Me time. What is it? It sounds selfish, right?
Especially when it’s ingrained in your spiritual Christian psyche that life is “not about me”. Which is true in many aspects. Life is about God our Creator and is to be lived for His glory. And life is about loving other people.
So if life is boiled down to two rules: 1. Love God and 2. Love others. Where does love for self fit in? Or does it fit in at all?
Doesn’t a focus on me instead of God or others distract from the mission and even destroy it? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends.
This is not the kind of ME that Brian Regan talks about. That kind of me is appropriately called the Me monster. [watch Brian Regan’s Me monster here or below]
Brian is hilarious, but he brings up a good point. And beyond it, I think we all have a little “Me Monster” living inside of us. A desire to talk about ourselves, our greatness and display our pride. Or the reverse, talk down about ourselves and our weakness and display our lack of self-worth for the same goal: attention, praise, pity, noticing and for others to build us up. I’ll be the first to admit I’m the worst me monster I know.
But this is not the type of ME focus I’m talking about. There’s another kind of ME. So here’s a few reasons why I believe having ME time is crucial for the living a more missional life (living more intentionally on mission for God).
Jesus Had Me Time
It’s true. Jesus, the most selfless person in history intentionally set aside his own ME time. Numerous times in the Bible, Jesus is retreating from the very people He was called to love and sent to die for. One of the most explicit texts in the Bible is from Luke 5:15-16:
But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. (Luke 5:15-16 ESV)
Jesus, Father time in the flesh, needed solitary time. This is a man who surrounded himself with people nearly all the time. Or better yet, people surrounded themselves with Jesus. He was God Creator, but He was also man Savior. The one who created all things and humans needed time away from the very people made in His image. He needed alone time. This is powerful and shocking really.
And this text in Luke gives what I can see are two reasons as to WHY Jesus would often “withdraw”.
- Large crowds were gathering because news was spreading far and wide about Jesus.
- To be alone so he could pray to His Father in heaven.
Even Jesus got overwhelmed with great crowds who had great needs. Imagine all those people with so many needs; many of which were serious and immediate. Leprosy. Sickness. Bleeding. Blindness. Deaf. Mute. Lame. Crippled. Possessed. Dead. Doubting. Afraid. This must have taken a toll on his humanity and his time.
It’s not explicit, but it seems implied that Jesus needed space and time away from people so he could pray and rest in solitude. And he took advantage of his own needs, often. If Jesus did this while living on mission for His father and others, how much more do we need it?
Jesus needed space and time away from people so he could pray and rest in solitude.
We Live in an Obsessed-With-Busyness Culture
I feel busy most days. Too busy. I am a husband. I am a dad of two girls. I own and run a family business full-time. I work part-time with my local church community. I host a podcast show in my “free time”. I try to network and build relationships in the city. I meet with men for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and more. I go to staff meetings every week. I lead worship every other week. I sometimes teach bible study for a small group. Oh yeah, and I’m supposed to be the servant-leader of my home which means I have projects, tasks, chores, things-to-fix ALL THE TIME. And in between all that I need time to sleep, eat, shower, travel, rest, work and more. Oh, and I’m a hopeless romantic entrepreneur and idea guy which means there’s an ever-flowing faucet of thoughts and ideas flowing in my head throughout the day. Those ideas distract me and overwhelm me. So I need time to process them and do something with them. Oh yeah, I’m too busy.
See what I mean? Can you relate? Or do you know someone like this? We go go go and rarely slow down or stop. Imagine living in a world of only green lights. It would be a disaster! Yellow (slow down) and Red (stop) exist for a reason. Sometimes, it’s just best to not go.
We are all shaped by our culture in ways we’re probably not even aware of yet. Our culture is moving at a lightning speed pace. And it’s a pace that most Americans can’t effectively and peacefully manage. We think we’re managing, but we’re not. We’re all hyper-connected, always on, over-notified, tired, worn down. We’re too busy to even notice how busy we are.
We’re too busy to even notice how busy we are.
We’re nearly 2,000 years removed from Jesus’ culture. We’re light years busier than they were. The question is not how do we live at this pace. The question, are we truly living at this pace? And are we living well? We’ve got the quantity of life down pretty good. But I wonder how we’re doing at quality of life?
We need solitude. And not just solitude for solitude’s sake. But on purpose solitude. One that truly recharges us. Revitalizes us. Reinvigorates our whole being. Jesus sought time away from the crowds. And he did so for the purpose of communion with His Father. A reconnecting with who and what mattered most. Then he returned to his busy life on mission.
My Me Time Story
My dad has a lot of one-liners. Many I love, but a few are my all-time favorites. One sticks out: “We don’t make time, we take time.” It sounds cliche but it’s true. And I’ve been taking time for me time since 2009. I started our family business with my wife, dad and mom in 2008. I also helped launch a church from my living room that grew to over a 100 people in just a short period. My wife had our first child in 2008. We build our first house in 2007. We moved to our new home in 2009. In the course of two years we built a house, sold it, moved into a new one, renovated it, started a business, planted a church, had a baby and were preparing to transition my wife to be a full-time stay at home mom. Whew, we had a rough time managing our time.
The concept of ME time was foreign to me. One of my best friends, Rob Wilkerson introduced it to me. I owe it all to him. He gave me language and a framework for it. He modeled it for me. He showed me how to do it and to take advantage of it. He persuaded me and showed me why I needed it. Since 2009, I’ve seen the value and need for a personal, persistent and purposeful ME time (is that a future blog title? Sorry, I can’t help it).
I’ve seen the value and need for a personal, persistent and purposeful ME time.
My ME times look different every time. I do different things. I go to different places at different times. I do it in different ways. The point is, I get alone by myself. Sometimes, wait for it, I even turn off…..deep breath…..inhale…..exhale…..my phone! Yes, it’s true. It’s scary, but it’s true. We know very little in our culture of solitude, peace and quiet, silence. Again, the point is not who, where, when, how, what but WHY. The times I’ve made my ME time regular have been the most fulfilling. I can’t describe what it’s like to have dedicated, carved out intentional time to recharge. Time to think. Time to actually hear my own thoughts above the crowd, the noise and the busyness of life. It’s priceless.
I can’t describe what it’s like to have….time to actually hear my own thoughts above the crowd, the noise and the busyness of life.
Not just my own thoughts, but silence and solitude to hear God. To “hear” His voice. To pray and actually listen for a response.
You need ME time. You do. You’re not superhuman. You need connection with self and away from the crowd. You need to be in tune with who you are deep down. You need time to process, ponder, meditate, pontificate. Get alone more often. And in the solitude listen. Seek out your Creator for peace and rest. Rest from people. Peace from chaos. Rest from running. Time to catch your breath.
My next post along this ME time focus will be, “4 Reasons Why We Don’t Take ME Time”!