Jesus said it best when asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” He replied, of course, with two. His answer is found in Mark 12:29-31.
29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31, NASB)
You may have thought about this verse before or even memorized it when you were young, but how does it affect your life day in and day out? Or does it?
1. Loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength requires self care in each of these four areas of your life.
Often we think of loving God with all of our heart and all of our soul, but what about all of our mind and all of our strength? What does it mean to do this? What does it practically look like?
If you want to live out the greatest commandment, then you must be healthy in each of these areas. Today I am going to share with you a few of the ways I proactively pursue health in my heart, soul, body and mind. After reading through my list, you can begin making your own list! I have a free guide to help you with this.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us to “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” So as I think about ways to keep my heart healthy, I also include healthy ways to guard my heart.
- Setting boundaries in relationships, including my relationship with myself.
- Having friendship that are life giving. I proactively reach out to these friends regularly and share with them when I'm having a hard day.
- Speaking truth into my heart by reading God's Word daily. I actually begin each day with God's Word so that I can start my day with truth.
- Memorizing Scripture or “Hiding God's Word in my heart” so that I can remind myself of truth when my heart is feeling down.
- Doing something you love. Taking time out to recharge your batteries by doing something you love is a great way to keep your heart healthy!
Being in God's Word daily helps me focus on the truth of God's Word and not be swayed by the lies in my own heart. If you are currently looking for a new devotional that keeps you in God's Word and helps you focus on the truth of God's Word, check out my devotional, Loving? My Life, by clicking here: Devotional.
Love the Lord your God with all your soul.
This aspect of loving God is the one we probably think of most. It is our spiritual walk with God. It might involve:
- Meditating on Scripture. I do this by repeating the key truths of a Scripture to myself while breathing slowly with my eyes closed. For instance, I might repeat, “Love is patient, love is kind,” to myself when I am feeling impatient and unkind.
- Connecting with others spiritually. Being in a small group at my church allows me a weekly opportunity to connect with other spiritually.
- Growing spiritually with Jesus. Continuing to grow in my walk with Jesus, asking Him to refine me into the woman He created me to be, and reading books that challenge me all help me grow spiritually.
- Surrendering to Him on a daily basis. Asking Him to direct my day, my thoughts and my actions and surrendering to His will is an daily activity that keeps my soul healthy.
- Engaging in worship. Attending weekly church services, worshiping at home through powerful music, prayer and using my gifts all feed my soul.
Love the Lord your God with all your mind.
This one is probably less common when we think of loving God. But mental self care is an important aspect. Knowing truth and discerning truth from lies in an important aspect of our walk with Jesus. Paul warned about false prophets. If we want to guard against lies, we must know the truth. We must keep our minds sharp. We can do this a number of ways, here are just a few ways.
- Engaging your mind daily through reading, learning, and growing. This doesn't have to just be faith-based. Challenging your mind in different ways is a great way to keep it sharp!
- Studying and memorizing Scripture. Digging deeper into the Scriptures allows my mind to process it on a deeper level. Memorizing writes the Scripture on my heart and in my mind.
- Taking your thoughts captive to Jesus. When I am tempted to let my mind wander and for example have a fight completely in my head, or believe lies about myself or my situation, surrendering these thoughts to Jesus helps my mind stay healthy.
- Being a lifelong learner. Learning a new skill or trying a new hobby is a great way to challenge your mind! Right now my girls and I are learning to decorate cakes! Stay tuned for pictures!!!
Love the Lord your God with all your strength.
Do we have to talk about this one? Seriously? Sometimes, honestly, I don't want to. Why? Because it means I am accountable for what I do with my body…do I take care of it or not? Even though I love being outside and working out, I want it to be because I want to do it and because I enjoy it…not because I HAVE TO! Right? But let's be honest, we cannot love God with our bodies if we aren't taking care of our bodies. Here are few ways you can take care of your body in an effort to love God.
- Taking care of my body physically. This means saying “no” to unhealthy behaviors and saying “yes” to things that are good for your body.
- Working out regularly. Physical exercise we all know helps our bodies stay healthy. Finding physical exercise that you enjoy can help you maintain consistency.
- Going to my yearly check-ups. Making those appointments and keeping them is vital to lifelong health.
- Eating properly. This is my biggest struggle, and honestly I fail at it a lot, but I keep on moving forward!
- Getting enough sleep. My favorite! I am finally at a place in my life where I actually get enough sleep! Having two kiddos back-to-back meant I didn't sleep for years! So I am so thankful that I am back in a healthy place with my sleep! I love lavender oil to help me sleep on restless nights when my mind is wandering.
2. Jesus says to love your neighbor as yourself.
If you are going to love your neighbor, you first need to love yourself. It is like the flight attendants say, “Put your mask on first before you help someone else.” Self care is vital if we want to love God and love others well.
I wrote all about the importance of loving yourself so that you can love others better here: Taking Care of Yourself.
As I have developed my wellness plan, I have set boundaries and made choices about what I will and will not do in each of these areas. Sticking to my wellness plan keeps me grounded when life feels like it is spinning out of control. It also allows me to take practical steps to live out the greatest commandments.
Are you ready to start working on your own wellness plan? Request your free copy of my wellness plan template and questions to guide you in creating your own plan by clicking here: Wellness Plan.