Most people think that focusing on yourself is selfish, even though focusing on you first should come as no surprise to many of us. We live in a self-first society where the world’s advice is to do whatever makes you happy. Many live life according to this modern-day thought process of living. The Bible says that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, with the second being to love your neighbors as yourself.
While we don’t want to be self-swallowed and consumed by today’s selfish culture, how do we learn to love God and others while balancing loving ourselves, as the Bible says? We’re meant to love others, but does that mean we can also prioritize time for ourselves? Let’s examine Jesus’ life as He’s our most remarkable example. We all know that Jesus loved others well: the sinners, the poor and all the people that society told Him not to love. He loved others so much that He sacrificed His life on the cross so we could have eternal life, as John 3:16 states.
With Jesus being one to love others well, we all see that Jesus prioritized time for Himself, which helped Him in loving others well. He typically withdrew by himself to pray, as detailed in Luke 6:12. Some verses say He withdrew from the crowd to lonely places to focus on Himself and His time with God. Jesus went to clear His mind and realign Himself with God while realigning Himself with His purpose. He withdrew from His closest people, including family and friends, and away from the distractions and noises of the world. He could’ve easily gotten distracted from His mission if He never focused on prioritizing time for Himself.
Jesus removed Himself from all of the noise and busyness of others to spend time with God to be everything God wanted Him to be. Time for yourself is essential, and we should prioritize it as an active practice in our lives. Here are some reasons why you should prioritize time for yourself as Jesus did.
It reattaches you to the Vine.
John 15:1-2 tells us that Jesus is the Vine and God is the gardener. God takes away every branch in Jesus that doesn’t bear fruit, and God prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it may bear more fruit. Jesus called Himself the true Vine, using the branches and vine as an analogy to highlight how a believer must abide in Him as the branch abides with a vine. Without prioritizing time for yourself to receive life from the Vine, we, as branches, produce no fruit and are good for nothing.
As each day goes by, if we’re not careful, one branch and fruit can get knocked down by the world, and that’s why it’s essential to prioritize time for yourself to ensure we’re always reattaching to the Vine, the Source of all. We won’t want to become so detached from the Vine, living an unsatisfactory, fruitless life. Being attached to the life-giving Vine, you must prioritize time for yourself to detach from the world, cut off the branches and things that aren’t producing fruit, and reattach to the Vine.
It realigns you with God’s purpose for your life.
Proverbs 16:9 tells us that the Lord directs our steps. Are you going through the motions, making plans for today, tomorrow, and months to come? Have you spent time alone with God, asking Him to direct your steps based on the plans you’ve made? Without creating space and time for yourself, how do you know if God hasn’t redirected His course for you and has something better in mind? With Jesus withdrawing to pray and establishing his time alone, He was able to stay aligned with God and His purpose and plan for His life without distractions influencing Him.
If you haven’t stopped to prioritize time for yourself and realign yourself with God’s purpose for your life and not your own, then you should prioritize that time. One of the enemy’s most significant plots in life is to put us on autopilot, especially when things are going well, and we forget God’s mission for us and to check in with Him. Prioritizing you-time lets you take a step back and realign yourself with God’s purpose for your life.
It gives you security.
Without prioritizing time for yourself, it’s easy to listen to the world’s voices. We live in an insecure world but serve a secure God. However, if we don’t prioritize time for ourselves to find and establish ourselves in God’s security, we can get sucked into a world of uncertainty and insecurity. From the moment we wake up, we’re flooded with emails and notifications of the latest news and updates to social media, and the world we live in fills us with an overload of information. We typically walk in this world aimlessly with no certainty and secure footing because uncertainty surrounds us.
Prioritizing time for yourself allows you to have that quiet time of stillness in God’s presence and truth in the Bible, which reestablished our foundation and house on solid ground. Without you-time, the world can feed you lies and and fear, throw you for a loop, and before you know it, your house has been destroyed with broken pieces of insecurity. Prioritizing you-time lets you build your house in the security of God and not the insecurities of the world that abound us.
It restores other areas of your life.
When we’re focused elsewhere and not prioritizing time with God, we’re less restored because we’re trying to do it in our strength. The less whole we are, the less we can love others wholly. We try to co-exist with challenging people or co-workers. We try to control our kids or fix marital disputes how we see fit. Sometimes, things we’re holding inside explode to others in our actions and words because we didn’t spend the time to wrestle out our worries and complaints with God first. The more you-time you can spend with God, the more restored you’ll become in your soul, and it’ll pour out to all areas of your life.
Prioritizing time for yourself isn’t selfish. Everyone may rely on you, but the Bible shows us that Jesus made sure to prioritize time for Himself to ensure he was walking in God’s purpose for Him. His life was so God-focused that He wouldn’t allow anyone to distract Him or get in His way.