Friday, October 18, 2013

When Do You Have Time For Yourself: Reasons Why I'd Never Homeschool!

I want to spend the next few Fridays, on the blog, debunking a few myths about homeschooling from my new-found perspective. It will not be an exhaustive list. You can get that from a more experienced homeschool family. However, there are a few that stand out like a sore thumb to me, that I thought worth addressing.

So, when do I have time for myself with what appears to be no break from my children? My answer is this:

Just like with anyone I talk to who has a family - whether they work, stay home with preschoolers or they homeschool - nobody seems to have a ton of extra time. As with anyone, I have to be intentional with my time.

This is vital.

Sally Clarkson, author of The Mission of Motherhood, offers two wise statements I carry with me, which I took from one of her Mom Heart Conferences a year ago:

1) You can't pour out what you don't take in.
2) A woman alone in her ideals is a target.

The first identifies the need to make God a priority in our life and the second identifies the need for community.

Making God a Priority

God created us to need him, not everything else under the sun, but him. Therefore, we must be intentional about our time with him.

What works for me is to wake up about two hours before I wake my children to pray and have devotion time with God, leaving plenty of margin for a little writing and preparing for the day. If I intend to throw exercise into the mix, I get up about a half hour earlier than that.

I'm a morning person. However, early mornings do not work for everyone. Others might carve that time out somewhere else, perhaps after the kids go to bed.

That's a start, but there are plenty of times when I am running low on fuel throughout my day. At those times I need more of God, not more of me. I need continual communion with him. Because the truth is, God is the only one who can fill that place that allows me to pour into the lives of my children his love, grace and truth without burning every last drop of fuel.

I can't pour out what I don't take in.

The Need for Community

God created us for community. Therefore, we must be intentional about seeking out or creating community.

Here are a few ideas for community that are working in my life:

First off, I am fortunate to have a supportive and loving husband. That goes a long way!

Secondly, I am fortunate to have five sisters who are my best friends - who I connect with regularly and  plan a yearly overnight weekend with. Obviously everyone does not have that luxury, but what can you do to foster those relationships with family that you do have?

But even with a great family, we still need community. We need to reach into our world, share our lives, affect and be affected.

Pray for specific friendships. I have two different friends that I speak with over the phone weekly as accountability partners, one a prayer partner and the other a bible accountability partner. Both I have prayed for - not the who, but the what and then God provided the who. These are girls I can spill my heart out to and they with me. These girls will speak the truth in love to me and I with them.

I am thankful for a couple of seasoned ladies (mentors) who I know I could call with questions or ask to go to coffee at any time. Yet, I'm still praying about how God wants those relationships to take shape in my life.

Join or start a group. I meet with a group of eight diverse, beautiful ladies every month for dinner and discussion over a book we are studying together. These are ladies who are willing to cry with one another, share ideals, heartache, wisdom and resources.

I am also a part a homeschool network group, who meets once a month for support and sharing of ideas. I see many of these ladies throughout the month for a co-op activity or for homeschool PE. This group is vital for knowing we are not alone in our ideals, in the joys and difficulties, and in our goals.

Take a retreat. In January, I'm headed to Denver for my second Mom Heart Conference, with a few other girls, for a weekend. This time is so important and good, to inspire and rejuvenate a busy mom like myself.

These are just the start. And then there is our church family, house guests, dinner parties, community events, dates with my husband, etc.

I am so thankful for people in my life, who keep me grounded and remind me I am not alone.

Because a woman alone in her ideals is a target for feelings of isolation, depression and loneliness.

But the reality is, priority is key. Because if I have the support of friends, yet not the blessing of God or of my husband over something, that time out or away still won't fulfill.

Or if I feel overwhelmed and like I just can't do enough or keep up, then maybe I'm trying to do more than what God is requiring of me, more than what he is asking of me in the first place. He blesses what he calls us to. Therefore, he must come first.

Priorities can easily get thrown out of whack, but here is how I view my priorities for relationships, which flow effortlessly when in their proper order:

Extended Family

All in all, I could soak in a bubble bath three times a day, go shopping, or go on vacation. I could work 80 hours a week, adopt twenty more children, or even homeschool. Yet the real question is, not when do I have time for myself, but have I made room for God?

Have I been willing to give God a bigger place in my life than finding enough time for me? Because there will never be enough time for me. But when I trust him,  he always gives all that I need and more. 

More of him. Less of me. He takes care of the rest.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19, NIV
He must become greater, I must become less. John 3:30, NIV
That's why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines. John 3:30, The Message
Next week I'll address the big question, "What about socialization?"

You can read previous posts on this series, Reasons Why I'd Never Homeschool, below:

I Wouldn't Have the Patience
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Stay with me on this journey by subscribing and/or joining Heavenly Glimpses Facebook page.

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