In the past few weeks I’ve heard the expression “me time,” over and over. Now this could sound a bit selfish . . . Yet the people saying it are some of the most unselfish people I know! So what’s up with that? Basically, it’s a simple way to say, “I’ve spread myself too thin. If I don’t get some time alone, to unwind and do what I want to do, I’m going to lose it.”
Truth of the matter is; we all need some me time to maintain a healthy attitude. It’s even scriptural. Genesis 1 tells us it took God six days to create our universe. Creation was then complete. Well, almost. The seventh day of creation came quietly and without visible significance. What then makes this day important? Necessary, even. Rest! God “rested from all His work which he had done.” Then He “blessed and sanctified it,” and gave rest as a gift to humanity (Gen 2:3). Blessing and sanctification: we desire both in our lives and yet so often they seem to elude us. In part, because we do not take the need for me time seriously, nor do we understand the inner workings of God’s Spirit to revitalize us through rest.
Creative outlets can serve as an escape from the daily grind, becoming a time of rest for us—no pressure, just pleasure from doing art. It’s good to have at least one creative channel simply for fun, especially if your other talents are used for service, monetary purposes, or if they come with deadlines. The balance is in knowing when art refreshes and when it becomes another form of work.
I talked to a blogger recently who hasn’t written anything new in months and as I tried to encourage her to do so; she said, “Yes, I need to take time out of my busy schedule to write, but even if it’s not good enough to post I need to do it, because writing restores me.” Sometimes art has to be more about refreshing than results. Ultimately rejuvenating our souls and helping us return to our responsibilities with new vigor.
Without me time, fatigue sets in, which not only affects our bodies; passion dissipates, peace becomes elusive, simple tasks seem overwhelming, and the light of God grows dim. When these warning signals emerge, we must heed the call to rest. I learned this the hard way. There came a point in my life where I continually put others and their needs before mine, at the expense of my own health and well-being. I fell into the pattern of good works and felt guilty if I did anything for me. Even after the grip of exhaustion tightened, I still kept busy, pushing myself past physical and emotional limits, doing more than God required. Then the grave reality hit me that if I didn’t choose to change my lifestyle, destruction would inevitably follow. I found that writing, painting, or quilting, along with taking personal time, actually empowered me and renewed my ability to assist others.
I’m sure many of you have laid down your lives for others and that’s an admirable part of Christian living, but it shouldn’t come to the point of destroying your health, your happiness, or most importantly, your witness for Jesus. When we begin to lose our ability to serve the Lord with gladness, we need to step back and pray for guidance. I firmly believe that if we will allow ourselves times of refreshing and occasionally walk away from the front lines of service, in the long run we will serve the Lord, and others, more effectively! God ordained it to be so and He has a purpose for every situation and season in our lives. No detail has been overlooked and His provision includes stillness and contemplation.
Do you find your creative outlet refreshing? Does it help you to keep things in perspective? Being creative is a part of our inherent nature, something God intended for our good. The blessings that come from taking time to create will affect more than the finished product. The strength we gain and the vitality we feel will carry into our daily routines, improve our attitudes, and bless those we interact with on a regular basis.