I am an introvert. When I’ve been around my people all day long, helping, feeding, working, solving problems (although I love it and wouldn’t choose any other life), at some point, I need a moment of silence. When it’s been a particularly demanding day, boy, I need about 30 minutes of silence.
But let’s be realistic, moms. We often can’t get even one minute of silence, let alone 30. Here’s the truth—if we don’t withdraw in a healthy way, there’s a good chance we will withdraw in unhealthy ways. Here are three ways to withdraw effectively so that you are recharged and ready to re-engage with your people.
1. Withdraw regularly, without guilt.
For an introvert, withdrawing is a type of rest and recuperation. I believe God created rest. He even rested from creation on the seventh day. Rest is built into our human instincts. But as mothers, we are so used to putting our children’s needs first that we sometimes forget to rest ourselves. Especially during those infant and toddler years, I remember giving up on getting rest. Please hear this: It’s ok to get rest without guilt. Why? Because it makes us more prepared to be fully-present moms, responding with clear minds and healthy bodies.
2. Withdraw on purpose.
I used to start feeling empty and think this: I will just persevere. I am needed here. Although I remained physically present, I started to withdraw emotionally and socially. For me, this looked like getting really quiet, not responding much, zoning out, or avoiding problems. Every new request of me felt like dipping into a well with no water in it.
Introverts need to withdraw physically, to get away on purpose and with regularity. Have fun figuring out what kind of “me time” recharges you the most. Is it running on the treadmill? Going to a coffee shop? Roaming Target? I like to escape to the bubble bath nearly every night with a good fiction book. The quiet, the privacy, and the mental diversion all help me relax before bed. Find what recharges you.
3. Withdraw so you can engage with God.
I try to emulate Jesus, who I believe is the perfect person, and even he withdrew. And he did it often. Luke 5:16 says, “but Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” The meaning of the word “lonely” here means “without companions; solitary.” If I’m being totally honest, sometimes all the solitary time in the world isn’t going to refill me. I need to be refilled with a strength that is beyond my own human strength. When I withdraw into lonely places like Jesus did, I’m able to pray—to talk to God and listen for answers, to get away from the needs and the noise to make room for connecting with God. And when that happens, I can finally breathe again. I’ve never felt more recharged than in those moments. If you’ve never prayed before, think about giving it a try. Follow this link for help to get started.
It’s time to stop feeling guilty for being the introverted person God designed you to be. There’s nothing wrong with you. It isn’t selfish to have your introverted needs met. It goes back to the airplane safety rule: Put on your own “oxygen mask” before helping those around you.
Introverted moms, how do you withdraw regularly, in healthy ways?