“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” ~ Barbara De Angelis
I can’t believe it’s only the second week of summer vacation and I am already craving some alone time. I’m craving solitude and self-reflection. It might have something to do with the fact that all four of our offspring are home to make more messes, have more conversations, eat more food, make more messes, make more trouble, demand more of my time, take up more room in my shadow and require me to notify them when not one but three meals and snacks are ready…eat more food!!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. God has blessed me with four great reasons for me to need Him more. It is a privilege to be a parent, one I take very seriously. (Maybe sometimes too seriously, but He is working that out).
I am also growing to love my solitude and self-reflection time when I can get it. I haven’t been able to get it lately. I’m tired. I have a lot of thoughts that need reflection swirling around in my head. I know I’m not alone…I just told you my kids are all home. No really, I know I am not alone. There are a many parents who thought they had a plan about how this summer vacation was going to go and are probably facing similar situations. Maybe I should have started the summer break with time away by myself. Yeah, that would have been really loving of me, I know….NOT!! Don’t Judge!!
Today I had some real moments in getting my solitude and self-reflection….or so I thought. I decided to clean my kitchen in preparation for a party I’m going to host tomorrow evening. This was going to be a “very thorough cleaning!!”. I even decided to re-arrange some of the items in the cupboard before replacing them. By the time I was done, I sat back proudly and took notice of the fact that the microwave door was so clean, I could see my reflection!! Self-reflection achieved. The only way solitude was achieved was by the fact that I cleaned the kitchen by myself!! No shadow crashers then, go figure!!
(this was originally written during the summer of 2013 but since summer 2014 is more than half way done now, I thought I would post it to encourage you to try and find some self-reflection time, if you still can)
I will say that the author of the above quote got it right when she said, “balance how much of ourselves we give away”. I agree….sort of. So often we give, give, give but then somehow feel depleted. I sometimes question whether I am giving in the right spirit!!
Perhaps we even openly grumble about how much of ourselves we give away. Or we bury it, because (we believe the lie the enemy tells us) that it would be un-spiritual to express our frustrations in that way. Shoot, we have even memorized the phrase “it is better to GIVE than RECEIVE“, sometimes without even acknowledging Who did the giving to us in the first place.
If we GIVE out of a need for affirmation or a need for anything but the glory of God, we are not giving selflessly. Which gives room for the enemy to expose our fleshly desires. When we GIVE to fill a need (for ourselves) and the need is not met, we get discouraged and take it personally. Giving selflessly means we have RECEIVEd selflessly.
Here is the truth….we can’t GIVE what we haven’t RECEIVED.
How’s that for self-reflection?
If we have RECEIVED talents / gifts, we are encouraged to GIVE them away for the benefit of others.
If we have RECEIVED forgiveness, then we are to GIVE forgiveness freely and abundantly.
If we have RECEIVED grace, than we are to GIVE it freely.
If we have RECEIVED Christ, than we are to GIVE Christ to others in every situation.
If we haven’t RECEIVED any of these than perhaps we don’t GIVE as readily.
Either way, I believe it is still always better to GIVE than to RECEIVE.
The most important things were RECEIVED today while I had time alone with God. First thing in the morning before the children even got up. I RECEIVED His love letter to me while I paged through the scriptures. I RECEIVED a reminder of the forgiveness He gave me at the Cross after once again confessing my sin. I also RECEIVED peace about the work God is doing in my marriage.
I RECEIVED His Presence when I asked for it. I RECEIVED peace when I shared an anxiety and fear I was dealing with. I RECEIVED assurance when I stumbled through a request that sounded trivial. This morning, I RECEIVED a lot and it is only the second week of summer break.
1Corinthians 4:7 says, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”
So out of what I RECEIVED……I GIVE to you!!
Thank you for joining me in my self-reflection. My prayer is that during whatever you are facing in your life, God would show you what you have RECEIVED and how, where and to whom He wants you to GIVE it!! I also hope that you find time for solitude with Jesus. With Him you are never alone.
How about you……
What do you need to GIVE that you have RECEIVED?
What are you waiting to RECEIVE so you can GIVE it?
Blessings on your journey.