When We Are Silent Part Five: Finding My Quiet Place
Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four
Well, we’ve been discussing solitude for a few weeks now. And from your comments, it’s clear you see the need for it, but have a difficult time putting it into practice.
I totally get that.
I’ve spent much of the last ten years trying to develop and maintain the discipline of solitude. With every addition to our family, moving our home or moving a kid through a developmental milestone, I’ve got to reorient my quiet time.
Some seasons have been more challenging than others. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle. Sometimes it feels like more trouble than it’s worth. Sometimes it feels self-indulgent.
I’ve come to realize that I set the emotional thermostat in our house. Where Mommy goes, so goes the family. Therefore, my inner peace is of utmost importance if I desire an atmosphere of peace in our home—which I do.
Therefore, taking time for solitude—time to wait in silence on God to allow Him to speak to my heart, and be filled with wisdom and strength—is not an option. It’s a deliberate action on my part. But one that pays high dividends—namely, in the ability to hear God’s voice.
I know life is loud. People are busy, bombarded, stressed and stretched.
Perfection is not possible. And if it were, it certainly couldn’t be reduced to a three-point “How-To” list.
1. Blog entries read much more smoothly when things are numbered
2. Goals appear more attainable when they are broken up in list-form
3. Checking things off a list makes us feel oh, so productive
4. Even an irrelevant list like this seems credible, simply because it’s a list
5. See! I can even add another number here and it seems really important
So at the risk of sounding completely trite, I am going to give you a few tips I’ll call
Finding Your Place of Solitude
(Loosely adapted from Richard J. Foster’s book, The Celebration of Discipline—emphasis on ‘loosely’)
1. Look for small moments in the day. Whether you have a house full of kids or spend your days at work (or both!), recognizing small moments can be challenging. We all get them, though. It’s just a matter of seizing them when they show up. Here are some places to “look”:
a. Get up before the rest of the family or stay up after they go to bed
b. Take a few minutes and watch the sun rise or sun set
c. Go outside and breathe in the fresh air, noticing the details of creation
d. Turn off the radio when you drive
e. Keep the TV off when you are home
f. If your kids are too old to nap, send them into their room for an hour so everyone has some quiet time
g. Take a walk alone during lunch
h. Drive to a park and eat lunch in your car or on a bench
i. And if all else fails, turn on the washer and dryer and go sit on the laundry room floor…Don’t laugh—I’ve done this.
to me, they add instant ambiance to any room. Let others know this is your quiet place so they won’t disturb you.
a. A chair or a room
b. A porch swing or park bench
c. A beach, a lake, or the mountains
d. And if all else fails, the laundry room
3. If you are anything like me, you’ll finally carve out a time of silence, and a hundred things will rush into your head that you need to do and cannot forget. Not very conducive for hearing God’s voice, eh? For this reason I do this:
a. Try to remember paper and a pen. That way, as things come into my mind, I can quickly jot them down and immediately get back to meditating on God.
b. Refuse to answer the phone or the door
c. Keep my Bible close by, so I can control my thoughts and God can speak to me through His word
d. Keep my journal with me, so I can document what I think God is saying
e. Be forgiving of myself. This is a discipline to help me concentrate on God. It’s not ammunition to use against myself when I don’t feel like I’m measuring up to what I want to be
f. If I’m in the laundry room, I don’t fold laundry
Do any of you have any additional ideas about carving out moments of solitude in your day? I’d love to hear them! Or just leave a comment and let me know you stopped by today.
I’m enjoying your thots about solitude…the older I get the more I crave it. Thank you.
I made the choice to have a daily quiet time many years ago. I’ve been pretty consistent about it except for the occasional miss. But it makes such a difference in my day. My husband and I work together from home and he notices the difference in me if for some reason I missed my quiet time.
I have a comfortable chair in my home office where I have my Bible, journal, pen and highlighter. I grab my first cup of coffee and take time to pray.
The challenge that I often face during this time though is my mind wanders to things like “I need to remember this” or “I should call so and so”. Sometimes, I’ll just jot a word or two down to remember and then go back to my quiet time. I like your idea of candles. I love them but never thought of it for this time of my day.
BTW, thanks for visiting my blog. And I so agree with you about parents teaching their children about good nutrition. 🙂
Great post today. I like candles too. They really help me to chill out during my quiet time.
I love this:
“I’ve come to realize that I set the emotional thermostat in our house. Where Mommy goes, so goes the family. Therefore, my inner peace is of utmost importance if I desire an atmosphere of peace in our home—which I do.”
Awesome. The emotional thermostat. What a grand way of thinking about it. And it’s ohhhhh so true.
Thanks so much 🙂 Have a fabulous day, friend!
I’m in a season of “small moments”. Sometimes I am drawn to a specific time away with God (and I love every minute!), but usually it is quick little lessons received here and there. Silence on the go! So I really enjoyed reading through your suggestions.
Sitting by the dishwasher when it’s running works, too!
I love your way of gently encouraging. I also love the book “Celebration of Discipline”. I am learning (still) about the climate of our home. The “atmosphere” I call it. Just today I yelled at my son (isn’t that sweet). He yelled back, “mom, you pray for joy and peace and then you yell. That is not going to make joy and peace!!” OUCH!
I have a question, How did you know I have you on my blogs I read? I’m sorta new at this… Learning all the time from you wise, widgetous women. 🙂
I’m new to your blog today, but I love it already. It’s beautifully done, and your thoughts are very readable. I definitely crave more solitude in my life, and I seem to get my best alone time either when the baby is napping, or late at night when the rest of the house is fast asleep. How grateful I am that God is ever-patient and ever-present, always waiting to receive me when I come to Him. Thanks for your insight! I’d be so honored if you visited my blog. It is a humble page compared to yours, but it’s genuine. God bless you richly!
What a fabulous blog you have. Thanks for the inspiration that I need.
You’re too kind…
Thanks for visiting, and I hope you’ll come back. I know it’s not an exciting page yet… I’m not nearly as techo-savvy as you are, but slowly I’m trying to spice it up. (Advice is always welcome.)
I’m glad to have given you some Advent inspiration — go get that wreath and candles! It’s a meaningful tradition that’s easy to do. Sometimes finding the 4 candles can be tricky, but Michael’s is a good bet.
Bless you today!
I love this series but have been awful lately at the finding time for myself with God. Even the time I take to study and write is generally for others around me and geared towards what they are going through and how I can help them.
Thank you for the reminder that I need that quiet time with God to keep everything together in a peaceful and obedient way.
I am the queen of control…getting everyone where they need to be when they need to be there, making sure every detail is taken care of.
But things are so much more joyful and I am so much more content with the endless busyness when I am focused on God first and taking care of myself spiritually.
Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!