I thought I deserved me time. Everyone told me I did.
“You should get your nails done.”
“Just buy yourself a cup of coffee.”
“Just do a little shopping.”
“You’ll feel better if you can have a night to yourself.”
And all those things are nice and were said by well-meaning people. Sometimes even by close friends or family in a moment of noticing I was overwhelmed or tired or certainly hadn’t showered in recent days.
Heck, I would say those things to myself! I would think, “Ugh if I could just get a night to myself, I’d feel refreshed.” I believed that “me time” would be the solution to all my mommy exhaustion.
Don’t get me wrong… me time is good. Alone time is refreshing. (Parents, if you can give your spouse an hour to themselves, do it!!!! Or if you stay home with your kiddos, offer to have a friend’s kids for the morning and give her a couple hours off.)
BUT, WHAT IF ME TIME DOESN’T COME?
What if you go from holidays to snowed in to everyone passing around the kind of green-snot-producing virus that you can’t drop your kids off anywhere to your husband going out of town to the kids naps not quite lining up so you can never leave the house?
Or what if you are working 50 hours a week and trying to squeeze in any time you can get with your littles?
What if you’re a single mom?
What if you get your me time, but come home to chaos?
Or what if you make dinner like this several days a week for 3 years in a row? (or 1 or 5 or 10?)
I think our default is to just mope until we get something that tides you us with temporary happiness, be it a mani pedi or a night alone at Starbucks.
Have a pity party in the corner, grow increasingly irritable with your kids, take it out on your spouse until he says, “Honey do you need some alone time?”
Here’s the thing though: you don’t live differently from default mode on accident. A life better than default has to be on purpose.
You don’t end up with the promotion or the accomplished dreams or the 4.0 on accident. And you don’t end up a joyful, grace-filled, patient mom just by getting a mani pedi once a month or treating yourself to a girls night out every so often.
WHEN WE RELY ON ANYTHING BESIDES THE GRACE OF GOD, WE WILL GROW WEARY.
Me time is great, but its relief is temporary, and its happiness is fleeting.
And when the coffee is gone or the manicure has chipped away, your joy doesn’t have to drain away too.
Let’s choose rely on something bigger and stronger than ourselves. Or rather, Someone.
Most days, relying on the Lord is a choice. It’s a matter of waking up, and choosing that the joy of the Lord is my strength today (Neh 8:10), not the promise of my next moment alone. If there is no moment alone today, or my mommy-time gets cancelled because someone gets sick, or he gets stuck late at work, I choose joy anyway.
You can choose to do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Phil 4:13)
You can choose to ask for wisdom from the God who gives generously to all. (James 1:2-8)
And, you can know that He gives grace upon grace. (John 1:16)
Plant your feet on the Solid Rock, and rise up with wings to live above default. To flourish where you are right now. (Isa. 40:27-31)
Write those verses down on post-its and stick ’em all over your kitchen, momma. Because making this choice isn’t natural. When the Lord first taught this to me, I had to re-remind myself approximately 103 times per day.
But a couple years and a couple babies later, choosing to focus joy in Christ rather than on the absence of me time is an increasingly natural rhythm in my everyday mom life.
Of course, I still get caught up in feeling frustrated that things aren’t going my way. Of course I still feel maxed out and tired some nights. And of course I still take every chance I get at me time.
But, by God’s grace, relying on Him instead of on”me time” has become more of a reflex. I’ve seen His faithfulness to provide in every area of our lives time and again. I’ve experienced His grace flowing to our home in the big things and the little things. And though many things in day-to-day life are mundane at best or exhausting, heartbreaking and tragic at worse, choosing to hope in the Lord is an option. One that will not disappoint or put you to shame. (Rom 5:1-5)
Lean into the joy of the Lord, today. What are you relying on that you need to rely on Him for instead?
Ask God to fill you with His spirit and give you supernatural grace today. And then do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
His faithfulness is great and his mercies are new every morning… even if you have to microwave your coffee 7 times to drink it hot.