Why is that?
Well, one reason is that many churches are operating using a system that uses power over people, especially single Christian women, to get the bulk of its work done.
The good news?
You don't have to play by their rules to be a good and faithful servant before God.
In this post, I want to empower and encourage you to practice self-care biblically without guilt and shame.
I'm also going to expose some of the dirty little truths about why the church treats single women like second-class citizens.
My friend, you're not imagining things.
First, let's take a look at why self-care is being shamed and what we can do about it.
Many people believe that joy, peace, and abundance are a natural byproduct of having a relationship with God and living according to His word.
That joy comes from the Lord, and it's something that happens to you if you're doing everything right.
And this ideology is messing with a lot of women.
Can we please look at the scripture?
Do you realize that Moses expressed a desire to die because of his relationship with God? In trying to do everything God asked of him, Moses reached a breaking point.
Moses says to God;
"If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”
I don't know about you, but walking that narrow road does not automatically make me feel joyful.
Plus, it turns out that actions and behaviors do not automatically produce feelings. Contrary to popular belief, "things" happening doesn't make us feel anything.
Our feelings are a result of what we think about "the things".
If we think it's good, we feel good.
Think it's bad, we feel bad.
Second, self-care is accused of being "new age."
Many out there that claim deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, and speaking affirmations, are all new age, ancient eastern traditions, and therefore off-limits to faithful Christians.
There's just one problem.
Practicing mindfulness doesn't make you any more new-age than standing in a church makes you a Christian.
Being intentional about stretching your body doesn't mean you're practicing yoga, even if you're stretching in a yoga studio.
God knows our hearts.
And I think it's time for Christians to reclaim the basic functions of the human body, including breathing, thinking, and exercise without fear of accidentally converting to another religion.
It has been said that doing almost anything that is doing anything "self" centered flies in the face of what we're supposed to do for God.
As a result, many women have been urged to reject self-care as anti-Biblical, and follow the words of Paul:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
Meanwhile, burnout and mental health crises within the church are at an all-time high.
Why, because Christian leaders, pastors, influencers, and others are using fear tactics to keep costs low and profit high, all in the name of Jesus.
Some are doing it very deliberately, and others are just repeating the same messages because that's what they were taught.
I hope that a little exposure to the truth will help change that.
Self-care is not a sin.
It's also not a bubble bath or a pedicure.
Self-care is not selfish or indulgent.
In fact, it's the opposite.
Consider the fact that your body is the temple of God and that the Holy Spirit is dwelling within you. When we spend time turning our attention inward, we're actually in the best position to spend some time in the very presence of God.
Here's a little tip that can help guide you when your feeling unsure about whether or not something is self-care or self-indulgent.
If you answer Yes, Yes, then you've got a green light to go ahead and enjoy.
Self-indulgent behaviors usually come with negative consequences. At best they produce no positive results and at worst they can be self-destructive.
Self-care is not about indulging in momentary pleasures. It's about doing what needs to be done in order for you to be whole, healthy, and able to serve God from a place of joy and abundance.
Far too many women are running on empty because they have been taught that their value is in their service.
I can only imagine how much this notion disgusts our Good Father.
Here's what you need to know.
You are not a commodity.
Your value is not in what you do but in who you are.
So when you look in the mirror, and you say to yourself;
They are not self-exalting, and you're not repeating new age affirmations.
My friend, you are speaking the truth of what God Himself has said about you.
And the truth will set you free!
I'm telling you this because the way the church is set up is broken.
Unfortunately, it continues to serve those at the top while hurting the majority who do the heavy lifting.
Aka, the single ladies.
On top of that, it teaches them to feel obligated to say yes to every request. It actively shames those who try to set up appropriate boundaries and actually prioritize themselves.
So you know what happens?
Instead of praising the Lord, those who do not practice self-care end up wondering, "Lord, didn't you promise me a life of peace and joy? What happened?"
Why haven't I been blessed?
I've been waiting on the Lord, so where is my husband?
Ask your pastor, and you're likely to be chided for wavering in your faith and instructed to remain steadfast in your duties. Wait and pray. God will provide.
I don't want to be too hard on them.
They're not all like that.
Most leaders are acting out of ignorance, totally unaware of the damage they're causing. But, that doesn't mean you should continue to play along.
Remember, it's to their advantage that you remain single and available for their ministry efforts.
Let's be honest.
Married women, especially once they become mothers, are no longer interested in playing those games. They push back and take up the leadership positions in the small groups.
It perpetuates the problem, and the cycle continues.
While you want to serve God and give of your gifts and talents, you don't have to (or need to) do everything that others, including the church, asks of you.
In fact, serving others at your own expense actually does more harm than good.
Here are a few noteworthy ideas that I would like to suggest you try.
Imagine showing up for a date with a deep sense of peace and confidence around who you are in Christ.
How many problems would that solve?
Notice how much more present and available you can be when you're not worried about shapeshifting to fit into someone else's idea of who you should be.
Self-care and self-love make a massive impact on your love life because when you value yourself, it's so much easier for a man to come along and value you too.
It feels different, doesn't it?
The shift might be subtle at first, but I promise that as you recognize your own needs and take care of them, you'll be in a far better position to show up as the best version of yourself and create a genuine connection.
You'll go from feeling used, bitter, resentful and needy, to calm, generous and open.
Bitterness doesn't look good on anyone.
You don't need another list of ways to practice self-care. There are thousands of those available, so I'm not going to give you another one of those.
Instead, I hope that what I've given will be of far more value.
A shift in perspective and permission to practice self-care without shame. Not for the sake of your future partner or for someone else, but for you. Because you deserve to be taken care of, and the best and only person for the job is Christ in YOU.
Just remember, self-care doesn't take away anything from anyone. In fact, it's the opposite; it creates abundance and results in more for everyone.
So go ahead and acknowledge what you need to do to take care of yourself.
It's not selfish; it's just common sense.
And, if you're doing it properly, your self-care routine should ultimately bring you closer to God.
This means we need to take responsibility for the things we are capable of. God's not going to give you a miracle when you're perfectly capable of doing something for yourself. God is not an enabler of laziness. In fact, most lazy people in the Bible are referred to as wicked and slothful.
So take care of yourself.
I want to leave you with one final example.
They say that if you try to help a baby chick hatch, you're killing it. It needs to work its way out of the shell in order to survive. Too often, we are crying for God to take us out of our shell or hard place, but God knows it's good for us. His grace is sufficient. You don't need a miracle; you need to do what God created you to do.
God put us on earth to have dominion. That means we are here as stewards of the world around us. But our primary responsibility is to take care of ourselves.
How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
It's not your job to take care of everyone else at your own expense. First of all, it looks ridiculous. Secondly, it helps no one.
That, my friends, is self-care!
If you'd like to take this work to the next level, I'd love to invite you to take my brand new 3 part mini training series on Self Love.
Perhaps you're like many of the women I've worked with who have been given a skewed idea of what self-love and self-care really is. My Self-love course is a Christ-centred approach to building a healthy foundation rooted in the truth about who you are in Christ.
At least not anymore.
Despite what people are saying, you now know how to take everyday tasks and routines and turn them into Christ-centred activities- activities that are faith-filled, nourishing, and rewarding without any added guilt or shame.
And you now know the truth behind why you're might be starting to feel take advantage of by the church and what you can do about it.
Know your value.
Remember, it has nothing to do with the number of hours you sacrifice and everything to do with the sacrifice Christ made on your behalf.
Do that, and you're golden.
The right man will appreciate you for setting healthy boundaries, and God won't hold anything back from you just because you said no to the church's agenda.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If so, please pay it forward by sharing it with someone who will be blessed by it.
My goal is to help you enjoy a healthy, thriving relationship with God as you pursue your God-given desire for marriage.
Self-love can help you overcome sin and temptation and help you get to know God as He really is, good, loving, patient, and kind.
If you're a single lady and you'd like to grow in this area of your walk with God, please remember to check out my FREE Course on Self-Love.
I know you'll find it incredibly helpful when it comes to seeing yourself the way God sees you and making a plan to move towards a lasting relationship with an equally-yoked partner.
And I have a few questions for you…
I'd love to have a conversation with you; please leave a comment below and let me know.
Share as much detail as you'd like. Your wisdom and insights will help and encourage readers from around the world. The ideas you share might be the inspiration someone else needs to get a breakthrough.
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Thank you so much for reading and supporting this growing community with your voice. It really matters to me, and it makes a huge difference in the Kingdom of God.