Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Making the Most of "Me Time"

A few weeks ago, I wrote this blog post in an attempt to describe how I, a self-proclaimed introvert, often feel in social situations.  I was blown away by how many people seemed to relate to the post, so I decided then and there to do a couple posts on what it looks like to be a Christian introvert.

In my last post, I discussed how introverts turn inward for energy. After spending time with people, they crave "me time" to think, process, rejuvenate.

In this post, we'll dig deeper into this "me time" and try to figure out how to best utilize this time to glorify God.  

So what exactly does "me time" look like?

For me, "me time" can take many shapes and forms. My "me time" usually involves one or several of the following: eating, reading, crafting, singing, thinking, praying, writing, facebooking, pondering, shopping, processing, or Netflixing.

You may have noticed that more than one of those activities takes place in my mind. One of the great benefits of "me time" (in my experience) is that allows me to think, ponder, process, and constantly take stock of where I'm at in life. Because I spend a great deal of time inside my own head, I am keenly aware of my desires, my sin, my passions, my pain. This awareness can lead to a host of good things, but if I'm not careful, it can also lead to great sin.

Awareness of my desires can lead to death or life (James 1:15, Psalm 145:19).

Awareness of my sin can lead to condemnation or repentance (Romans 8:1, 1 John 1:9).

Awareness of my passions can lead to selfishness or selflessness (1 Thessalonians 4:3-9).

And awareness of my pain can lead to bitterness or faithfulness (Job 2:9).

How, then, do I partake in the goodness while guarding against the sin?

By looking upward, not inward.  

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2).

By focusing my thoughts on things above, not things below.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).

By being ever-mindful of the gospel.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, andto live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14).

Here's the thing...for the Christian, there's really no such thing as "me time."  I'll say it again to let it sink in...

For the Christian, there's really no such thing as "me time."

Christ purchased us at a great price so that he could make us his own, and as his own, we are in turn called to be "living sacrifices" that are "holy and acceptable to God" (Romans 12:1).

My "me time" is truly "His time." 

Every word I write, every thought I think, every breath I take belongs to Him and Him alone. And if I posture my heart in this way, I can rest assured that I am making the most of my time...His time.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Five Great Resources to Prepare Your Heart for Easter

I don't know about you, but holidays have a tendency to sneak up on me.  And if I'm not careful, my heart can be left cold and unprepared.

So for the past few years, I have purposed to prepare my heart, my home, and my table for Easter...the most joyous day on the Christian calendar!

If you'd like to join me in preparing for the Easter season, here are five great resources that God has used to minister to me and my family:

1) Treasuring God in Our Traditions (Chapter 9 - Especially Easter) by Noel Piper

Noel Piper has some great suggestions for helping your family focus on Christ during the Easter season. We have incorporated lenten advent candles in our home, as well as her devotional entitled "Lenten Lights." As the kids grow older, we may end up incorporating some of her more kid-friendly suggestions as well.

Our lenten lights all lit on Easter morning because "He is Risen!"

2) Lenten Lights by Noel Piper

Eight biblical devotionals to prepare for Easter (to be used weekly during lent OR daily during Holy Week).

3) Three Meaningful Easter Activities for Kids by Courtney of Women Living Well 

I love how Courtney is always seeking new ways to show Christ to her kiddos.  I can't wait to introduce resurrection eggs and easter story cookies to my little ones someday.  Confession...before we even had kids, I found myself making her resurrection rolls on Easter Sunday.  Such a beautiful visual reminder of our Savior's glorious resurrection!

Photo from Women Living Well

4) "Risen" album by Sovereign Grace Music

As a singer, God often ministers to me through music, so I'm always on the lookout for good, theologically-sound worship music.  This album is specifically designed to get us thinking about the Risen King!  Straight from the album cover...

"'He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.'

These words, spoken by an angel to the women at Jesus’s tomb, changed history forever. Christ’s resurrection was more than a display of raw supernatural power. It was the single event that assures us that his payment for our sins has been accepted. God’s wrath is satisfied. Death is defeated. The powers of darkness are overcome. Sin’s dominion has been broken. And the life of the age to come has dawned.

The songs on this album celebrate these realities, experienced and enjoyed by all who place their faith and hope in Jesus Christ."

5) Holy Week Series by Justin Taylor

A few years ago, Justin Taylor (Gospel Coalition blogger, editor at Crossway and elder at New Covenant Bible Church) put together what he called "an attempted harmony/chronology of the words and actions of Jesus in the final week of his pre-resurrection life."   Each day, he walks you through what actually happened on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, etc.  In the past, I have enjoyed this walk through the gospels leading up to Resurrection Sunday, and I really like that he's done the legwork for me!

Do you have any resources to add?  Sound off in the comments section!