourself or others. This helps clarify if it’s a reaction, possibly under duress, or a deliberate response to God’s invitation to act. This approach remains subject to error but offers a healthy starting point to reflect upon personal motives and feelings.


Isa. 41:8–13; Dan. 1:6–17; Eph. 2:1–10; Phil. 4:4–9


How do you ensure you invest appropriately in your own self-care?
God loves you, and invites you to love yourself, which is the basis for
effective love of neighbour (Mark 12:31).


‘Lord, may I recognise Your love for me by learning to love myself whilst serving Your purpose in my life. Amen.’

Photo by Chris Jarvis on Unsplash
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.