For most of my younger life and well into my thirties, I lived in a semi-state of rush and chaos. I had a lot of energy and never wanted to slow down. When I sat down it was only for a minute or two. My mind was constantly racing, thinking of the next thing I had to do. I had to keep productive. I lived this way for years. I would work, come home, take care of Becca and do laundry and make dinner and iron and vacuum, clean up the kitchen, get tomorrow’s clothes ready, clean up around the house, go to the store, clean out a closet and then crash.
After my divorce, I went through a new found freedom phase and went pretty wild, full speed ahead. I had every other weekend and one night a week on my own while Becca was with her dad. On my free nights I would be out until the wee hours of the morning. I partied quite a bit and hung out with a group of friends who literally saved me after my divorce. They definitely came into my life for a season. I find it amazing how God brings people into our lives for just the perfect amount of time–sometimes for a lifetime and sometimes for a brief time.
At age thirty-five, I realized that after a few years of going out constantly that I needed to grow up, learn how to be a big girl and stay home alone once in a while. I had to always be around people– almost too much. I had a hard time staying alone with myself and I knew that there was work to be done because I knew deep down inside that going out night after night was not a healthy way to live. Could I be avoiding something?
I made a deal with myself that on the weekends when Becca was not with me, I would allow myself permission to go out one night but the other night I would stay home alone. I thought it would be good for me to spend time with myself and hopefully I would learn to love myself and enjoy my own company. Then, I would be able to relax and find peace and quiet within my soul.
The first few times I tried this, I made a list of things to do around the house. I have to admit I accomplished a lot! I was running around painting rooms, cleaning out closets, bagging up clothes, polishing woodwork, replacing tack paper, hanging pictures, cleaning out photo albums, moving things from one floor to another, ironing clothes, etc. Although those duties were positive and constructive, I was not finding much peace. I was literally running from myself by keeping so busy. I did not want to think of my circumstances and have to sort through deep rooted issues in order to heal my life. But I knew I had to, so I began to force myself to sit for a half hour in the quiet and just be.
The first time I tried this half hour silence, it was brutal. I remember after five minutes thinking that was an eternity. I was fidgety and wiggly. My fingers and toes were moving and I was shifting all over the place on the comfy couch. I was easily distracted, thinking about paying the mortgage or looking for a cat that I could play with. It reminded me of the Sponge Bob episode where Sponge Bob was writing a school paper that he didn’t want to write and he was totally distracted by the smallest thing. He would slide down in his chair and play with a pencil or a paperclip. He was so unfocused and wanted to do anything but complete that assignment. That’s how I felt. I couldn’t quiet my mind and concentrate.
It took me a while but I finally became content sitting alone in silence. I had some good cry sessions which were miserable but healing. I knew that my excessive running around was helping me avoid my painful and hurt feelings. The busier I was, the more I did not have to deal with my situation or myself. But I really didn’t want to bury my head in the sand and ignore my issues. I have always been one to deal with things head on, but this was a hard period of time for me.
Now I savor my quiet time. I still have it today– although not as much as I used to. My driving time is my quiet time most days. I use that time to talk to God, think of ways to be a blessing, and how to be okay with just being. Just be. I have to remind myself of that all the time. I am loved because of who I am, not for what I do.