For years I (Joan) read Proverbs 4:23 and thought it was a nice sentiment written by a wise person. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Prov. 4:23).
Then one day I saw these words with new eyes. Moved to research the Hebrew meaning of each word, I paraphrased the verse based on my findings. (Read my JCW paraphrase in the next column.)
ABOVE ALL ELSE
First and foremost—above all else-- your greatest responsibility, priority and honor is to protect, maintain, guard, preserve and nurture your soul.
Your soul (the real you) makes up your unique self with your mind, feeling, will, and personality housed in your specific body. So guard your inner self for out of it (not the external manifestations of accomplishment, success, failure, performance, money or appearance) springs forth Life—your entire life, everything you are. Proverbs 4:23
As a result, I no longer doubt the validity or the godliness of self-care. How about you?