Wednesday night I sat in my rocking chair with kids crawling all over me wanting my attention. The whole time this was happening, all I could think about was all the things that I needed to get done. The alone time that I crave. If they would all just give me 10 minutes of alone time. And the entire time I was thinking this, I was also feeling very guilty for feeling this way. Why was I not enjoying these sweet babies that wanted nothing more then to sit on my lap, curled up under a blanket, to watch Strawberry Shortcake with me. GUILT!
Fast forward to Thursday. I was at work looking for a devotion to subscribe to that I could read on my lunch hour each day. The first place I landed was on Proverbs 31 Ministries. The devotion for the day was entitled "Lonely In Families". With permission from the author, Marybeth Whalen, I am including the devotion here. I thought that it might speak to some of you too.
Lonely In Families
“God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”
Psalm 68:6 (NIV)
I used to think today’s key verse was a sweet promise to the lonely, assuring them that God would remember them and surround them with the love of a family. And, while I still think this is true, I recently had a revelation while reading this verse that there might be another way to look at it.
I noticed in my Bible’s notes that the word “lonely” means “solitary.” The person the verse is referring to may not be the person feeling sad because she’s alone. This could be the person who needs some alone-time to recharge – she thrives in silence. When life gets too chaotic or crazy or noisy, all she really wants is to be solitary.
That person, in other words, is me.
So what does this verse tell us God does with a person like me? He plops her smack in the middle of a family. He says, “I know you prefer being alone. I know that you can control your world much better when there’s a population of one. But, my child, that is not what makes you a better person. You will never be all that I long for you to be if I leave you in your solitary-ness.”
God saw fit to put me in the midst of six noisy, arguing, busy children and one husband with his own set of expectations, needs and preferences. Then He took a ringside seat and watched the drama ensue. He watched as I battled my own selfishness, learned to put other’s needs ahead of my own, and lapsed into longing for loneliness.
Being a solitary person is not all bad. Jesus understood this propensity to need time alone. While He surrounded Himself with crowds of people, there are times in the gospels where He tells His disciples He’s had enough and withdraws from the crowds to recharge. Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Two words jump out at me in that verse: often and lonely. God doesn’t try to take away our bent towards being solitary, but He doesn’t want us to stay in that place all the time. We should take the time to go to our lonely places and pray. But we also need to come back and re-engage.
Maybe you’re a solitary person too. Maybe you’ve found yourself rebelling against the needs of your family, lamenting that you just want to be alone. God created us for community. He knows that in isolation we do no one any good. He puts the lonely in families—and it’s not always a pretty process. But the result He is going for is beautiful.
Dear Lord, I confess that I don’t always see my family as a blessing and a tool to grow Your desires for me. Help me to balance my desire for lonely places with Your call in my life to be part of this family You’ve placed me in. And help me to praise You in both situations. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
This is me on so many levels. I am very much a solitary person. I long for alone time. I like quiet, silence, no conversation. I sometimes wonder why God put me in a house full of NOISE! A house with a super talkative husband and two (out of four) children that are also very talkative. I have NEVER thought about it in the way that Marybeth speaks of. He is yet again working on me.
Below is a video that Marybeth had posted on her website. It's another song along the same lines that I posted here. I hope you enjoy both videos. I hope they speak to you too.
I'm glad to say that this evening I happily sat with my baby girl curled on my lap drawing on her Magna Doodle. Me tracing her hand for her and her tracing my hand, without any thought of all the things around me that I needed to be doing.