When Something is Better Than Nothing

I have an alarm set so that I can wake up before my kids in order to snatch a minute or two of quiet for myself. I have about a 50-50 chance of it working as planned. Sometimes, IMG_7282someone is up in the middle of the night and I need an extra 20 minutes of sleep. Often, someone wakes up early and we’re all downstairs, starting the day with the sunrise. Naptime is often a guaranteed time of quiet when the house calms down and I can breathe. 1:00 is not my most productive time of day, but I’m learning to use it.

Sometimes, when I’m gifted a silent morning, I don’t know what to do. The house is too quiet; my thoughts have trouble organizing themselves; I’m used to writing in the chaos. It’s not ideal but it’s become my practice.

It makes me wonder how many other things are being done in a less-than-ideal space. I have a hard time balancing this idea of fitting life in all the spaces and waiting until a season makes sense. Right now, my creative outlet of writing is firmly in the margins. I know I don’t have the capacity to work beyond a blog post and I wonder, what’s the point? The point, of course, is that if I didn’t write blog post after blog post, I wouldn’t be writing at all. It’s a small discipline but it’s a discipline, nonetheless.

For a time, I did a traditional “quiet time,” reading the Bible at a set time every day. Our schedules have changed and I haven’t found that perfect time again. I know it will return someday and in the meantime, I keep my Bible out and ready. If I didn’t snatch a bit here or there, nothing would happen.

It’s the same for cleaning, for entertaining, for date nights and conversations. I’m learning that something is better than nothing, even in that most imperfect form. I was talking with a friend who reminded me that I won’t be snatching moments forever; that our lives and schedules will change soon enough. But I have to ask, what am I doing now in preparation for that time?

What are practices you must squeeze into the margins of life, when doing them imperfectly is just as important as having all the time in the world?

Linked with Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “silence.”

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17 thoughts on “When Something is Better Than Nothing

  1. My kids are getting older, and I have more time to write. I relish the time, but I’m sad that I don’t have babies and toddlers too. The old adage is so true – the days are long but the years are short. May your margin-filling continue to nourish you and produce fruit!

  2. I tell myself something is better than nothing when I manage to make myself exercise. Wish I were kidding! I know what you mean about unexpected moments. I have trouble knowing what to do first.

  3. I am more intentional about Bible reading and getting a moment of quietude in the morning while everyone is asleep. I think you’re right to get some quiet time in while you can. I hope you can find the rest you need after a long day and squeeze in a nap for sure. Those are real booster shots for me!

    1. I’m remembering that God doesn’t care about the minutes I spend but the intention. I think he knows these little years so much better than I do and I need to extend grace to those moments. Thanks for your encouragement!

  4. Having young kids is a different stage. Can I encourage you to accept the grace God has for those who watch over their young? When my kids were little, we found ways to include God in our everyday activities—so we’d go for a walk and I’d point out how God created creatures differently for different reasons (even the yucky critters). Praying that you find the rest you need.

    1. Thank you so much for these encouraging words! I can get caught up in what life should like and I need to remember that God knows the details. He’s not keeping score or adding up minutes but knows these seasons and intentions. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I can really relate to the “what’s the point” when facing the need for disciplined action under hard circumstance.

    I still do a two-hour workout five days a week, during which I pass out several times and always wind up passing blood. And every day I make excuses to do it, when my body is quailing before the task ahead.

    And what’s the point? Yes, I’ve maintained the 50-inch chest and 32-in waist and the big biceps, but who really cares?

    Actually, no one NEEDS to care; the important thing i the discipline itself, the discipline to stay strong physically, which begets mental strength…which for me, means life.

    Pain means you’re still alive, and blood does make the grass grow green. I have learned that there are no truer words.

    1. Right? I often need to step back and see the bigger picture. What’s the point often doesn’t fit into the daily but into the overarching goals and mindset. Thanks for your perspective!

      1. In an interesting bit of serendipity (though painful for Barbara), I did learn ‘the point of maintaining fitness. Barb pulled a muscle in her back yesterday, and has been virtually unable to move, so I have to be the support she needs to change position in bed, and get to and from the lav…and I have to pick her up without stretching her back.

        All those pullups…the chinning bar really IS my friend.

  6. Almost all of my children are on their own now, with families of their own. I tell them to enjoy every minute with their children while they are close, as the time moves faster than we can imagine. We have just one more left at home and I find myself trying to follow my own advice. In this season am able to have a daily quiet time with the Lord, almost scheduled, but I still find minutes throughout the day for imperfect prayer and He’s always there.

    1. I love your perspective! It’s such a reminder that this discipline can be shaped in whatever season we’re in – that even with the kids out of the house, it’s a choice to carve out those moments. Thanks for your encouragement!

  7. It’s easy to think if we can’t do it perfectly, then why bother? But that paralyzes us from really taking steps forward in Christ. Thanks for this reminder that baby steps are better than no steps.

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