Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
When you don’t have an apron. . .
Have you heard of Susanna Wesley? Born in the mid-1600’s, she was the mother of Charles and John Wesley, ministers of the Methodist movement. But Charles and John were not her only children. She had 17 others, for a total of 19! Can you imagine? Nineteen children.
How did she ever get a moment of peace?
Susanna didn’t have a quiet corner in her home, but prayer was important to her. She found her quiet time by pulling her apron over her head. Literally. That signaled her children that she was praying, and they left her to it. She found her peace in communion with God, her rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
You may not have an apron, but it is important to find a space and time to quiet your mind and pray or meditate. Sometimes we have to be creative. How can you find the time, and perhaps more importantly the motivation, to quiet your mind? And what can you do to find peace in a day filled with kids, noise, chores, work, and a busy lifestyle?
Here are a few essentials to help you embrace your quiet time and place for prayer.
Despite the desire to find space and quiet, we may not always feel that taking time is to our benefit. We convince ourselves there is just too much to do. Create a positive and motivating environment in your home with essential oils. Inhaling these aromas can impact your mood. Different aromas provide calm for your mind and encouragement to find time for peace and prayer.
Having an essential oil diffuser nearby is a great way to create a serene environment. A diffuser also supports a calm environment for your children while you to take a time out. Try diffusing oils that will invite grounded feelings like Lavender, Frankincense, or Sandalwood.Smell connects to the emotional part of the brain.
Smell engages memories and affects our moods. Think about how frustrated you can become by a bad smell. You open the windows in the evening and smell a skunk. Yuk. But what if you smell the blooming lilacs or the fresh rain? Ah, so relaxing. I have diffusers all over my home. I run them to set the mood, whether I want focus and energy or peace and quiet.
If you don’t have a diffuser, you can put a drop of essential oil in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, and then cup your hands around your nose to inhale. Take deep, cleansing breaths. You should feel an almost immediate release of tension. Concentrate on relaxing your shoulders and neck muscles. Breathe in the oils and focus on relaxing from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. For relaxation, use the oils mentioned above. If you are trying to focus, try peppermint oil or a citrus like lemon. These essential oils are refreshing and uplifting and will help you find concentration.
Essential oils can also be used topically to support your prayer or meditation practice. Rollers are so easy to make. Add your oil of choice to a roller. Use about 10-15 drops of essential oil, then add a carrier oil (olive, grapeseed, coconut) to fill the bottle almost full. Cap, shake, and you are ready to roll. Having rollers on hand allows you to grab them at a moment’s notice. Keep several throughout the house. Apply oils to wrists, neck, temples, or back of neck to help you relax and refresh. The same oils for your diffuser will work in your roller. Try Frankincense, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, or Vetiver. Sometimes Peppermint can be calming because it energizes and lifts the mind. Spearmint is another good choice.
A Good Book or a Devotional
Reading refocuses your brain away from the stress of the day. You can read a short psalm, a quick devotional, or lose yourself in a story when you have a bit more time. Sometimes I enjoy poetry because it is short and inspiring. Your mind is allowed to escape to another place, which is refreshing.
Music soothes. It can change your mood. It can quiet your soul or recharge your body. It just depends on what you need. For quiet times, I like to choose instrumental music so I am not distracted by trying to remember the words. A few years ago, I realized how soothing classical music can be. I hadn’t really listened to it previously, but sometimes it is exactly what I need—a soft background while I just allow my mind to wander. If you find music too distracting, try a white noise app on your phone. If you need more energy because that relaxes you and eases your tension, then put on some upbeat music and dance.
Turn Off the Technology
Sometimes we think a quick look at our phone or social media page will relax us. But often, it just creates more tension as we read about someone else’s problems. Or, it tempts us to compare our lives with others, which can leave us feeling defeated. Of course, we care about others, and we can pray for and help them when we can. But our own quiet time is to restore ourselves, so it’s not a good time to check on what the world is doing.
Exercise can be energizing or relaxing and can also be a way to find quiet space. Taking a walk or doing yoga are two types of exercise breaks that allow time for prayer and meditation. Sometimes, I just like to lie on the floor and take deep breaths. I might throw in some leg lifts or sit ups, depending on how stressed I am. Or perhaps you enjoy a more energizing form of exercise like running or lifting weights. While you concentrate on the moves, your brain gets a time out.
Hopefully, one or all of these practices will help refresh you when it’s time to take a break. If you can get away to a separate room for a few minutes, that’s helpful. But remember, you can create “space” anywhere you choose. And, if you need to, go buy an apron.