Friday, September 3, 2010

Me Time

'Me time'...what's that?  Is that when I get to mow the lawn, or clean the car or fix the garbage disposal?  Sometimes it feels like being a husband and dad of small kids is all about chores.  I don't even know what I like to do anymore.  I have so little time to do chores that it feels like that's my recreation!  When do I get to 'decompress?'  When do my needs take priority?

What about coming home from work?  I've had a tough day.  I need a break.  Just a few minutes to clear my head and get ready for the evening with two energetic little boys.  Can I just get a few minutes to decompress?  How do we fit that into the schedule?  Mrs. O. seems to need the same thing.  Who gets a break first?  Maybe I'll take the kids for 10 minutes and then she'll take them back for 10 minutes and, this is getting confusing.  If not that, then what?

Recently, we hosted a marriage study at our home.  We read the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.  The book was mediocre, but we came up with a lot of interesting questions like the one about 'me time.'  We never really answered it, though.  Then, a few weeks later I was reading Little E. a Bible story from his Beginner's Bible.  I had been thinking about this issue and talking it over with Mrs. O. so it was on the fore front of my mind.  We were reading the story about Jesus feeding the crowd of 5000.

In the Beginner's Bible, the story begins by saying that Jesus and his disciples were tired.  They were looking for a place to rest.  They got into a boat and crossed the lake, but the crowds followed them.  Jesus took pity on the crowds.  He healed.  He taught.  Then, it was getting late.  The disciples suggest--tactfully, I'm sure--that Jesus send the people away to fill their bellies.  Jesus responds by telling his disciples that they are to find something to feed all these people.

Where am I going with this?  Well, it struck me that Jesus was tired.  Tired enough that he crossed a lake to find a quiet place to rest.  In fact, Jesus had just learned that John the Baptist had just been executed.  He was wiped out, sad and needing to be alone.  But when he got to the other side of the lake, he saw the people and had pity on them.  He served first and rested later.

How can we do this in real life, though?  How did He operate like that?  Well, here's my theory: He made a habit of spending solitary time in His favorite places.  He had regular 'me time' and He could count on it.  He kept His 'me time' tank full.  Try it.  This has worked wonders for me.  I've been getting up at 5 am for quite a while now.  I don't need to do that in order to get ready for work.  Six or 6:30 would be plenty of time, but I get that time to read, blog like I'm doing right now, check email, browse through the garden for harvest or pestilence, and enjoy a cup of coffee.  It makes all the difference for my day.

Now, when I get home from work I don't have an expectation that I'm going to get to check email, or write another post.  I don't plan on working in the garden or reading more of whatever book I'm working on reading.  My reading time is scheduled.  I have created for myself, an expectation that I will get to do those things in the tranquil hours of the morning.  When you have 1 1/2 hours of peaceful silence in which to read your favorite book, you won't even want to try to do it any other time!

Note to self: make time for 'me time.'

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