Time For You

My friend Andrea is a good mom and devoted wife. She told me recently that she has chosen to look at her young family as a “gift” and wants to spend more quality time with them. She has stocked up on resources to help her with this, including a list of blogs written to encourage moms to be the women God wants them to be.

Andrea said, “Yesterday we all went to lunch as a family, and after we got home, I didn’t do anything except stuff with the kids.” They jumped on the trampoline, played outside, and took a nap together. “It was very nice,” she said. “Today we were invited to the park by a neighbor. We all had a blast. And I’m going to truly strive to spend more time just reading and playing games with the kids. But with all the demands of being wife and mom, when is it OK to take time for ourselves??”

That is a great question. We absolutely need to take time for ourselves. Here’s an even more important question: “How should I use my time in a way that really rejuvenates me?” Each of us gets recharged in a different ways. We need to evaluate what we really need during that time in order to return to life refreshed.

It is easy to feel so ready for a break that when we finally get one, we just waste it on things that don’t revive our spirits. Oftentimes, our natural reaction is to disconnect when we really need to be rejuvenated. We might do this by watching TV or browsing the web. Disconnecting allows us to escape, but it does not rejuvenate us. When we re-engage with our families, we return just as tired and in need of a break as before we left.

Maybe you will only be refreshed by a nap today, because you were up all night with sick kids. It could be that you just need an adult conversation with a friend after three-word sentence exchanges with toddlers all day.

It is essential that we connect with our Lord so that we can be relating and working in His power and strength, rather than trying to keep our sanity and calm in our own strength. Maybe it’s a walk at the park so you can be alone to pray, or an escape to a coffee shop to read your Bible. What do you need?

Using your free time thoughtfully will positively affect so many areas of your life. I have found that when I choose to spend my precious time with Him, somehow I have clarity of mind, get more done and I’m more patient. He helps us discern priorities clearly and leads us to live in a place of peace that only He can provide amid our hectic lives.

As you take time for yourself today, stop for a moment and ask the Lord how He wants you to spend that time. He’ll let you know what will really rejuvenate you. Then watch what happens when you return to your family, how you respond to situations and how you feel. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Don’t Wish Away Today

When I was in junior high, I remember complaining to my Aunt Fae: “I wish I was in high school.” Her response to me became one of the foundational principles that has formed my character. She said, “Brenda, Don’t wish away today. Be all here in the present. High school will come soon enough. Be all here, each day of your life.” I thought about what she said, and put it into practice in my life.

We tend to “wish for high school” in a lot of ways. When we get to high school, we wish we were in college. In college, we wish we had a job… We wish we were married, we wish we had children, we wish our children were older, then we wish they were out of the house…grandchildren…retirement…and then, we die. We could wish our life away and never live in the present.

Looking back now, living in the moment has caused me to enjoy the little things in life, both the good ones and the hard ones. I learned to face the difficult times rather than ignore or resent them. When my children were young and woke up night after night because they needed to be fed, they had a bad dream, or caught the flu and were puking every hour throughout the night, I realized that I had two choices in how I could respond: I could accept my circumstances and embrace the moment with a good attitude, or get angry and irritable about what was happening, and wish that stage of life with my children away. Those long, sleepless nights when my children cried, I rocked them and quietly sang to them, sometimes for hours. I was so tired and at the end of myself sometimes, the tears would come easily, streaming down my face, as I praised Jesus with my songs. That was all I had to give.

The hard times have become some of the most precious memories and growing times for me. I chose not to “check out” of the present and wish for the future. Instead, I chose to worship God through those hard circumstances. Those are the times when I learned to lean on Him for strength, even when I didn’t have any strength left.