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Simple Saving Savvy: Intentional Housekeeping Part 9: Solitude

Simple Saving Savvy

Practicing Wise Stewardship & Blessing Others Out of Our Abundance

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Intentional Housekeeping Part 9: Solitude

Over the past several weeks we have covered many aspects of Intentional Housekeeping but as I said last week, this is by far the most important element...solitude.

 Let me give you a glimpse into many of my days.

The alarm goes off in the morning and my feet hit the floor running. Get myself ready, wake up the kids, get them out the door to school, but not before I've had to refocus their efforts a hundred times, make lunches, check backpacks and referee at least three misunderstandings.

I try to make time for daily quiet time but most days it's lunch time and I'm knee deep in household chores before I realized the enemy is laughing gleefully because once again I was sidetracked.

By then, there's no way I can slow down because it's almost time for school to be out and then it's the homework marathon, getting dinner on and working frantically to try to pull off some semblance of peace and tranquility by the time hubby comes home.

After dinner, well, someone has to clean up. And then it's time to start preparing for the next day. Somehow everyone else seems to have time to play, relax, or whatever, but I've still got a million things to do.

My hubby wants me to go to bed early with him but most nights I'm dragging myself to bed around 10 or 11, fitfully sleeping and then rolling out of bed what seems like way to early the next morning, just to start it all over again.

Can you relate? Just a little? What ever happened to all the intentionality we talk about so often?

And that brings us to the subject of our final post. Solitude. I decided to include this in our series after our Pastor taught on it one Sunday. It struck a chord in my very soul and I had to share it with you.

We are called as Christians to make a positive impact on the world around us, first and foremost in our homes. However we live in a world of noise, chaos and hurry. And I'm here to tell you, if we spend all of our time admist the chaos, we will never be significant people. We need silence. Daily, weekly, whatever it is...we need silence.

We need a chance to be still, to quiet our minds, to think, to reason, to plan, to respond instead of react. TO BE INTENTIONAL.

Why do we need solitude? Here are the four reasons my pastor gave:

We should follow the example of Jesus
Jesus sought solitude. And if the eternal Son of God took time to seek solitude and silence, how much more do we need it? Throughout the New Testament, we frequently see Jesus taking time to be alone and pray. To name a few:
  • 40 days/nights in the desert before starting His ministry
  • After He received the news of John the Baptist's death (Matthew 14:13)
  • After feeding the 5000
  • After a busy day of ministry (Mark 1:35)
  • Following the healing of the leper (Luke 5:16)
  • And of course the famous Garden of Gethsemene  
Jesus knew He needed periodic solitude and silence to continue His busy earthly ministry....Neither can we continue to impact others if we are constantly around others.

Fellowship with God
Taking the time to be quiet increases fellowship with our Heavenly Father. So often His voice is drowned out in all the busyness and noise. I love this scripture in 1 Kings 19: 11-12 ...

Then He said (to Elijah), "Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice
NKJ (emphasis mine)

God sometimes speaks through the spectacular circumstances in life but more often He speaks through the stillness and quiet.

Think how special it is and how energizing when you spend one on one quality time with one of your own children. You come away with a special memory and a renewed bond. It's the same when we spend time with God...we are blessed and renewed for it.

Avoid Burnout
Burnout is often times triggered by frustration and more so in successful people than those who are considered to be failures.

Successful people often run and run and run and never take time to refuel and over time lose their cutting edge. We have to take time to recharge our batteries for the challenges around the corner.

You've heard it said "less is more". When we "do" less, we actually accomplish more. Mainly because when we cut out the busyness, we can plan strategically and respond to our circumstances rather than reacting to the chaos which many times births more chaos.

We need to seek the will of God
You can be as intentional as you want, but if God's will isn't involved, it's all for nought. You'll find yourself running in circles and your strength sapped. Solitude gives us an opportunity to make sure our goals are also God's goals.

Through solitude and silence, we bring our purposes and intentions into alignment with God's ultimate will.

But how? How do we fit solitude into our lives? We're already so busy!

  • By cultivating the art of intentionality - We often have good intentions but poor intentionality. Solitude won't just happen. We have to make it happen. Think about it and then DO IT!

  • Start small - Try turning off the noise...the car stereo, ipod, mp3, TV, etc. You'll be surprised what you hear in the silence. Next time you're in the car alone, turn off the radio and talk to God. Praise Him for who He is and what He is doing. Your whole outlook will change.

  • Plan an extended retreat - I know this can't happen as often as we would like but it's very important to get away once in awhile for an extended period of time either alone or with our spouse. It gives us time to think, plan, reflect, pray and possibly discuss without any interruptions. Be sure when you go away physically, you're also giving yourself a break mentally.

  • Learn to delegate - The hardest skill to teach a person is to delegate responsibility. We all think we are indespensable. Thinking we have to do everything ourselves simply increases the clutter in our lives and the pressure we feel. It also lessens the opportunities for solitude.

  • It seems I have to relearn the lesson of solitude quite often in my life. Last year for example, I allowed myself to get so busy and the thing that seemed to get cut out was my alone time with God. And instead of adding more time to my days, it actually made me less effective and diminished my productivity, not to mention skewed my focus.

    This year I am striving to make solitude and silence a regular part of my day. Not only making time for God's word but just to take every aspect of my day to Him. What I've experienced in just a short few weeks is a whole different mindset.

    I actually accomplish more in my day by giving my day back to who it actually belongs to! I am at peace, because my gaze is on Him and who He is, not my circumstances. I am more loving and patient with my husband and children. I am more focused, organized and strategic which allows me more time for quiet, relaxation and enjoyment.

    And this brings us back to the concept of Simple Saving the end of the day I can sit quietly before my Lord and say "Today I have lived intentionally; I have done the best I could with what You have given me."

    I hope you have enjoyed the Intentional Housekeeping series. I am announcing the winners of the Housekeeping Skills for Kids giveway in a separate post and will be emailing the winners.



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