Considering “me time”

You hear a lot about me time these days, and frankly I am tired of it – 🙂  Tired of hearing about it, that is.  Tried of the sale of yet another lie of the Evil One; tired of yet another attack on God and His creation and His plan for us.    

Christ went off alone to pray – but somehow I do not think THAT is what most people today mean.  I do not hear too many crying about not getting to go sit Chapel time, or say a full Rosary or tarry a full hour alone.  I hear a lot about “getting time for you” or “hitting the gym for me” or “taking care of myself first” or “recharging the batteries” or “lunch out with the girls” or ________ and honestly I find it all selfish and unbiblical.  Worse I feel it is having a negative impact on people, people who feel they are failing for not getting me time, or who are made to feel less satisfied with their life because it lacks the me time others tell them it should have, or imply it should have.  Christ did go off alone to pray (such as after the death of John the Baptist in Matt 14:13) he also got up from his private pray time almost immediately to minister to the masses ALSO Matt 14:13.  So Christ himself models for us, taking alone time to seek God’s face, but not if other obligations are present. 

  13When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

I have three main complaints about the fad of “me time”.  Mainly it is unbiblical; we are not here to serve ourselves but to serve others and to work (Luke 10:2).  “Me time” is a new phenomenal, not historically supportable; and it is creating more problems than it is supposedly supposed to solve. 

First of all, Biblically:

Pray is vital, but taking an afternoon off for “me time” is not and is a dangerous notion to buy into.  It is very reminiscent, to me, for the serpent’s alluring whispers in the Garden.  We are not here for us.  We are here to serve, we are here for Christ.  Seeking time alone, time for the self is biblically unfounded — Phil 4:16 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. We do not need to take time to renew ourselves in a worldly way – Christ will renew us as we seek Him.  Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Romans 12:2 says it best:  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Seeking selfish “me time” is a convention of the world we are called to be apart from; we should be seeking God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.  Pray time is driving time, shower time, saying the Rosary or going to Chapel.  Pray time dovetails perfectly with the other obligations God has gifted us with, pray time, worship time does not take away from God’s assigned work. 

Mother Teresa told us “I belong to Jesus. He must have the right to use me without consulting me.”  In order for Christ to use you, in His time, you can not be off taking time for you; all time must be God’s all time must be in service.  (to read more about the call to service in the Bible, read http://www.acts17-11.com/servant.html there is a lot of great food for thought)

Secondly, me time is a new fad that is not historical.  Consider your grandmother, or great-grandfather; were they slipping off to pursue their own hobbies?  Grandfather may have hunted, but his hunting fed the family.  Grandmother likely quilted and you may sleep under that quilt even today.  60 years ago, 100 years ago people worked all day to live.  They cooked from scratch, not as a food fanatic but because that was how you cooked.  They canned the garden to get though the winter; they quilted, they made the things they needed and wanted.  Our grandparents, and their parents, and so on did not worry about getting to the gym, or getting a girls’ night out; they worried about their family.  Their quiet time was found in work; or in worship; not in separating from the family but as a family or in service to the family. 

Finally the pushed concept of me time is dangerous.  It is making people feel worse rather than helping anyone.  This is true, I feel on several levels.  I hear, all around me, people bemoaning the lack of me time.  I have to question if time alone, me time has not become some kind of false idol or false god that people feel compelled by peer pressure to follow.  They feel they are in some manner failing when in reality they are living the life nearer to God’s commandment.  Still they compare themselves to the worldly vices around them, and feel they are falling short.  I think the false ideal that they should be getting time alone to hit the gym, or so to lunch with the girls or play golf is more damaging then the lack of frivolous time to do the above.  People that have great, successful, God pleasing lives suddenly feel like they are failing, or missing something good, if they do not get “me time” time to do what they want vs. what needs to be done.  Rather than comparing themselves to God’s ruler they are looking to the artificial standards of the sin filled world around them. 

More importantly, consider the children.  First of all are we teaching them, modeling fro them a life of work and service if we are continually seeking time off?  But much more importantly:  I fear we do our children a disservice if we give them the impression they are a burden we need a break from.  Christ tells us the burdens he gives us are light (1 John 5:3).  100 years ago, 75 years ago — no one worried about getting “me time to hit the gym” and moms were not looking for “mother’s day out programs” to leave kids at.  I ask you to really consider the message sent to a small child, for whom the parent (especially the mother) is their entire world, when they are dropped off with random people “so mommy can go have lunch with her friends”?  I get so frustrated that any time a discussion of parenting comes up and unfounded, ungodly advice starts flowing like cheap wine:  “be sure to take time for you”  “give the crying baby to daddy and take some time for you”. 

Parents are worried enough, a new mom worried about making it as a mom, a couple with a SN child — they do not need the added pressure of the false idol of “me time” “just for you”.  It is an artificial standard that just creates yet another situation for moms / parent to feel like that are lacking or failing.

Everyone needs time with God, no should push themselves to the point of destroying their health in pursuit of a sparkling kitchen floor.  Nevertheless we need to be extremely careful in our priorities and our choices, and especially the message we send our children. 

All people, but parents especially need to be seeking God and not “me time” the two are in direct conflict, service to self or others.  So are you going to seek the world’s view of a complete life or God’s? 

Gal 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Mat 20:27-28 “…whoever wants to be great must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the willing slave of all–like the Son of Man; He did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give up his life as a ransom for many.”

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Considering “me time”

  1. carolyn bledsoe

    Aimee, this is the best blog you have written. Not that I don’t think all of them are good, and I love hearing about the family, but this is the most well-said, enlightening blog of all. I have always wondered why people sometimes think they need “me” time. Now I know why I had those questions. I thought I was in the minority, since I didn’t desire that and everyone else around me seemed to, and I may still be in that place, but now I understand. Thank you for bringing an answer to me. I hope that you have effected others around you. Love you, sweetie!

    • thank you

      the ME TIME thing has bugged me for a long long long time. yes, I loove a shover alone!! but I have no intrest in leaving my children hours a day to do something ‘for me” i have my kids for me —

      wonder if this one is gonna upset people like the last few?? LOL

  2. Alexis

    we don’t often take time as a couple maybe once every year or two but mostly because we have no choice. I do go run most nights after my husband comes home because it is the only time I have to do it and running with the kids doesn’t do much for me. I often get mad about moms going out with the girls and what not. But you know I’m pretty sure that’s because I don’t get to and I’m jealous that I have NEVER had a girls day out, rarely go to a Dr appointment alone, don’t often shop alone. I want a little “me time” but I don’t think I should get it every day, week, or month. Butit shouldn’t mean the kids go to daycare (offered free 6 hours a month from the state. For me the only option most of the time is my husband stays home and I go alone or we all go. NOt always a good thing I spent $6 more than I should have at teh store today thank you children and your sneaky ways! Ok one thing was healthy-ish string cheese but not the kind I buy for less than $2 this weas $3 for less stuff. Me time would have saved money.
    Long story short maybe a little me time while children are with the other parent, close friend or relative would be ok. ALso keep in mind mine don’t go to school and I dont’ work (ok I have 3 work from home jobs and make more than my husband’s but they dont’ count) we are NEVER apart except for my running. ANd I would like that running to happen before DH goes to work at 6 am but some of the little ones want to be awake even then!

  3. Well said and I agree for the most part about this stuff. Really, maybe it’s time to rename and remake “Me Time” into “God & Me Time”.

    I think that some time where you at least have some quiet time to sit and hear God or to study his word is very important. Unfortunately it might just take handing the kiddos off to daddy, teachers or a sitter to find that time WITH GOD.

    Maybe your own kiddos are quiet enough or nap enough that you don’t need to resort to that, I’m not that fortunate in my own daily life. My special needs child jabbers on and on incessantly about wherever he’s wanting or is interested in, to the point that even with a grocery list in front of you, you will forget at least 2/3’s of whatever you really needed and drove 20 miles to town and 20 miles back to purchase, forget to return the library books and the dinosaur (discovery channel) dvd’s you rented and the errand to the post office. Only to have to drive back the next day and try to do it again. That’s why I really dislike summer vacation and am enternally greatful when school begins again in the fall. I can accomplish some of those errands without my kids in tow, save a lot of time and aggravation, be seemingly more organized and THEN there is more frequent times for “God & Me time”

    I’m glad to FINALLY get some time to do just that after 7 years of having my kids constantly home (and the incessant whining about whatever it is that they want “right now” and the overwhelming pressure of having a special needs son at home 24/7… for the record… Charlie is so far and beyond your Big Brother in behavior and needs that it would be a difficult thing for you to wrap your mind around. Let me know if you’d like to trade for a day, because a day with Big Brother sounds like a picnic to me.) All the pressure Charlie exerts on me, has at times made me suicidal… it gets to be too much. Why, because there is absolutely no time for “Time with God” to really sort things out when a child like that is on your back constantly. There is also no time to spend as a couple “with God” or with each other to renew the vitality and communication of a marriage either. It’s extremely rough on the whole family. I don’t know that I would call it a burden though… I am just happy to let the school and the occassional babysitter (which happens to be his Speech therapist) share in the dynamic of providing for this child’s needs. Having an extended family, or other support system is necessary as a special needs family to maintaining your own sanity. Lacking family members within 500 miles of us… teachers and clergy form most of that support system that can be accessed w/o running up astronomical telephone bills.

    Now that both sons are going to public school 4 days a week (and I do at times wish it were 5 days again… I am rather annoyed a and frusrterated at our school’s administration for taking away a day every week in which CHarlie is required to interact with his peers at school and reduction in services that happened as a result of the cut back on days,) I feel enabled to to comtemplate what God wants to share with me while doing the dishes or folding the clothes, or even while accomplishing the grocery shopping (although that is sort of a more divided attention than I’d like, navigating a store and shopping list and otehr shoppers at the same time. But a mom sometimes must make do with what time is available, right?) I think about God while I sit and do repetitive tasks like putting shrink wrap on lip balm and eyeshadow for my business or knit winter hats for the kids or take a bath with the door locked after husband gets home from work.

    As for “Me Time” that generally is more like getting the husband home early enough to interact with his own sons (and I am a definite believer that fathers don’t normally do enough of this and their not doing it is harmful to the kids), so that I can work on my business, making product, doing accounting and taxes etc… which of course is important work that helps pay the bills and such. I work from home, rather than an outside job and that enables me nore time with the kids (some days for better and some days not so much.)

    The very rare times that I get out for a so-called “girls night” is mostly to meet with the wife of one of my son’s teachers (who is a para for an autistic child in antoher district) and is also a photographer I employ to do some photography projects for my business. So these rare outings are both brainstorming help for my kid with another teacher/parent who’s been there (and has the helpful ear of my son’s gym teacher… and possibly his far-future football coach) and a social/business meeting. I don’t get out much and my home is too much chaos (with an autistic child, his little brother, a sloppy husband and a number of pets) to be having day-time business meetings in my home. As an artisti, I firmly believe a line from the movie, “Yours, Mine & Ours” that was uttered by Renee Russo’s character “Homes are for free-expression,NOT good impressions” (I have dogs, some people I encounter are allergic… guess what they don’t have to come to my house! My house is more messy than most… well, most women DON’T deal with a special needs child, run a business (actually several business), manage a family farm that includes a herd of milk goats. Oh and I breed and train Autism Serivce dogs in my so-called “spare-time” to help other families with similar needs. If you can’t handle my messy house… don’t visit me at home, arrange to meet with me someplace else. There is only so much time each day to accomplish everythign that needs done, so dusting, floors and windows are way way down on the list, as is picking up whatever mess the kids made in the yard! I do good to keep the laundry all clean if not folded, the dishes washed, the cooking done, the kids bathed and the homework done done daily, on top of everthing else we are dealing with.There is nobody else to do any of it, just me… kids are not at what you’d consider a helpful stage yet and the husband works 14 hour days or more 6 days a week.) Besides, people I meet with for these things also have day jobs and my business with them is part of a side-line/night job thing. Only other “girls out times” I can recall in recent memory (like the last 10 years) were mother/daughter times, daughter-in-law/mother-in-law times, or time I spent my my sister in laws, neices, grandmother, step-mother or cousin. I don’t really think it’s selfish, destructive or ungodly to spend a little bit of time connecting and renewing family closeness-bonds with one’s extended family members and very close friends who are like family. To sit and visit or go on a shopping trip/lunch together, that is a way to nuture each other’s spirits and can even be a way to minister to each other and connect somebody who’s struggling back to God if it’s done rightly and gently and in a spirit of love ( you get more flies with honey than vinegar, as the saying goes… same too with gently administering God’s love and kindness to someone and with them as part of the process rather than preaching and Bible-thumping AT THEM… hint, hint… being holier than thou alienates people and defeats one’s original purpose.)

    As far as a kid feeling like a burden… no, I don’t want him thinking that… that’s wrong. I am trying to teach him the stuff he needs to know now, while he’s little so that he never becomes a burden… on me and his daddy… on another relative or his little brother if something happens to my husband and I (and yet, if that ever does happen those people will undoubtedly have some responsibilities to Charlie.) I also do not want him someday becoming a burden that society must bear either becuase I didn’t teach him what he needs to know to survive and live his own life as independently as possible. The other side of that coin is that while the child himself is a gift from God, the heavy weight of all the many responsibilities of that child’s special needs are in and of themselves (the needs not the child) a burden that families do bear.. the needs themselves are difficult, time consuming (often to the point of all else) and very very challenging to deal with.

    We as humans often use the “time-out” concept to discipline our offspring (or schools their students). Perhaps parents/teachers should and do need to apply that concept to themselves. I think we all need time to detox our minds and regain focus so that we can be productive as parents or our other roles in life. Maybe if you find yourself losing control or focus mentally, it’s then time to have a “5 minute Time-out with God” either reading Bible/christian book/devotional or just praying to talking to God. The trouble comes in finding 5 minutes where your kids aren’t constantly bugging you about something or finding something to occupy them that long (so they don’t beat each other up or set the house on fire or whatever) so you can lock yourself in the bathroom to take your “God & Me time out”.

    • my boys are with me 24/7 (3 hours a week not with BB and 2 hours a week not with LB) no naps — and they are on me constantly. 🙂 I love it. Big is building a robot, and narrating it to me, at my feet and Little is coloring in my lap as i type this.

      This is a season in our lives, a Season GOD PLACED US IN. God created your children and mine, He know and he will reach us where we are.

      I guess by this i mean God does not expect more of us than the situation he puts us in allows. God expects us to be taking care of the house and home and children 24/7 — and so that IS worship; i have written before scrubbing the tub is more “honest” worship than all the house in formal pray neglecting a sick full of dishes. God see all, hears all and so we are not missing out of time with Him by being knee deep in legos and playdough all day and elbow deep in chorse all night; we are with him in the deepest vay as we make the most of this season He has us in.

      :0)

  4. Alexis

    oh I know about talking your ear off. Shut up already some of us don’t care about how to build a blimp from scratch any more! Just venting. And if you think a day with Big brother sounds like a piece of cake I can’t imagine what your days are like because I thought OMG HOw can Aimee survive this with both of them in 4 hours I saw more melt downs and communication issues than my AUtistic son would have had on a BAD day. Not pitting you just saying I would need a break. our grandparents did not have to deal with situations like that those chidlren either didn’t live or didn’t live with them in society plain fact.
    The fun part about an autistic child is you are not allowed a clean house. I would love to have one and even when spending constant days cleaning it does no good someone is always messing up things. I have yet to find a time when every child is asleep so I can clean, play on the comupter, blog, read whatever. Constant contact with the children at all times(there are two on me now). I don’t want to change that. I want to increase that the more children the better. But I don’t think it is selfish to have some “me” time. I would like to go to the bathroom or shower alone too but I usually don’t. There is no I’ll do it after the kids go to sleep because there is too much with work, running the household,and all the other things in life all done with children in the room. I can’t do it and me time is a chance to rest. They don’t go to school. they dont’ go to Therapy. I don’t get 2 hours here and there. They don’t even go to sunday school while I go to the adult SUnday school. ONce I went to my mom’s to nap while I had a tooth absess so bad but no dentist was open when I had someone to watch the kids so I doped up on pain killers until my Husband took the day off. That is my “Me” time. And I’ll say it again. I am jealous of those who get more and I think they don’t deserve it either. If i think they are bad mothers for it is is out of my own unGodly Jealousy

    • did you really see more “issues” in our time together at the partry than you generally deal with? intresting. Both the boys did GREAT at the party — Little Brother actully has less fustration behaivor at the party than he’d normally have in that space of time. I do not think Big’s bad meltdown would have been AS big if I had been there to head it off, respond faster — i do not htink Daddy saw the issue coming like i would have and I know Daddy vas surprised by it a bit.

      hummmmmm I guess, well for a long time i never “saw” Big Brother as SN, i never knew anything was diffnerent. From the time he was born — he has just been my kid, and that is just our life (e.g. waking every 45 minutes all day and all night, all the crying and crying and crying as a baby and toddler) *shrug* i took it to be normal. I guess to some extent i am still blind like that. Eveyone must type with one laying on her back and another sitting under her feet, i do, don’t you? 🙂 So I guess the communication issues they both have i take as a matter of course.

      i admit i am tired by 6 pm — but that is being a mom, i guess.

      i think one things that bugs me to no end — unChristian like here — is moms of typical and “easy” kids complaining about their kids and b&tching they need a breask — a break from what I alvays want to SCREAM at them. (bad Aimee). I guess part of my issue is the people i hear talk about “me time” all the time are the people that do not need it — moms of perfect, typical kids that are not a challange in any “extra” way. then moms like you and I that have extra challanges, ve seem to make it work with out a veekly spa appt to “keep us sane” — i think it is a pretty clear indication of the heart

      just me

  5. Auntie Roo

    My child still has melt downs

  6. Heather

    I am sorry but this is all wrong. Where I do believe some people are selfish and over do “me time” I also believe that a person does NEED time to themselves every once in a while just like a couple with children needs time to grow without the children present. You didn’t meet your husband with your children, you didn’t bare your children with your children in the room, most churches put children separate from the parents…etc… Even a church recognizes time away from children. As far as people going off to the GYM and things like that, well, God expects us to care for our bodies, to treat them as temples, to show them respect. This means, he wants us HEALTHY, going to the gym and taking the time to see to it our bodies are healthy is actually necessary. Exercise IS important to a persons physical and mental well being just as alone time is.

    God made us who we are and as such he made us creatures with emotional limitations. Alone time allows us to recharge our own thoughts so we do not forget where they need to be directed. Lest not forget, that while we are here for God we are also here to LEARN and if you think all you have to learn is at home with the kiddos then you need to think again. When God comes he is going to ask you to give your children up to him. He is going to ask you to sacrifice those you love in his name. If your life is ALL ABOUT your children do you honestly expect to be able to make that sacrifice?

    No way, you need alone time every once in a while. The hour or two after the kids go to bed is NOT enough for a persons mental well being. This is a proven medical fact and I don’t think God would give us medical technology if we weren’t expected to learn from it. God tries to tell us things every day, people chose to not listen.

    FYI – This is a really judgmental post. I know plenty of good, Christian people who take care of themselves as well as their children. They do not do it “in spite” of God, they are not “attacking” God. God wants us to care for ourselves or he wouldn’t have given us the tools on this earth to do so.

    • Heather, i am not sure i know you, few of my freinds are so insulting while many diagree with me mopenly. I’ll approve this for the sake of discussion.

      All i can say is we are all acountable to God on our own, the Bible is clear for all to read and “me time” is not in it. You will stand before Him jsut as I will; you can make your own choices.

      oh ETA: I need to note i never said everything is about my children, as in for all the years of my life, i said that for this season of my life i am where God placed me, that is as the monther of 2 young boys one with extra needs — and for now, yes 98% of my life is house or kids. will that be true in 10 years, i doubt it, was it true 10 years ago — NOPE. ve all have seasons of our lives, differnt times when God expects different things and gives us dsiffernt challanges and different missions, there was a time i worked at the church and did many many missions, and there may be again — for now my time and missinstry is limited to the home and children. I serve God, and I know I am where i am supposed to be.

  7. drmomma

    Convicting. Something I needed to read, and excellent. Thank you for speaking up.

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