Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Hospitality for the Rest of Us: Me Time
Look at you, out there meeting people, making new friends, having guests over. You're seeing some changes, your family seems content and yet for some reason, you really want to snap someone's head off and punt it into the next county. I may have a less violent solution for you.
We hear a lot about "me time" from the media. Mom's are calling for it so they can down a couple of bottles of wine with friends in peace. Men are building man caves so they get away from their families to watch the game without interruption. It has officially run amuck.
I'm not promoting pity parties once you act the brink of sanity. I'm going to encourage you to do one small thing a day. Spend some time alone, well preferably, spend some time alone with Jesus every day. It doesn't need to be a lot and it definitely doesn't have to be formal, but it will make a difference. The other vital thing about me time is that it cuts into your time, not your families. It's not really me time if the only people sacrificing something are others. You need to be able to give up something in order to have it. I hear you, "but I don't have time!" Let me challenge that, and you decide.
Scenario 1 very small needy children who have not discovered the joys of either sleeping late or going to bed early.
I had one of those. She loved to get up at six, six thirty at latest. In fact, my morning me time started when she was in this stage and she proved a challenge. The first morning, I got up at six and snuck down stairs, only to hear her calling for me in her crib. The next morning, I decided to get up earlier, there she was. Finally, determination set in and I made a pact with myself that regardless of how early it needed to be, I was going to do it. The next morning at 5:30, I woke up and had some me time. I had to give up sleep, but that half hour made all the different in my days.
Scenario 2 older children that are gone all day and I only get to see them in the evening before they scatter to their rooms for the night.
Some options include getting up early like previously stated, creating some me time space in your car while you drive, at lunch for a few minutes before you chow down, at night after they have gone to bed. If you are in a busy house, I would recommend either having a me time chair that anyone can use and knows that's its purpose so folks aren't bothered while there or getting a special candle. With a candle, you can take it anywhere and people can see it as a sign that you're by yourself for the moment.
I feel sure there are other reasons to be busy but the truth is we all like to make excuses. We sometimes prefer to snap people's heads off. Me time is not going to change that. What it can do, if you pursue it, is to give you time to let yourself be real. You have to be hospitable towards yourself. You need to create times and places where you can be honesty and ugly cry if needed. Sometimes your me time will need some outside help such as therapy and retreats. Let that happen. You're important, take time from your life and let yourself be. Don't perform, don't study, don't worry, just be, even if it's just two minutes, it's worth it. Be kind to yourself. Be generous with your emotions, let yourself feel.
Feelings get a bad wrap in this day and age. I'm a firm believer that emotions aren't bad, but sometimes what we do with them is. Yelling threats at my family because dinner is served and they aren't at the table to enjoy it isn't the best use of emotions. And honestly, I get that way when I don't use my me time well.
That's part of the pitfall of me time. You can become so engrained into your routine that you don't take the time and space to really be real. It's not a checklist so much as a laziness. It's easier in the moment to not address what's there being unsaid. It's easier in the moment to pretend that the masks are the reality. But it always comes out and then you start over. I don't share this to discourage you, but to let you know that me time is not a magic elixir fix all. It is instead a useful tool to help you be real.