“Load Management” is currently a trending term used in the NBA today. It is a term that is being used when a player will sit out of a game completely to rest and recover. The most widely discussed case of this right now is Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers, who is making $32.74 million this year and has been on the sidelines using “load management” for 2 of the first 8 games of the season. This type of self-care has become a big deal for fans who pay $100+ to go to a game expecting to see their star player, just to find them dressed in street clothes near the bench.
This is an interesting trend for me to see since the athletes I grew up admiring wore their ability to push through suffering, and their consecutive game streaks, as a badge of honor. Men like Michael Jordan, who famously chose to play during game 5 of the ’97 NBA Finals, when he was visibly affected by intense ‘flu like’ symptoms and went on to score 38 points until having to be carried off the court at the end of the game by teammate Scottie Pippen. There may be no better example of this than Brett Favre “a.k.a. Iron Man” who had 321 consecutive starts in the NFL, including playoffs, as QB. There was even a period of time where he was playing through a fractured thumb… ON HIS THROWING HAND!
However, today we see a trend of athletes choosing to play it safe and challenging professional sports leagues to make changes for the physical and mental health of the players. This leads to important questions that are more applicable to us: Where is the balance between self-care and responsibility? When does self-care become selfish?
As a busy Pastor, I know what it is like to be juggling various responsibilities while trying not to neglect what’s most important. There is always work to be done, problems to fix, bills to be paid, a spouse to spend time with, kids to raise, relationships to maintain, church responsibilities, new converts to work with, etc.. On top of all of the things mentioned, we are also instructed to “rejoice always”(1 Thessalonians 5:16), “not be anxious”(Philippians 4:6) and to “do all things without complaining”(Philippians 2:14). Piece of cake…
I would not deny the importance of self-care. We are stewards with everything we have been entrusted with, including our body, and that means that we are to take proper care of it. One of the 10 Commandments was God making His people take a full day of rest (Exodus 20-8-10) . We are also warned about the sin of gluttony(Proverbs 23:20-21) and told that physical exercise is good(1 Timothy 4:8). All of these would fall under the category of self-care and unfortunately are ignored by many Christians today.
The point when self-care becomes a problem is when it becomes prioritized over our spiritual health and responsibilities as a Christian. While being physically fit, eating healthier, and getting proper sleep can make a big difference in how you feel during the day, these things should not be looked at to satisfy the soul. When we emphasize them as more important than our spiritual health and responsibilities, we have begun to idolize self-care.
Self-care should be done, and it should ultimately compliment your walk with God; it should not in any way take away from it. If you are too busy for either, you are likely too busy or busy with the wrong things.
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