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.”