The other night something absolutely CRAZY happened and I found myself alone in my own house for an entire 16 hours. 16 hours!
It wasn’t supposed to be, which made the gift that much sweeter. I didn’t have to plan and prep to have the other 5 members of this tribe taken care of – it just happened. I watched a few drive off, a knock on the door signified another was being picked up and then, just like that, I realized it was just me. House empty. Complete silence. Thank-you, Jesus!
My mind raced for all of 60 seconds on what I should do. I could go get groceries and cook like a mad-woman preparing for the upcoming week. I could go window-shop and poke through some stores I never get a chance to. I could curl up with a bowl of Chicago Mix and binge on some show that probably isn’t even that good.
What do you do when given 16 hours of alone? These all seemed like good options to me until I thought a bit more about what I really need right now.
What I don’t need is to cook. I mean, I do, but I can do that when teens are underfoot and picking at whatever it is I’m chopping. It’s not something I need alone time to take care of. In fact, I find it more enjoyable when there are kids sitting on countertops chatting away about the current band they’re into.
I certainly didn’t need to be out where I would most definitely be tempted with the latest in measuring spoons or the cutest succulents or – oh look! Cute dress!
TV isn’t my preferred choice of escape, though I do like to indulge now and again. I just find it more enjoyable with someone so it seemed a silly thing to waste these precious hours on.
I racked my brain for another 2 minutes and then I knew. What I don’t get enough time for is to read in silence. Really soak in the words. I also never get enough time to pray long and deep and with heart ready. Prayer these days is out loud and offered up one frantic sentence at a time. Lord, help me! Lord, thank you! Jesus, we need you. God, look at that sunset – you are amazing!
I prayed a quick, “What would you have for me, Lord,” pulled out my kindle and browsed some books when one popped out. The one I would start and finish in an evening. I chose a christian author who was writing on an area of life I wanted to dive into. Her use of scripture throughout, her love of ‘the dead guys’ when it comes to theology and her beautiful reflection questions at the end of each chapter were exactly what I didn’t know I needed.
I spent hours soaking up her words, pouring over scripture, petitioning God in prayer, sitting in the silence and frantically writing out thoughts, confessions, questions and revelations in a journal.
The hours couldn’t have been spent better. I finished the book, got on my knees and thanked Jesus for the provision of the time, the words, and Himself.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so refreshed. I can’t imagine that shopping or tv could have brought these feelings just now (though of course are awesome sometimes!)
How do you spend alone time? Do you hop out at the chance to do things you don’t normally get to, or have you ever spent it in quiet and prayer?
I can’t recommend it enough. In fact, I think I want to be sure to make it happen a few times a year. It really was a rest and solace to my soul and it gave me time to get my heart before the Lord and get really honest. Things that don’t happen quite as easily on the fly.