Processing as a Habit

I was talking with a friend the other day about how excited I was for a weekend to myself. I was planning on reading, napping, and talking minimally with others. His first question was, So you’re an introvert?

I’ve always struggled with the introvert-extrovert scale. I love people; I love entertaining; I love not talking to anyone for an entire day; I love time to recharge. As I was reading the description for Intellection, my fifth strength, this phrase stuck out:

You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. You are introspective. StrengthsFinder , pg 129

That’s what has been the most challenging thing for me as a mom. I have to squeeze any reflective time into the margins – from journaling and Bible study to reflecting on life decisions. A lot of my reflective time before kids happened in my 20-minute commute to and from work. I was able to drive in silence, processing the day. Now, I don’t have a commute, so I process on the fly, when I can.

I think it’s an unrealistic expectation to have enough quiet time – that’s certainly not a “mom” problem but a “we live a full life” problem. Carving out time is equally difficult for Frank or for my friends without kids.

I was talking with friends about prayer time the other day – when do you do it? How do you set aside time? The answer is, I don’t. But I try to listen to the nudging of prayer during my daily activities. At our old house, whenever I would clean a certain corner of our kitchen, my cousin’s wife came to mind. So I stopped an prayed. Now, several years and a move later, I still pray for her as a clean the kitchen. It’s a habit. Another friend came to mind as I tidied the tub after bath time. Now, each time I clean up the bath toys, pray for my friend and her own little girls.

I guess processing life is like that, too. Sometimes I’ll have a whole blissful weekend to myself. But the majority of my time is filled with other things – good, important things – but quiet isn’t one of them. So, I’m learning to train myself to process at certain times, while brushing teeth or before bed or after nap and quiet rest. I’m learning that habits are formed no matter how much or little time there is to devote.

Hopefully, just as forming good eating and sleeping habits take time, the time spent on recognizing my need to process will eventually become a habit. One that I can practice even in the midst of this precious-yet-chaotic season.

Are you a processor? How do you find time to stop and think about decisions in the midst of a busy life?

livinThis post is Day 2 of the Write 31 Day Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the StrengthsFinder test. You can find the entire series over at Live Your Strengths page

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4 thoughts on “Processing as a Habit

  1. I am a processor for sure. My husband sometimes looks over at me and asks, “Processing that experience?” I have more time now than when I had five children at home, but, I think your idea of training your mind to process at certain times is brilliant.

    1. Oh yeah, my husband totally doesn’t get how much I need to process! 😉 I already see these traits in our daughters, so modeling positive processing behavior is a motivator, too.

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