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I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Years ago, when I wrote The Me Time Myth, I never expected the backlash I received. I felt the ones who gave me a good tongue-lashing (even going so far as to suggest my children will hate me one day) truly did not hear my heart in the matter. I felt terribly misunderstood, but chose to avoid strife and stand quietly by my message. So, bringing up this topic again is something I do with trepidation and trembling before the Lord.
As I see it, most homeschooling moms of many fall into 3 camps when it comes to the all-encompassing term “Me Time”. They either live for it, piously deny themselves of it, or feel guilty if they get it. Very few seem to have a healthy view of this hotly debated issue.
Today, I hope to shed some light on my original intentions with The Me Time Myth as well what I see from Scripture as the way we should approach this topic.
Me Time shouldn’t be the air we breathe.
I once overheard a woman tell her friends she could not live without her daily excursions to the gym where she could be without children and in her own space with her own thoughts. Suggesting you cannot live without Me Time is absurd and altogether frightening.
As mothers, we are called to love our husband and love our children. (Titus 2:4) Some suggest you cannot truly love these people if you are not first loving yourself. They talk of filling yourself first so you can fill others. But nowhere do I see that precedent in the Bible. In fact, I see the opposite. I see Scriptures about giving of yourself and caring for others ahead of your own needs.
Me Time should never be our life line. It should never be something we live for or try to get more of. It isn’t commanded by Scripture and should not be taught as such.
Me Time martyrs
However, there are those who staunchly proclaim their superiority because they have NEVER done anything that even remotely resembles Me Time. They decry anyone who goes to women’s retreats or on vacations sans children. They rail against everything from bubble baths to curling irons to Starbucks coffee.
It’s not the denying yourself I have a hard time stomaching. It’s the pride. (Galatians 6:4) If you have to tell everyone how noble you are, are you really noble?
The Guilty Moms Club
My heart goes out to these moms. They are trying to do the right thing. They truly love their families, but they are weary and need encouragement and strength to keep going. At the very heart of the matter, they love homeschooling, they love being around their children, but they have off-days, off-weeks, and yes, sometimes even off-years. They long for a better life. They long for a peaceful home surrounded by happy faces and cheerful hearts, but they just cannot seem to make it work.
So, they hide.
They escape into Me Time every chance they get. But they know it doesn’t satisfy and they feel guilty…oh so guilty.
A healthy view of me
The Christian mother has an opportunity to die to self daily as she learns to love her husband and children. The Christian homeschooling mother of many often finds this opportunity amplified. She may even feel as though she is forced to die to self because of all the needs that cry out for her every moment.
The answer to her struggle for more time, more energy, more joy is not to have less children or to stop homeschooling or to immerse herself in Me Time.
The answer is worship.
Romans 12:1 – the verse at the top of this post – sums up why Me Time is a myth. The sacrifices I make should never be about me. The time I spend away from my family should never be about me. The causes I support, the blog posts I write, the friendships I make should never be about me. They should always be about Him.
I can carve out time away from my children for a coffee with my husband because I am there to rejoice in a marriage that daily shows the goodness of the Lord. I can spend a weekend at a conference with friends because I’m there to proclaim the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. I can even take a bubble bath with candles and soft music because I am there to pray.
Moms, I want you to know it is okay to take care of yourself. It is okay to stay at home and it is okay to go out. It is okay to exercise and okay to take a break. The thing you must always keep at the forefront of whatever it is you do is that this is NOT about YOU.
This is worship.