Is taking time for yourself selfish? There are different schools of thought on this. Some believe that Christians should never put the focus on their own personal needs. Our job is to serve others. Others believe that we need time to rest, quoting the scripture verse about how even God rested on the 7thday.
What I really believe helps us determine if we are being selfish is what the motives are behind it. If we decide that we are burnt out on ministry, are we stepping down because we truly are burnt out? Or are we stepping down because we don’t like reporting to a particular person? Are we tired of meeting the needs of others?
Are we decreasing church attendance because we want more family time? Or are we decreasing church attendance because we really want to sit in front of the television?
Rest can mean different things for different people. Rest for one might be sleep, while rest for another might mean reading. Since rest means different things for everyone it is important to understand the motivation and reason behind taking time for yourself.
As a wife, mother to three children, full-time writer, Sunday school teacher, Bible study teacher and women’s ministry worker I know that I need times of rest. My rest may be different than your rest. But if I keep going and going, giving and giving but don’t stop to take care of myself, I will get burned out.
When I am burned out, I am not so nice. So do I continue being unkind to those around me? Or do I recognize that something needs to give and I need to take a step back? In this instance I don’t really see it as being selfish. I see it as being wise.
Check your motivation behind every time you feel that you need to rest, especially if you are talking about a long-term rest known as a sabbatical. A sabbatical is stepping away from something for a period of time. This can last for days, week or months.
You will know if taking time for yourself is selfish if it is all about you. If taking time for yourself will impact others in a positive way, if it provides spiritual growth or if it is what God has directed…you really can’t go wrong.