The world tells women that they need and deserve to find time for themselves. Yet, as a Christian mother, I find myself a bit hesitant to pursue it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d love some me time. As a mother of little ones, I rarely have a moment of uninterrupted thought. My hesitation comes as I consider the idea of spending time solely on myself, rather than on serving the needs of my family. It just seems contrary to what I think I ought to be doing as a Christian mom.
As I look at the heart of the world’s advice, it seems women are being told they must find the time to escape from their normal reality and re-energize by focusing on themselves for a while. This might include being pampered by a massage or facial, or it could be a night out with friends. The main idea, though, is for women to relax and treat themselves to activities that make them happy and refuel them for their everyday lives.
That doesn’t sound all bad—and those activities aren’t bad in and of themselves. Yet, the secular worldview doesn’t take into account several realities that I believe could transform the typical me time mentality into a more God-honoring time of true refreshment. By acknowledging the following truths, I believe me time can be redeemed for Christian women.
1. We can never really escape reality, especially the reality that we live in God’s kingdom.
The secular idea of escaping reality for an evening of personal relaxation forgets to take into account that we live in a universe where God exists and that he is King (Ps. 103:19). We live, move and have our being under his rulership, whether or not our families are in our proximity (Acts 17:28).
Our alone time can never be viewed as a way to do whatever we want with no regard for the King. It is always secondary to his authority over us. As believers we are happy to be his subjects and under his good care. Time alone can be considered a gift from him, especially as we acknowledge that he is primary.
2. Since we live in a kingdom that is not our own, “me time” is really his time.
Since God is creator and owner of everything that exists, even our time must be considered his. The world would have us believe otherwise. The name itself depicts this. It is mine. I have rights to it. I deserve to spend it however I choose. These are thoughts that even my own sinful heart seeks to demand. But Christ has bought us with his blood (1 Cor. 6:19-20). As Christians, we are fully his. Just as our lives are not our own, neither is our time. How we spend time alone must ultimately be how he wants us to spend it.
3. We must take into account the paradoxical nature of God’s kingdom.
Me time insists that if I live for myself, I will benefit. But in God’s kingdom, the way up is down. When the disciples disputed over who is the greatest, Jesus declared the greatest will be the least (Luke 22:26). At other times, he said the first in this world will be last (Matt. 19:30). The humble will be exalted (Matt. 23:12). Giving is better than receiving (Acts 20:35). And dying brings life (Luke 9:24).
The world calls these things foolishness because they do not have eyes of faith. But sadly, I think many Christian moms have also neglected to believe this principle. We get caught up in serving our families more out of obligation than by faith and begin to view mundane tasks as insignificant. If we really believed that God brings eternal rewards for us as we serve by faith, maybe we wouldn’t need alone time as much as we think we do (Matt. 10:42, Col. 3:23-24). Loving our families would become more of a joy instead of a burden. Our hope and sense of fulfillment would be set more on the Lord and his promises, instead of on finding time alone for ourselves.
So, is me time biblical? Given the world’s definition, I wouldn’t exactly say yes. However, time alone can certainly be a kind gift from God, especially as we acknowledge the realities explained above. If he gives you some time to yourself, thank him for it, put your hope in him and use it for his glory.
How? Meditate on the Scriptures. Journal or reflect on how he might be growing you through specific life circumstances. Talk with him about these things. Prayerfully dream of ways he might want to use you in ministry, either more intentionally to your family or to others. Actually minister to others. Have life-giving conversation with a Christian friend. Go for a walk, enjoying the world he gave us. Or, use the creativity he put within you to make something unique. These are all ways to use alone time that honor him and acknowledge his kingship.