Those words are written on a plaque that is propped on my bookshelf in my home office. Great words, but I have not been so great at practicing the art of solitude – just spending time alone with God. No agenda, no music, no set study, just being quiet…
Noise, lots of noise.
Most of my life consists of being around a lot of people. Naturally that creates a lot of noise. I am a mom to four kiddos ages 12 to 22 which means each child has a group of friends and noise makers. My husband and I love that our house is the place where the kids like to hang out. We have tried to make our doors the open doors where all are welcome. On any given day you will find a group of teenage or college age guys at our kitchen table or in the basement along with a group of loud giggling middle school girls. I have joked they are like locust in the kitchen. They step in and the next minute all that is left is wrappers and crumbs. Teenagers have a different time table of noise too. Just as I am winding down my day their noise level starts to reach the highest octave.Solitude, is there such a thing for moms?
I awoke early today before anyone else, even the dogs were still sleeping quietly. I tip-toed to the coffee maker scared if I made too much noise someone would wake and join me. Selfish? Maybe, but I just wanted some time to myself. Most of us spend so much of our lives doing, striving, struggling, coping, trying to meet our goals and deadlines. Being outgoing, being available going here and there and everywhere that we become fragmented and less productive, less, just less.
I made my cup of coffee and sat out on our back deck watching the bunnies nibble away at my flower garden. Soon I was joined by a few hummingbirds and various other feathered friends eating from the feeders in the yard. I closed my eyes and just listened, taking in every sound, and then the sound of silence. It is overwhelming when you really become a part of the silence. It is uncomfortable for most of us just to sit and be. I began to pray, not reading from a book or doing a set devotion but just praying from my heart. I sat for a few moments with my eyes closed, snuggled beneath a blanket in the chill of the early morning. Alone, refreshed.
We all tend to schedule time for others, for work and chores and various obligations but how often do we schedule some time just to be alone? My answer is seldom.
Why is that?
I walked back into the house and heard alarm clocks going off and the dryer telling me it was time to retrieve the laundry and the dogs were stretching and ready to be fed. A brief moment of refreshment that didn’t last long, but… a perspective change happened. No one else is going to give me my own quiet time, that is for me to create. I stepped forward into my day with a renewed sense of the importance of finding time to be alone.
The rest of the day was filled with lots of people and noise and obligations and I enjoyed every moment. However, tonight I set my alarm 15 minutes earlier than normal just so I can start my tomorrow in solitude. I have learned that quiet sacred time does not just happen – it must be created.
Be still and know that I am God
How do you carve out time for solitude?
Wife to Rusty
Mom of 4
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Associate Director of Women’s Ministry at Mission Hills Church