Fall is Here! #ANewSeason: Self-Care (Conclusion)

September 27, 2018

The Counseling Corner

By Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min. M.Th

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” – (Eccl. 3:1)

Camille B. Lester is this week’s featured guest columnist. She wears many hats; she is a board-certified counselor/therapist, doctoral student, educator, and the esteemed daughter of Rev. Judith T. Lester. Her research and clinical interests broadly focus on understanding the factors that contribute to the etiology, clinical course, and progression of internalizing and externalizing behaviors in African American youth, with a particular emphasis on the role of socialization, parenting techniques, and subsequent social cognition. Enjoy this week’s feature on self-care by Ms. Lester.

Over the past few years the term “self-care” has transformed into a movement. On the cover of every magazine, news article, and selfie one can find posts with the buzz word #SelfCare. Each day people from around the world take the time to share their own personal interpretation of self-care, but what does it really mean?

The first step to getting real about self-care, is to tune into self. Similar to how we tirelessly turn the dial on our radio until the sound is just right, we must do the same to tune into our body, mind, and Holy Spirit. To tune into self, you must first acknowledge your existence. Touch your hand, place your hand to your heart, or close your eyes and breathe deeply. You are here. You exist. You are breathing. When we internalize the reality that we are the perfect result of God’s unique workmanship, love, imagination, and amazing creativity, caring for self becomes less arduous.

As Christians, it is ingrained in us to be loving, giving, forgiving, kind, and gentle to others. We are called to extend God’s grace daily, as God has so graciously extended to us, no matter the difficulty. I always ask myself, if I am as giving, forgiving, kind, and gentle to myself, as I strive to be for others. When I think about the discrepancy of grace sometimes I lend to myself versus the grace I extend out, it causes me to pause because during those times I find myself in the “negative,” lacking energy to take care of self the way I need and deserve. In many ways, self- care is intentionally living out 1 Corinthians 13. It is being loving, kind, patient, and forgiving to ourselves. Leading a “1 Corinthians 13 life” opens us up to experience God’s unbelievable grace in the simplest, daily, routine aspects of existence.

I acknowledge the reality that the pulls and tugs of capitalism and the ‘live and show your best life’ attitude of social media is everywhere. It is important to note that taking care of self does not have to include weekend trips to expensive spas, overpriced facials, or lavish vacations. Self-care knows no race, budget, or socioeconomic status. It is instead found in the most ordinary, mundane acts, and might I add, often times for free?!

Self-care is getting out of bed or taking time to rest. It can also be saying “no” and creating and enforcing personal boundaries with family and friends. It could be saying “yes,” and letting someone into your boundaries. Self-care can be taking the stairs at work, taking your medication, drinking water, creating a to-do list, eating lunch outside, lighting a candle, cooking, eating a warm meal, or pausing to admire the squirrel chase up the tree. Self-care is taking time to tune into self, and do what your body, mind, and spirit needs in any given moment.

Ephesians 6:11, pleads for us to “put on the FULL armor of God, so that [we] can take a stand against the devil’s schemes, for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.” Beloved, take care of you. Show up fully. Give and receive grace freely. You are the result of God’s workmanship, love, and creativity. You exist. You matter. Pause. Breathe. You are here. God is not done with you yet!

– Camille B. Lester, M.S., NCC, Past Recipient of the Louvenia Johnson Scholarship

The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in this article, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. This information is for educational purposes only. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.