Photo By Steve Webel
In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, Adam had abundant “me” time. He could do anything he wanted, all day long, and he had every minute of every day all to himself. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it (at least for a day)? Yet despite all this alone time, he was lonely. In His infinite wisdom, God said that it was not good for him to be alone, and created a helper for him, Eve.
Ever since then, instead of being grateful for the gift of people in our lives, we have been looking to withdraw and get back to that “me” time. In reading through the Gospels, I find it interesting that Jesus Himself never took “me” time except to spend time in prayer with the Father. We don’t read about Him needing to recharge by going to look around at the market, or the old-fashioned version of Home Depot, or the nearest coffee shop to read. We’re told He only withdrew to pray.
As wives and mothers, we can feel very stretched by all the demands pressing in on us. It is very easy to snap when all we want is a few minutes—quiet, and alone—and yet we continue to be bombarded with needs to fulfill. We reach the end of our rope. The rubber-band snaps. To help our perspective in these situations, I think there is much to learn from a day in Jesus’ life.
One day, Jesus received some devastating news: John the Baptist’s head was served to King Herod on a plate. The Bible tells us that “when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself” (Matthew 14:13). He wanted some alone time. So alone, he went to a desolate place. No one would bother him there, right? Wrong.
The Bible tells us that when the crowds heard where he was going, they followed him. When he arrived, instead of being alone in a desolate place, there was a great crowd already awaiting him. Did he snap: “I just want a few minutes alone, people! Come on!” No. He had compassion on them, and even healed their sick. And then they got hungry and needed to be fed too. (The nerve!) The disciples urged Him to send the people away to a village so they could buy food. But Jesus met the need with only five loaves and two fish (and prayer). Only after all their needs were met (the sick healed, their hunger fed), did Jesus finally get some “me” time. He went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
Here’s what I see in this account, and how it relates to us as moms:
Let’s say you get your kids down for a nap. The house is quiet. Ahhh. Finally some time to just sit, without answering the constant questions of a curious four-year old, without breaking up fights, without doing anything. Time to drink some tea, read a book or magazine, or just totally veg. Then you hear the baby crying. End of the “me” time. Are we grumpy? Irritated? Grouchy?
Instead, may I encourage us to follow Christ’s example. We already know Jesus wanted to be alone. Yet when He saw that wasn’t going to happen, instead of snapping at the crowd, or acting kind outwardly but feeling irritated inwardly, He had compassion on them.
Jesus also teaches us that the strength to meet all the needs that press in on us comes from prayer. We constantly read of Him blanketing His day in prayer. He rose early and spent time alone in prayer. At the end of the day, he went by himself to pray. In the Matthew 14 account, He prayed so long, in fact, that the disciples were several miles out in the boat (probably about 3 miles according to the ESV Study Bible). He appeared to the disciples “in the fourth watch of the night,” which would have been between 3:00 and 6:00 AM (since the Roman military measured the night in four watches of three hours each, starting at 6PM). That means Jesus was gone, praying, for about 9 hours.
Instead of thinking we desperately need some “me” time alone to recharge, Jesus shows us what we really need is prayer. His example shows us that prayer should be the first place we turn when we feel pressed. This is where we receive the strength to meet the demands of our day.
I also find it interesting that, while Adam walked with God in the Garden of Eden, the Lord said “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18). We really would be lonely without people in our lives. Even though it takes much effort and endurance to live with them some days and serve them consistently, they are blessings given to us by God—for our good. May we embrace them, and their needs, with joy.