I’d Rather Be Doing Something…Alone
As a type A, task-oriented, “high functioning introvert”, some of my best moments are spent alone–creating, reflecting, accomplishing. Crossing items off my to-do list. Making things happen. Motivating others. Planning great things.
If you’re familiar with the biblical account of Mary and Martha, I’m definitely a Martha. I’m a doer. Stopping to focus on relationships can be a real challenge–I’d rather be doing something.
As a wife and homeschooling mother of three who operates a blog and an essential oils business, serves at church in a major ministry role, participates actively in our homeschool co-op, and prepares most of our family’s gluten-free real-food from scratch, you’d better believe I’ve got plenty to do at any given time.
Will You Love Me?
Recently, God used my eldest son to deliver a poignant reminder in the midst of my task-driven, can-do world of lists and calendars and action plans.
Older Brother, age 8, loves to create. He’s always building or designing something, and he loves to draw. Now that he’s learning to spell and write more proficiently, he also loves to make signs and write little notes to each of us, and it’s not unusual to find his little messages scattered throughout the house.
A few months ago, this son got on a kick of embellishing little pieces of paper with catchy phrases, likely inspired by those candy conversation hearts that appear around Valentine’s Day. You know, Be Mine, Call Me, You & Me, and the like.
At any rate, I began to discover countless tiny notes hidden around the house, each bearing the same question: Will you love me?
He hid them on my nightstand, in the kitchen, under my dinner plate, and just giggled with delight whenever I found another one.
After a while, I started to wonder if this repeated question held a deeper meaning. Mr. Native Texan didn’t think so–he was just being goofy and imitating those little candy hearts.
But the question posed over and over by my eight-year-old son really stuck with me.
Truly, it’s the question that each of us carries around in our hearts. Will you love me? And each of us has the choice, every day, to choose our answer to that question. To choose relationships or to-do lists; intentional love or unintentional distraction.
Believe me, I know the struggle. I don’t always win, but I’m keeping my son’s little note as a reminder to choose to pour intentional love into his young life, and into the lives of his brothers (and their father).
What does this look like? For me, it might mean…
- playing a game of Uno with the boys when I have a million other things to do
- completing a search and find with my five year old during rest time, even though it’s “my” time to get things done (Our collection of I Spy books are his favorite right now, and some days it feels like I’ll be search-and-finding FOREVER.)
- spending about 15 minutes once every week or two to read with each child from a special ongoing book while snuggling in the big pillows on my bed at bedtime (Older Brother and I recently finished From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and have moved on to Otto of the Silver Hand. Little Brother and I are working our way through this Children’s Book Treasury.)
- taking my crew on a spontaneous nature outing on a beautiful day
- inviting one child to work with me in the kitchen, even though it slows me down
- reading to the boys after lunch from a special non-lesson book, just for fun (We recently finished Owls in the Family, and are also working our way through the Little House series.)
- making Meadow Tea on a summer day when I hadn’t really planned on it, just because the kids spontaneously decided to harvest a huge pile of mint
- listening, noticing and asking questions when my child proudly shows me a completed creation (even when there are 573 details that take 7 years to explain and I really should be getting back to my to-do list)
- tucking in each child every night with our own special goodnight rituals, even though it’s been such a long day–most of which I’ve spent with them–and I’m desperate for a few moments to myself
- being fully present when my child speaks to me–looking at them (instead of at my phone or computer) and listening to their story or joke or question
- insert your own here: ______________________________
Building with an Undivided Heart
The thing I must remember is that in spite of all the pressing tasks that fill my days and my to-do lists, one of my most important jobs is to build up my family by serving them with an undivided heart.
Proverbs 14:1 says that The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
“I have never met a mother who has told me she willingly set out to tear down her own house…with her own hands. Yet many a mother has shared with me her regrets that she unwittingly did just that….because her misplaced priorities or divided heart kept her from doing what she needed to do for the sake of her children. If we want to be wise mothers, we must recognize our need to commit to what we’re doing. We need to plan for building our house, and we need to keep monitoring our progress to ensure we’re not tearing down what we mean to build.”
And so, my answer is Yes.
Because I desire to build my house wisely–with an undivided heart–when my children come to me with their needs and their questions and their hurts and their joys, in essence asking Will you love me?, my answer is Yes.
- Yes, I will listen to your question.
- Yes, I want to see your creation.
- Yes, I will read you a story.
- Yes, I will watch your new trick.
- Yes, you may work with me in the kitchen.
- Yes, I will look at you while you speak to me.
Yes, I will love you.
What does it look like to choose love at your house, with your own family?