We all need a little R&R now and then, don’t we? After all, even God rested on the seventh day of the week and included the concept of Sabbath worship and rest as one of the 10 Commandments. While the idea of “me time” can be hotly debated, I think whatever you call it, how much personal “fun time” you carve out is, well, completely personal.
But God sees whether we hold our “me time” with a loose grip, considering it one of God’s good gifts to us, or do we hold it tightly with white knuckles, fighting tooth and nail if someone tries to take it away. When it happens, how do you tend to respond? There seem to be three basic options, and it’s always good to know what they are.
Pouting or Punishing
Once the fight is over, and you’ve lost, you may be tempted (as I often am) to let your loss affect your disposition. The whole misery-loves-company thing is an easy tendency — after all, if you don’t get your fun, no one should. Pouting and punishing often go hand-in-hand, making those around you miserable.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can count the joys you have the opportunity to experience now, instead, and the joys you have to look forward to, another time. Or you could choose to be miserable. Either way, you’re making a choice. As usual, the most selfish choice is also the least enjoyable, for you and others.
Playing the Martyr
Just like the pouting-and-punishing tendency, “playing the martyr” results from a focus on self. Now, we’re not talking about any real martyrdom or persecution, here — we’re talking about having a pity party, feeling sorry for yourself.
Of course, God-glorifying martyrs didn’t complain. Like Paul and Silas, they’d be more likely to sing hymns of praise while they’re in jail. If Paul could learn to be joyful and content even when he lost his freedom, you can do it when you lose your “me time.” Really, you can.
Being a Servant
The words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, are always such a rebuke to me. After being told by an angel that she would bear the Christ child, she didn’t complain; instead, she spoke these words: “Be it unto me as you have said.” The simple humility of those words is so far from my natural tendency. I want details, I want to argue, I want my own way. Mary just wanted God’s way.
Christ, of course, is the ultimate example. Just after receiving the news of his cousin’s horrific death at the hand of Herod, He knew He needed some alone time (Mark 6). He planned to get away from it all for a bit, which seemed to show wisdom. However, when people kept following Him, He didn’t insist on His own plans. Instead, He had compassion on them. After all, He came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28). How about you?
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