My husband and I had built our family life in a way that left little room for…well, life. My days seemed to be a series of obligations that overlapped one another. Each night I would collapse into bed with a list running through my mind of the things I had intended to do that would carryover to the next day’s list. There was no sense of accomplishment, no sense of completion- just unending piles of laundry, commitments, and tasks.
A couple of years ago we came to the end.
The end of our strength, the end of our patience, and nearly the end of our rope. We realized that if we didn’t make some significant changes that eventually we would find ourselves at the end of our marriage. Faced with this reality we took action. We cut a lot out of our lives, we changed the structure of our family and we found something we didn’t even realize we were missing…peace.
The initial shock of changing the pace of our lives was pretty unsettling. I found that relinquishing control, and allowing my world to continue to turn without my fingerprints all over it didn’t come easy. I had to fight for peace. And I soon discovered that I was mostly fighting against myself. This is when I began a practice that has changed my life. It has been a precipice to this new found peace. In fact, I’ve found that even in times when we are busy this one practice keeps me grounded. This practice makes me a better wife, a better mom and a happier me. What is this practice?
Silence and Solitude.
Listen, I know you probably think I’m crazy. Maybe you’re in the season where you can’t even get to the bathroom without someone following you in. Taking time for silence and solitude may seem totally impossible…and trust me when I say, this is when it is most important.
At first, this practice was truly excruciating. Sitting in silence for 5 minutes took much effort. A minute or two into the practice I would get really twitchy and fidgety and start making my grocery list in my mind. I’d try to refocus, but the thin layer of dust that covered the lamp shade in my room would catch my eye and then, I realized I hadn’t changed the air filters in a few months, and what about the dryer lint hose…it was practically a fire waiting to happen. My mind was not trained in the art of stillness. I was as chaotic internally as my life had been externally. But eventually things started to settle down. With a lot of prayer and practice, I began to crave these moments of solitude and my life began to change shape.
My challenge to you?
5-10 minutes twice a day. Find time to be still. Carve out time to just BE.
Here are a few tips that helped me as I began my journey:
- Enlist the help of your loved ones. (Ask your spouse to support you as you make time to recharge.)
- Find a space that you can retreat to. (I find it helps to go to the same space each time if possible.
- Start your time with a few moments of deep breathing.
- Focus on a truth that brings you peace.
- If your task list starts to run through your mind, gently bring your attention back to your truth.
You may not be able to cut out your obligations, or change your circumstances at will. You may be more busy than you’d like to be, but with the practice silence and solitude you can have peace in the midst of any season.