10 Habits of Happy Mothers--Habit #6

The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers, by Meg Meeker, M.D. lists Habit #6 as:

Make Time for Solitude.

Dr. Meeker talks about how being constantly busy makes us insensitive to others (pg 115), and that being overly stimulated by noise and activity can impair our ability to listen to others. When our environment is constantly "buzzing" we move into a coping state that tunes things and people out (pg 119). Conversely, we are refreshed and can be better for everyone we are around when we have some alone time.

Here are Dr. Meeker's four ways to make this habit of solitude stick:

1.) Start with bite-sized moments -- "We find time to do what we really want to do," (Meeker pg 124). So, if we truly desire more peace in our lives, we will make time to be alone with God and get that refreshing that we need.

2.) Find a place for solitude (and let everyone know) -- Basically, if you want alone time, it is easier if those in your home know that you need alone time and are going to your "alone place" to be ALONE. I find that I must get up very early, before anyone else, or leave the house for a walk, drive, etc., in order to secure some truly alone time.

3.) Quiet your mind -- She says: "When the thoughts flood in and the guilt about being alone, silent, and not "accomplishing anything" sets in, wage war" (Meeker pg 125). "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NASB).

This is the toughest thing for me. When I'm alone and I try to pray or read the Bible, or even at night in bed, my mind races in a million directions. I love that Dr. Meeker says to "wage war" (pg 125), because God promises us that when we surrender our anxieties to Him and focus on things worthy of praise, we will have His peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7)--but the devil doesn't want us to have that peace! He will do whatever he can to distract or disturb us so we don't spend quiet time alone with God. We are at war. How badly do we want to win?

4.) Go deeper -- This is basically taking time to do some self-examination, and allowing God to give you wisdom and guidance for the things in your life that stress you (be they good or bad).

Although Dr. Meeker doesn't mention this, I think the main (only?) reason solitude is important is because Jesus practiced it. Whatever Jesus did, we should copy. No one can ever claim to face a tougher situation on earth than Jesus did, and no one can ever give us the peace that we need for our lives like Jesus. If we don't have alone time, we don't grow in our relationship with Jesus, and that leaves us vulnerable to myriad problems. Before I complain about anything again, I need to see how I'm doing with my alone time.