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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Self-Imposed Exile

Do you ever periodically become overwhelmed with life that you retreat for a while?  You know, where you pull back from as much as possible and just surround yourself with the solace of family or work or cooking - that which feeds your soul.  A place that is safe and devoid of conflict or drama.  I find I do this self-imposed exile a couple times a year.  I retreat to the confines of my home surrounded by my family for refreshment.  I take time to watch movies and read with my kids.  I sit and talk with the hubs.  We figure things out together.  I organize rooms, clean closets, put things in order.

Any good shrink will tell you, that you put things in order in your home when things are "out of order" in your life. My mom used to re-arrange the house all the time!  Ha!

So, while I'm entrenched in family or accomplishing tasks, I'm thinking about the situations in life I'm retreating from.  You might read this as running away.  You'd probably be right!  I recently heard a sermon on how Moses ran away to the middle of the dessert after committing murder.  He had this self-appointed exile for 40+ years.  Now, I'm not that extreme - and I haven't committed murder, so my brief retreats to restore my mind/body/spirit seem appropriate to my suburban-homemaker life.

The thing about exile is that something has to change if you plan on returning.  A change in perspective, a shift in values, cutting things out of the schedule, removing yourself from other peoples' lives.  Or maybe you need to start something: intentionally investing in relationships around you, exercise, healthy eating, getting a pet, volunteering, writing, reading, daily time with God.  Your lists on either side, pairing down or adding value could go on ad nauseam.

What needs to change?  Since, I continue to indulge in these extended retreats, I'm not sure I've figured out the answer - or what needs to change isn't truly within my realm of control - or what needs to change, keeps evolving (life is a journey, you know!).  If it's not within my realm of control or keeps changing, I have to just figure out how to deal with my circumstances along the way.  Roll with it.  Continually realign my perspective with what's right and true.  If I'm just putting myself in the same situations again and again - that's a different story:  if you keep doing things the same way, you'll continue getting the same results - which, by the way, is defined as insanity.

This go 'round, I'm reminding myself of what true friendship is.  True friendship isn't self-serving and isn't limited by distance.  I'm identifying the blessings in my life - we live in a world of excess - and our family, our community has so much.  I'm finding my way back to surrender - fully leaning on God - which is exactly where He wants me.

Wondering how you retreat - how you find refreshment - what life lessons you learn along the way - and how often (like me) you might have to learn the same lesson.

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