Self-care or stewardship?

Last night, Dr. Tan (Fuller) spoke on the topic of self-care. During the presentation he interacted with Dr. Sally Schwer Canning’s short essay in a previous Journal of Psychology & Christianity issue (2001, v 30, p 70-74). Dr. Canning raised some concerns about self-care and “balance” language. We all know that we can get out of balance and that we do need to do things to care for ourselves. However, there are times, Dr. Tan said, that we are put out of balance by God. He reminded us of Paul’s statement that he was overwhelmed to the point of despairing of life. He was ship-wrecked and more.

In the name of self-care, we sometimes put up inappropriate boundaries.

Both Tan and Canning suggest that “stewardship” may be a better image for us to us? How are we stewarding the gifts and resources we have, even when life is out of balance?

What do you think? Does stewardship get the same point as self-care?


Filed under AACC, christian counseling

5 responses to “Self-care or stewardship?

  1. Laurel Kehl

    Stewardship DOES seem like a much better way to still capture self-awareness and care, but not focus on it.

  2. Andrew J. Schmutzer

    “Self-care” is a coddled concept in an era of “I Pod, I Pad, and My Space.” Clearly, important principles come with the interests of self-care, this is not in question. But I think we should also acknowledge the post-modern ideologies of spontaneous individualism that can also accompany self-care-ism. From self-actualization to self-soothe our (professional) culture now finds it harder to prove why community is really necessary. On a related point, the premise of homeostasis may struggle accept this. What some call “imbalance” can function as a necessary correction or “ration” of a habit that brings needed correction.

  3. I am inclined to answer this way..
    God’s imbalances bring about changes to achieve His perfect will, trying to keep a balance with all things, including self-care when we need it, and stewardship when we have extra to give, is all we can do. Isn’t it?
    Stubbornness and pride sets up inappropriate boundaries, while some boundaries to enforce a time of self-care are important by allowing us to grow with God in the wilderness.. so to speak….
    Obedience to God’s personal, precise directions will ensure how we act in the balanced or unbalanced states will fulfill the end result as God intends… Each life is His masterpiece and we can’t use the same blueprint for each situation in all lives…
    But perhaps I misinterpreted the question…..??

  4. D.S.

    Ah…self-care or stewardship. I had never thought of this before. It is true! They are different. Anyone can take care of self. One only need to be related to self to do that. Stewardship implies someone we are responsible to. Our bodies are not our own, they are bought with a price. I can do self-care of good nutrition, sleep, exercise and I can do good-nutrition, sleep and exercise as stewardship. Each may result in the same action. However, self-care will be revealed as wood, hay and stubble. Stewardship will be revealed as gold, silver and precious stones.

  5. Ryan

    I like the idea of stewardship because it immediately brings to mind the idea that I’m caring for something (in this case my body, health, etc.) primarily because it belongs to someone else. The idea of self-care shows itself to be only self-referential instead of God-centered.

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