Wednesday, July 20, 2011

As yourself...

I asked my pastor his take on this whole "me time" and putting yourself first culture...and here's what he had to say:

I think the Bible comes at this from the presumption of "me first" thinking. So when it commands us to serve others, it does so from the assumption that we naturally and usually put ourselves first. Note how the great command is stated: "love your neighbor AS your self". The call to husbands, "love your wives AS your own bodies". And the rationale, from Eph 5:29, "after all, no one ever hated their own body, but feeds and cares for it..." And from Phil 2:4 Paul says, "Each of you should look NOT ONLY to your interests but also the interests of others." Again, the assumption is, we have selfish interests, and these are valid - you love yourself, you feed yourself, you look after your own interests. This not condemned - now, do that for others, the Bible says.

The idea of "me time" or putting yourself first, often comes as a reaction to a dysfunctional application of the Bible's call to serve others. In fact, if you look inside it, a lot of serving others is compulsive and co-dependent, and thus is fundamentally SELFISH in nature. IE, I serve to the point of exhaustion and overwork so that I get ___(fill in the blank). So we're back again to this idea of loving others AS you would yourself. 

You WANT people to nurture and care for themselves. The people who don't, become a drain on the system. They expect you to work for them and provide for them etc. They are adult children. Note some of our homeless crowd - they don't love themselves at all, and thus take on the dependency of children... 'fix me!" It would be more loving of others, if they did what God considers a fundamental obligation of stewardship: care for the first life God gave you to care for - you! Thus it is loving of OTHERS to care for myself, giving myself proper physical, emotional and spiritual care. It is a FIRST responsibility from which i can meet all others.

Of course, in the extreme, care for myself can lead to selfish preoccupation and that's why God says, "not just you, but your neighbor too". So "me time" is in one sense assumed by Scripture, and thus usually the abuse of "me time" is the main problem addressed. There is a goodness in looking after your own interests (which Paul never condemns, Phil 2:4) and if you don't, ironically, there is a sense in which you are imposing on another's interests, thus not really loving them. (Think of the toll a haggard 'over serving' spouse takes on their family) And usually, there's a selfish reason behind self neglect.

So we're back again to this: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Rick Thiessen)

Not bad, eh?

Like I said about complaining, ultimately in my book, it all comes down to your attitude. And mine has been in serious need of adjusting. It's not that "me time" is bad or evil. It's that demanding it and refusing to go without it, isn't biblical either.

It's all about your heart!! Are you loving God? Are you loving yourself? Are you loving others? Without love you are just making a loud and obnoxious noise! Or in my world, you're just a whiny, grumpy wife and mother:)

So what I need to do, is continue to ground myself in God's word so that I know how to love myself and others. Thankfully, God does not hold back wisdom, help and guidance from those that seek Him!

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