You get up day after day to complete all of your tasks and try to accomplish your goals. You’re feeling exhausted and need to take time to restore. You need to find some time practicing self or soul care, but they’re the same thing, right?
What’s the difference between soul care and self-care? Soul care and self-care are both acts of replenishing one’s state of being. The difference is self-care is any act of taking care of your of yourself which is a common secular view. Where Soul care is the act of taking care of your spiritual health which is a Christian view.
We all get to a point where we’re burned out and everything seems to be too much. To prevent that from happening you can work in ways to care for your soul or self daily. To tell the differences between the two let’s begin by defining them.
Soul Care Defined
Soul care is the act of taking time to care for your spiritual well-being. Though our physical and mental state grows weary, it’s our spiritual state which is the other two dwells from.
Our soul is where everything dwells from. If it grows weary then it begins to impact every other part of our being.
When our soul grows weary we must make sure that we turn to Christ who restores it. Soul care is focused around Christ and spending time with the Father when we begin to grow weak. He is our source and strength.
He is the one we must turn to when our well begins to run dry.
Caring for your soul can involve intentional quiet time. Taking time to worship the Lord. Having a conversation with your Heavenly Father. Journaling out your thoughts to the Lord. Being in the Lord’s presence.
You can get creative with caring for your soul, but the focus is on the Lord during this time.
Is Soul Care Biblical?
Though the term soul care is not found in the Bible, there are many different places where that show us the importance of caring for ourselves.
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?Mathew 16:16
Our soul is what God has gifted us to be connected with Him through our spirit. This verse shows the importance of our soul.
We need our soul to be able to connect with our Heavenly Father. If we’re not caring for it, then we are not realizing the importance of our soul.
We also see that the only way we can truly find rest is through Christ
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.Psalm 62:1
Our soul can become discouraged from the things of this world, but God is the one who restores it and fixes it back upon Him.
Self Care Defined
When you’ve been on your feet surrounded by people all day, sometimes you just want to go cuddle up in your bed and eat your favorite treat. This is self-care.
It’s an act of caring for your physical or mental well-being.
It’s easy to become run down and experience burnout when being busy is what’s constantly practiced by society. It’s important to take time to pour into yourself as well during these times.
Self-care is taking time specifically for yourself to do whatever you do to fill your cup.
It’s putting on your favorite face mask and painting your nails while watching the newest episode of the bachelor. It could even be playing basketball with the guys.
However you care for your self, the whole point is to make time to make yourself happy.
Is Self Care Biblical?
Jesus wants us to care for ourselves because we are His temple. However, we are also called to not be selfish as well.
The Bible cautions us of being selfish and only focusing on ourselves.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.Philippians 2:3
We are called to focus on others instead of ourselves. This needs to be our caution with soul care is that we are not doing so for our own benefit, but instead so that we can better serve others.
Soul Care & Self Care Similarities
As you can tell from the definitions of each, Soul care and Self-care have quite a bit in common. Seeing their similarities helps us to grow in a deeper understanding of what each one is really about.
They Both Help You Stay Balanced
Caring for your well-being is something that we are meant to do. We are not superhumans who never grow tired. We were created so beautifully with a body that can restore itself and is able to give us what we need to work properly. However, we need to find a way that allows our bodies to do so.
Both are focused on you finding time in the midst of busyness to care for yourself and to make sure that you can be in a better place to get the most out of your daily life.
Soul Care & Self Care Recognize Human Brokeness
We as humans are broken as a result of the fall. This is why we can not keep going and not grow faint.
Both soul and self-care acknowledge that we cannot continue in our lives without taking time to care for ourselves.
Without doing so we cannot ensure that we will succeed. Our body, soul, and mind will grow faint and weary.
If we were perfect we could go days on end without even beginning to feel tired, or struggling with being in a bad mental space.
Soul Care & Self Care Differences
Though there are many similarities between soul and self-care, the differences are key. Knowing the differences allows us to discern which one we should be using when our cup is becoming empty.
Self-care is a way to care for yourself that is centered around you, where soul care is a way to care for yourself that is centered around Christ.
1. Self Care Is A Secular View – Soul Care Is A Theistic View
One of the main differences between soul care and self-care is from what viewpoint each one derives from.
Self-care comes from a secular view. This is a view of the world meaning that it is observed by many in society who practice it and use it.
The term self-care has grown in popularity and become our go-to when we’re struggling. It’s why we say “treat yourself”.
Self care is something that everyone knows about and is aware of.
Soul care comes from a Theistic viewpoint. Soul care comes from religious beliefs and is almost universally Christian.
Though not every Christian believes in soul care, it came from certain groups within the Christian community. This is lesser-known and practiced within society because it stems from those who follow Christ.
2. Their Views On Brokeness
Soul care and self-care both recognize that humans are broken and need a way to rest and restore. They have different views as to why humans are broken.
The self-care perspective of why humans are broken is just because that is just the way we are. Humans mess up, but that’s just life.
This worldly view doesn’t have a reason as to why humans are broken but just accepts that it’s human nature.
Soul cares belief of human brokenness comes from the Bible. We see the example of human brokenness in the book of Romans.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinnedRomans 5:12
The view of brokenness as related to soul care is that humans are broken as a result of sin. This occurred after the fall occurred in Genesis and when sin spread into every human’s life.
This impacted every part of our lives including mental, physical, and soul. We must rely on God to help us become restored and seek comfort in these areas when we become weak.
3. Self Care Relies On You, Soul Care Relies On Christ
Though both self-care and soul care acknowledge that you need rest and help. Each one believes that you can achieve this through different things.
The view point of self care is that you can care for yourself by yourself. You do not need to seek others or anything else. You can achieve joy and rest through your own ability.
You can do this by engaging in whatever brings you joy. Ultimately though you are the one who knows yourself best, so you know what will bring you joy.
Soul care is the realization that we cannot give anything to ourselves on our own accord. We desperately need God. Through Him alone is how we can achieve peace and complete restoration.
These may be things that we do on our own, but the only way we can achieve them is through Christ working in us.
We see that everything goes through Him in Romans 11:36
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.Romans 11:36
Everything should dwell and come from Christ. He is what restores and fills our empty cup, so we must rely on Him.
4. Self Care Is Self Centered & Soul Care Is Christ-Centered
Another between the two is what the focus is on. The focus of both is on two different things.
The ultimate of self-care is to restore one’s self. To make sure you’re taken care of and doing well. Why? Because you deserve that. You’re supposed to take care of yourself for yourself. Is the mindset of self-care.
This is the view that the world has revolving around it.
Self care is one of the active ways that I love myself. When you can and as you can , in ways that feel loving, make time and space for yourself.Tracee Ellis Ross
Tracee sums up the worldly view that comes from self-care in that quote. That the focus is on you and what you can gain out of it.
Though Christ wants us to care and love ourselves, our reason for soul care is beyond us. It’s focused on Him. The goal of soul care is to become more aligned with Christ and seek restoration through Him.
Our focus on soul care is to go to the father and find rest in Him. Not in order to feel restored ourselves, which is one of the benefits. Instead, it’s as an act of worship to the Father to ensure that we are honoring Him and that He is our focus.
Another reason for soul care is to make sure that we can properly care for the Kingdom of God. We are to care for others, but we must make sure we do that well.
If we are tired and not filled, then we will not be able to love others well. We must ensure we are taking care of our souls. Not for ourselves, but instead for others so that we can love them well.
We see this stated within God’s holy word by Paul
No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.1 corinthians 10:24
God wants us to have a kingdom mindset not a me mindset.
Should Christians Practice Soul Care Or Self Care?
The world will tell us to practice self-care, but as Christians, I believe that we must spend time practicing soul care instead.
Self-care causes us to have a secular mindset that is all about us and our own gain. That is not how we should be living our lives. Instead, we must care for ourselves in order to glorify God. It’s a heart matter issue.
You must examine your heart to see why you feel the need to pour into yourself. It’s okay to just need your time and to treat yourself every once in a while. However, it shouldn’t turn into a constant thing.
Self-care may ease your stress levels for a while, but putting your time into your Heavenly Father and seeking Him for rest will bring you ultimate peace.
I’m not condemning any Christian who done self-care, instead, I’m challenging you to examine your heart. I’ve spent the past week eating my favorite sweets and watching my favorite show on Netflix when I have the time.
However, I kept feeling mentally exhausted and drained. I realized I was spending more time doing this than I was caring for my soul by seeking God.
The other night instead of watching my favorite show. I put on my worship playlist and just basked in the Lord’s presence. I was still before Him.
I felt peace for the first time I had all week. Watching your favorite show isn’t wrong, but when you’re going to that instead of the Lord it is. He must be first and He is the only thing that satisfies our soul.
How To Care For Your Soul In Counseling
Though soul care is something we can practice ourselves, we sometimes need assistance for caring for ourselves as well.
A way we can do this that allows us to give our problems to the Lord is through Biblical counseling.
Biblical counseling is solely based on the Lord’s word. Counselors use the Bible to help you lean on God in every situation and seek Him for answers for your struggles.
Sometimes we just grow tired of daily tasks, but sometimes our soul begins to become weary. We can begin to lose hope and not understand why we are feeling so discouraged. If you’re beginning to feel this way then I would encourage you to seek Biblical counseling.
You should still practice soul care outside of counseling but also go to a licensed counselor who can help you discern God’s voice in your situation.
Biblical Counseling Resources
If you’re searching for godly Biblical counselors these organizations are great options for you. Not everyone feels the need for counseling, and that’s okay. I encourage you to still be open to the idea of reaching out if your soul is eager to find rest.
ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) counseling has a solid Biblical base for counseling. This organization seeks to speak the truth from God’s holy word into your life while delivering it with love.
To get a counselor click here.
CCEF (Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation) counseling is focused not only on offering faith-based counseling but also on furthering believers’ counseling experience.
To get started on your counseling journey click here.
We’ll be pulled to give in to the pleasures of this world, but we must remember to put Christ first. We run to the father again and again because He alone sustains us.
So yes take some time to paint your nails and put on your face mask, but don’t forget to care for your soul too.