Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

Do You Love Yourself?

What comes to your mind when someone says self-care?

Do you think of a luxurious spa day?

A regular mani/pedi?

Maybe you think about an extravagant vacation.

A day at the beach.

An exciting weekend with the girls.

Or maybe it’s something simpler for you.

A candlelight bubble bath.

A quiet walk in the park.

A bike ride around the lake.

A quiet evening of Netflix.

A book and a chair next to the water.

Do you know what I think about?

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

Yes, I think of this well-known scripture.

Read it again.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Do you see what that implies? It implies that we must first love ourselves before we are able to love our neighbors.

The truth is we cannot give what we do not have. Are we drained? Are we mentally exhausted? Have we given until there’s nothing left to give?

If so, maybe it’s time to slow down.

Take a deep breath.

Find some way to recharge our bodies, our minds, our hearts.

For years, I gave. I gave to my husband. I gave to my kids. I gave to the congregation we served. I gave and I never had anything that filled my cup.

I remember one day going outside and mowing the yard. That’s not exactly something I consider self-care, but as I looked at the freshly mowed grass, I was overcome with this amazing sense of accomplishment. It was something I had missed for a long time.

When I became a single mom, I somehow instinctively knew I had to take care of myself. I had three little ones completely dependent on me with no one to help on a regular basis. I knew that if I didn’t take care of myself, I wouldn’t be able to care for them.

And that’s when I began my journey of self-care.

My self-care had to be cheap! After all, I was a single mom struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.

I took up running.

I had never been a runner, but I found that running was empowering! I felt that sense of accomplishment that was simply overwhelming (in a really good way). It made me feel strong—like I could overcome anything! It was the place where I could pour out my heart to God and return renewed.

Running saved me.

What is it for you? I recently asked this question on my Facebook page. The answers were as varied as my friends.

Do my nails! It relaxes me and make me feel girly!

Wake up before my toddler and drink coffee and read.

Take a nap.

A bubble bath with bath salts and soft music.

Get a massage.

A daily walk while I listen to a book.

Hike or the occasional road trip.

Anonymously gifting people at the thrift store.

Eating daily desserts.

Sitting by the river with my Bible.

I just tune into my body and go with what’s needed.

Horseback ride.

Curling up on the couch with my dogs.

Turning off the news and talking with my friends.

Read a good book.

We are God’s holy temple, sacred and set apart for His purposes. If we aren’t caring for ourselves—our bodies, our minds, our hearts—how can we be fully prepared for His purpose?

If we aren’t caring for ourselves, how do we have the strength to care for others?

Are you caring for yourself? Are you loving you well? Can we make a decision together to start looking for ways to love ourselves way? To find ways to pause and be renewed?

I know I need it.



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