I hear it often, I’m sure you do, too. If you’re in Christian circles today you hear it coined “quiet time.” If you’re out in the world you hear women discussing “me time.” There are blogs, social media posts, books, even speakers that inspire us to have this said quiet time daily, and they usually say it should be in the morning. The most important thing stressed on this said time is that it must be quiet, and we must separate ourselves from others in order to dig further into God’s Word or to pray more, or whatever “more” it may be. It should happen routinely in the morning.
Then we are told we need to exercise. And guess when that’s supposed to take place? That’s right, in the morning.
Just thinking about how quiet time and exercising are to be taken place in the morning, before my children get up, quite honestly makes me almost hyperventilate. It makes me feel defeated before I even attempt either of these in the morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my time with Jesus and I like to spend at least an hour in the Word or studying when I can. I love to work out. I spend an hour working out 5-6 days a week. So if I were to get up, go to the gym to exercise, drive home, shower, then dig into the word, I’m already looking at at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of time I’d have to be up before my children. That puts me up by 4:30am every morning. That’s saying my son wakes up at 8 and not earlier. That time includes my drive to the gym and back.
4:30 am would be fine if I went to bed at 8 every night, like I did when I was teaching. If I went to bed when my children went to bed I’d have no private one-on-one time to spend with my husband. My children go to bed around 8:30 or 9 because they sleep in until 8 or 9 every morning (in the summer). So my husband and I stay up until 10 or 10:30 watching shows or playing board games, whatever we want to do that evening. Let’s just say I went to bed at 10:30 and fell right to sleep. If I got up at 4:30am to leave for the gym, I’d be working on 6 hours of sleep. 6 hours of sleep has never worked for me.
I went to this extreme length to simply say, quiet time first thing in the morning, exercise first thing in the morning, isn’t always feasible for every mama. We are in difference seasons of life. I currently have young children and my quiet time sometimes means I’m studying my Bible when they are outside playing. I’ll pull up a chair to the table outside, open my Bible and notebook and study. I’m able to watch my children playing and I’m still able to study. Yes my quiet time may be interrupted by the, “Mommy I need to go potty.” Maybe I hear screaming or crying or fighting, but I tune it out until I hear the scream or cry that truly means they need my intervention.
You see, if we are proactive on our quiet time to spend with Jesus, it can be done at any time of the day. Here’s what I’ve done and found it successful:
- Create an area in your yard that you know will be safe with no immediate dangers/hazards.
- Get yourself plenty of outside toys to use and place them in large plastic totes with handles. We have a Fisher Price picnic table, Mega Blocks & accessories, a few castles (imagineX & Little People), Littlest Petshop pets and accessories, sand box with toys, cars & ramps, slide, rocking horse, things of this nature.
- Be sure to bring drinks, sunscreen, all items you need for at least an hour of outdoor fun.
- Grab your Bible, your notebook, and begin studying. The kids will end up taking care of themselves with practice.
In the beginning I was interrupted often. “Mommy play with me,” “Mommy, look at me,” you know the drill, I’m sure. Every time they would try to talk to me, I’d acknowledge them and say, “Mommy is studying her Bible. Can you give me a few?” Over time they learned. It doesn’t happen every day at the same time. It doesn’t happen always as long as I want it to, but it works for me and it is keeping me learning about my Savior. And my kids see how important it is to study my Bible every day.
The exercise–that happens usually once my husband gets home because I don’t have a treadmill working at my home right now. When my husband is at work, we discuss our plan of action for when he gets home. Most of the time I’ll have dinner started and he may need to finish it, but I will leave soon after he gets home to go for my run at the gym. Sometimes the kids will be done eating before I get home, but that’s okay. We make do. You may be asking, “Well isn’t it important to eat dinner as a family?” Yes it is important, and we do it at least once a week (usually Saturdays after church). We shift our expectations and shift what is important on the list. My health, with exercise, is important to our family, thus we make it happen.
We have enough pressure on us to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect woman. We don’t need to feel inadequate because we don’t get up at 4:30am to start our day after 6 hours of sleep. This is my struggle and my experience as a stay-at-home mom. I cannot even imagine the struggle a working mama would have in dealing with the pressures of quiet time and exercise.
As for the “me time,” I’ll just leave it at this–You are a mother and probably a wife. Your me time shouldn’t impose on the time with your children or husband, especially if you’re taking two hours of your day to exercise and spend time with Jesus. Me time can also be the time you have at the gym. Me time could be the once a year trip to you take alone to go do something just for you. For example, my me time is me shutting off technology, not responding to emails or texts, and going out of town alone once or twice a year. I have regular maintenance of the gym 5-6 days a week for an hour, and the one or two trips out of town alone a year.
The point: Figure out what works for you without taking time away from your priorities–those eyes in front of you, soaking in every thing you do. Don’t be gone too much. You won’t get this time again.