There are three kinds of people in the world. The first class is of those who live simply for their own sake and pleasure, regarding Man and Nature as so much raw material to be cut up into whatever shape may serve them.
In the second class are those who acknowledge some other claim upon them—the will of God, the categorical imperative, or the good of society—and honestly try to pursue their own interests no further than this claim will allow. They try to surrender to the higher claim as much as it demands, like men paying a tax, but hope, like other taxpayers, that what is left over will be enough for them to live on. Their life is divided, like a soldier’s or a schoolboy’s life, into time ‘on parade’ and ‘off parade,’ ‘in school’ and ‘out of school.’
But the third class is of those who can say like St Paul that for them ‘to live is Christ.’ These people have got rid of the tiresome business of adjusting the rival claims of Self and God by the simple expedient of rejecting the claims of Self altogether. The old egoistic will has been turned round, reconditioned, and made into a new thing. The will of Christ no longer limits theirs; it is theirs. All their time, in belonging to Him, belongs also to them, for they are His.C.S. Lewis, “Three Kinds of Men” in Present Concerns (New York: HarperOne, 2017), 13-14.
The first category is truly villainous, and thankfully rare. Most of us live in the second class–doing our best to fulfill our duties. Some live (at least intermittently) in the third class.
It’s hard, isn’t it–to not view our obligations to others as mere duty or tax? Many encourage us to “pay ourselves first” in order to not come to the end of all this duty with nothing left to live on. But that too, is a scarcity mindset.
I’m not talking about not taking care of yourself. Far from it. I’m talking about joy–about envisioning God not as a supervisor who makes sure you clock in and clock out, but as a Someone you actually like. Someone who isn’t a Kill-joy or Mall Cop, but Someone whose presence enlarges–Someone who multiplies your joy. Someone who you invite into your leisure–Someone who leisurefies your work. Someone we aren’t anxious to “have a break from”–but feel despair at the thought of not having always with us.
We’re springloaded the wrong way. Bent the wrong way. Fallen. We need Emanuel to heal us. To restore friendship. To take away the sense of God-as-Micromanager. And replace it with God as Father, God as Elder Brother, God as Holy Comforter.
Until the scarcity mindset distinction between “Me time” and “We time” becomes laughable.