Friday, July 1, 2011

Some see sacrifice...others see the blessing of service.

At a point in my life, I was an avid proponent of Dr. Ester Buchholz, a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist who died in 2004 at the age of 71. She did quite a bit of research on solitude during her career...what she called "alonetime." She thought that society undervalued solitude and alone time and overvalued attachment. Dr. Buchholz thought that periods of solitude were important if we were to tap our creative potential.

Although I'm very much an extrovert by nature, I've always made time in my life for moments to detach and withdraw, isolate myself from outside stimulation and spend time in thought and reflection. That may sound a bit more proactive than the actual process worked, but long periods without this self-imposed reclusiveness would ultimately affect my demeanor and award-winning, infectious personality (eye roll) in a very negative way.

Fast forward to the start of a more pious and vastly more important period in my life. 

Holding true to my word that pivotal moment in the early morning hour after I got off my knees and dried my eyes, focus shifted to putting God into every aspect of my mess of a life. Completely unaware of the spiritual concept of quite time, my private moments of isolation began to slowly change from a concentration of pondering things like 'Why am I here?' to pleas to my Father of  'What will You have me do?' Slowly the me time faded away and was replaced by Us time until the day it finally became rightfully His time.

Has it truly been a sacrifice? I still agree in principle with Dr. Buccholz that creativity is best released in those moments of solitude. The world has become a very busy and very noisy place. We are bombarded daily with a gambit of request and requisitions, information and intrusions, responsibilities and's mentally exhausting. I will admit daily vacations from the superficially cerebral stuff to a place of inner peacefulness and self-reflection are very nice. But then I'm reminded...this isn't about me.

So my personal fortress of solitude Dr. Buccholz zen-fully called alone time has greatly changed. It hasn't been easy for me. Necessary, but not easy. Because, now I spend those moments away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life no longer dedicated to a personal mental respite...I spend that precious time in prayer for others. As earnestly and humbly as I possibly can. Every single day.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6

We are often heralded as creatures of habit by the scientific community. I wholeheartedly agree with that assessment too. We were created to be creatures of habit by a loving God who prefers those acts of habits to be in some service to Him and to others. I just hate it took me so many wasted years of selfish thoughts and behaviors to finally realize that coveted place of inner peacefulness and self-reflection doesn't hold a candle to the joy received by focusing on Him and His will.

Spend some of your 'me-time' today with our Father and offer petitions on the behalf of others. After just a few days of'll find it can become very addictive.


Dayleen said...

So many times we don't take the time to quietly listen to our God! We are busy people & we rocket requests AT God! Thanks for the reminder!

Tracy said...

Good Word!

Unlike you, I'm an introvert so I thrive on alone time. But as you indicate here, what I do during that time makes all the difference. Recently I read a quote from Mother Teresa that really struck me:

"Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of Himself"

David-FireAndGrace said...

Time in closet with the Father is a great thing. Thanks for the reminder, and for giving a testimony as to the power it has.