Wednesday, April 09, 2008

WFMW Follow-Up: My "Withdrawing" Times

For this week's WFMW post, I said that personally applying a little bit of Luke 5:16 really works for me. That verse says: "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." I do try to apply this as often as possible, even if it means just the 10 minutes before I fall asleep. I think it is important that we always, throughout our days, take time to withdraw ourselves and converse with God. This withdrawal doesn't even have to be physical. I can be surrounded by my children and the stress of the day and still be able to close my eyes in prayer for a few seconds. Lately I find myself doing this when I am on the floor tidying the children's "made" beds, or picking up toys. As I'm already in a position of supplication, it is so easy for me to just withdraw my mind from everything else and spend a few quality seconds with the Lord.

I am sure there is no one who would disagree with the importance of this daily time with the Lord. It is as necessary as breathing for many of us. Now where this concept gets fuzzy is when we take the prayer out of the equation and are left just with the "withdrawing to lonely places" times. This can be paralleled to the proverbial "me time." Now first of all, let me get this out of the way; I thoroughly dislike the very term "me time." All of my time is ME time, whether I am cooking dinner, changing diapers, or blogging by myself before Eric gets home and after the kids are in bed. In all of these things I am doing what is important to ME at the time. So, let's just leave that rant at that and from here on out I will be using the phrase "alone time."

I personally believe that a woman's alone time is an issue between God, her husband, and herself. Some women, in their work to die to self, have removed alone time from their lives. Other women need it on a consistent basis in order to function properly. I applaud both of these groups for doing what they feel is best for them, as long as what they are doing is in accordance with where God would have them, and their husband's wishes. Where I take issue with alone time is when a woman feels it is her only escape from her life and she spends so much time craving her time alone that everything else suffers in her life. Put plainly, it is never a good thing to make an idol of anything outside of God. Our own selfish needs can be idolized inappropriately when we feel we can not live without them, and count down the minutes until we can do this certain thing again, and we feel as if we are not our whole selves when not partaking in this thing. This can take any form, be it alone time or sewing time or blogging time, or anything that we find pleasure in. At all times it is wise to keep things in perspective.

For myself, I could probably use more alone time. I have a difficult time taking it though. I probably have not gone out alone for more than a 15-minute errand in at least 6 months. I'm not too sure how this affects me or does not affect me as, at any given time, I view it differently. When my day is going how I planned with no major issues I think, "see, I don't need alone time at all." But when it has been a particularly difficult day, I do long for some time alone, being out of the house by myself, doing something I could not do with the kids in tow. I suppose my vision of my self isn't clear enough that I can see where there would be much of a difference one way or the other.

But here's the conundrum for me: Eric has made it clear that he would like for me to take more alone time. He says that it frees him up from feeling guilty when he wants to go do something for himself. I want to honor him in this, as in all things. I'm just not sure how. First of all, even though I know his position, I still feel guilty for even thinking about taking time alone, let alone asking for it when it will mean he is the one who has to watch the kids. He works so hard and I do not want to ever ask something of him that would be burdening and take away from his "down time." As I've stated though, he does not agree with this. He does not see it as selfish if it means I'll be a better wife and mother, and if it means his guilt will lessen when he wants to go do something. As much as I get this, I still have yet to put it into use.

Also, I just don't know what I would do with myself. For the most part, everything that I want to do in my leisure time can be done at home. And home is where I am most comfortable; it's where I really am ME, day in and day out. I have built my life around my home and its occupants. If I were asked what I most missed being able to do since I've had kids, I really don't think I'd be able to come up with an answer.

However, I've come to a realization just in the writing of this post. A part of my reluctance to take time alone is that I know there will be consequences. I will come home to a house that is not in the same condition it had been in when I left. I will be that many hours behind in the things that need to get done. And honestly, a little part of me just doesn't want to admit that someone else can do what I do. And that my friends is called PRIDE. Pride is a sin. There is no gray area on that matter. Pride is a sin! There is nothing wrong with taking a little time alone when, with our husbands' blessing, we really need it. As Eric asked me the other day when we were discussing this, "Do you think you're better than Jesus? Even Jesus needed a break sometimes."

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Cajunchic 1:52 PM  

great post. My alone time and withdrawing time is what gets me through the day. Without it I would not make it.

Nancy 1:57 PM  

First off, bless your husband for thinking of you. And secondly, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I look forward to my alone time each evening once the kids are in bed and before hubby gets home. I try to have the house quiet by 9:30 and then I curl up in my bed with a good book. This is something I look forward to each day and I think it's necessary each of us has something that we 'anticipate' each day, no matter what it is. Maybe it's your coffee in the morning or that special treat you have in the afternoon. No matter what it is, it's something we look forward to. The other 'alone' time I do every other month is meet with my book club. About 8 other women who love to read as much as I do. Hubby has his special something too - triathlons - and his training for those consumes much of his down time but he's happier because of it.
Granted, my children are at an age now where it's easier for us to be able to do these things. It was much more difficult when we had little ones underfoot.

Kate 3:38 PM  

Nancy, you are so right about the importance of having something to anticipate every day. How nice it is that something so small as reading time or a cup of coffee can bring such comfort. My daily "anticipation" is a cup of coffee and some ice cream with my husband before bed each night.

godlover 10:18 PM  

I visited your blog again today and loved it. Everyone needs some "down time" in their day and there's nothing selfish about it. Jesus is our example in life as Eric brought out. Sounds like you have a very caring husband.

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