Is self-care selfish?
April Yamasaki shares how to “take care of yourself” and follow Jesus
HARRISONBURG, Va. — We often hear the phrase “take care of yourself,” but how to find time to do that in today’s world? For many Christians, the idea of self-care sounds contrary to the command of Jesus to deny yourself and follow him. How exactly do believers balance these two seemingly opposite pursuits?
Author April Yamasaki explores this contradiction in Four Gifts: Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength (Herald Press, September 2018). Yamasaki is a Mennonite pastor in British Columbia.
Drawing on the ancient scriptural command to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, Yamasaki helps readers think about the spiritual dimensions of attending to your own needs and finding true rest in a fast-paced world. She weaves together personal stories, biblical and theological insights, questions for reflection, and practical ideas for self-care. Four Gifts helps readers sustain their spirits and balance competing demands without adding more items to their to-do lists.
“I know I need self-care, yet can’t always get there,” writes Yamasaki. “I need a bigger vision of caring for myself that also embraces caring for others and surrendering myself to God’s call and care.”
Yamasaki addresses specific challenges like setting priorities, living in a digital world, dealing with worry, and getting a good night’s sleep. “Our minds find renewal as we learn, serve, and rest,” Yamasaki says. “At its best, self-care is a way of life, a gift that sustains each of us as we serve God and serve other people.”
“In Four Gifts, April’s powerful insights are on brilliant display,” says Christena Cleveland, author of Disunity in Christ. “With an integrative mind-body-spirit approach, Yamasaki leads us on a journey that is worth following.”
Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, author of Start, Love, Repeat, writes that Four Gifts is “the most thorough and thoughtful exploration of self-care I have ever come across.”
Yamasaki focuses her writing on spiritual growth and Christian living. A member of Redbud Writers Guild, she is the author of, or contributor to, 15 books including Sacred Pauses, Upside-Down Living: Sharing Faith Stories, Spark: Igniting Your God-Given Creativity, and Ordinary Time with Jesus, among others. Her work has also appeared in the Christian Century and Canadian Mennonite. Yamasaki has more than 20 years of experience as a congregational pastor and leads workshops and Bible studies in denominational and other settings. She and her husband, Gary, live near Abbotsford, British Columbia.
Four Gifts is available from Herald Press for $16.99 (paperback) and $13.99 (ebook) at 800-245-7894 or at www.HeraldPress.com, Amazon, and other online sources. Canadian customers can order from CommonWord (877-846-1593), Parasource (800-263-2664), and elsewhere.
To schedule an interview with April Yamasaki, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540-908-3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.