Finding My Thinky Place

I’ve started three different posts on three different subjects but my thoughts are just in big knots tonight and I can’t untangle the mess. A sweet friend sent me a one-sentence email Monday that said “Let’s take a few days and go hide somewhere and read, write, talk, cry . . .” And I’d add “laugh until we can’t breathe and eat fun food.” She and I had a chance to eat lunch yesterday and on the way home I realized that during our time together I’d said a lot of things that were just raw, unprocessed, incomplete thoughts. Some of them probably should have baked a little longer before I’d offered them for public consumption. Thankfully, I think/hope/pray she’s a friend who takes what I say with a heavy helping of salt.

I’m not in the dumps. I’m not in a bad place at all. Just a little thinky, I guess. I just think somehow I’ve let life get away from me and I haven’t had taken time to just be still and think a thought all the way through to its completion. I need to take some time. Time to wrestle with some questions that keep surfacing in my thoughts. To look up some verses in the Bible and study them word by word. To be still and listen. To daydream. To do inventory. To set goals. To be still and think of nothing at all. To take all the time we need to deeply communicate heart stuff with a friend. To laugh so much and so loud and so hard that we forget why we started laughing in the first place. To cry the kind of cry that makes my heart and soul feel freshly washed and clean when I’m finished, like a deep, cleansing breath. To write down some of the thoughts that keep floating in my brain and that bump into other thoughts. To intercede in prayer for and with a friend. To have an uninterrupted conversation with my Father. To think about my earthly dad. To read wise things much wiser people have written.

Is it just me or do you ever feel like that, too? If or when you do, what do you do about it? Have you ever had a time like the one I’m describing?  If you’ve found a home for your thinky place, tell us how you did it. Do you plan regular times away? Do you have an agenda for those times or do you just let the time arrange itself? Do you get away by yourself or with others? How do you negotiate time away from your kids? Do you feel guilty for taking time-for-me retreats? Talk to me, friends.



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22 responses to “Finding My Thinky Place

  1. You mean like the time I’m having right now?

    One of the reasons I’m not blogging as much. Can’t seem to get this jumbled mess in my brain down on screen.

    If I could have 3 weekends…one to just be by myself w/ God (preferably in a hotel right on the beach), one to be w/ a good friend and God (preferably in a hotel right on the beach), and one to be with just my husband and God (preferably in a hotel right on the beach), that would be great.:)

    You’re not alone, my thinky friend.

  2. Gretchen

    Well, I didn’t send that…or did I? I guess the point is, I could’ve sent it. :). Sometimes life just needs to be lived & moved thru, (sorry about my grammar), rather than processed. Carpools, meals, owwies, sibling drama, Bible studies, marriages, grieving, going to Target…they all scream for attention…sometimes all at once. And these attention screamers aren’t bad things in & of themselves. But all of them can distract from the still, small voice. The word which comes to mind as you’ve brought me to my thinky place is: SABBATH. Complete rest & joy in Him. A refilling of the tank, such that we CAN process, rather than pile. We Christians–or at least this Christian–are often very sucky at doing a sabbath, what with all the important things at church & all.

    I think this is one of the reasons I was craving my trip to NC so. It’s rest. It’s giggling & wine & tears & blessing God, & delighting in each moment.

    Going to stop this novella & wish you a wonderful thinky time, my friend. Love u so.

  3. Even in your untangled mess of thoughts – you find the words to express where I am. Sometimes life is just easier to plow through than to actually live it.

    I am ready to go when you are 🙂 I know of a certain lake house sitting empty right this minute we could barge in on. I think we all need that time away – to recharge, to think, to talk so we know what we are feeling. To FEEL.

    I have never actually gone and done this – just think it would be nice. I always envy the person who goes away for a few days for solitude to write and think. I have tried it at home – when the kids and B are all gone but I always seem to find other things to do. I see the laundry, the projects, the messes and feel obligated to work around the house.

    And I love our raw and unprocessed conversations – isn’t that really what a good friend is? One who you have the freedom to express the raw and unprocessed thoughts swirling around.

  4. Yes, I’ve felt like that…particularly when my children were smaller and I never felt like I even finished a sentence, much less a thought.

    One thing I used to do was go take a personal retreat. [Sitting here wondering why I never do that anymore].

    There are a couple of great “retreat” spots in my town–a prayer room at Glen Eyrie, comfy chairs overlooking Pikes Peak at the World Prayer Center, etc and I’d usually go for the day with my Bible, journal and a pen and come home refreshed.

    Maybe you could work out a day to do that somewhere. I highly suggest a stop by Starbucks first though.

    BTW, can we talk next week instead of this one?I’ve got some full days.

  5. Oh girl I need some time too. The problem is that I’m not sure how to get it. Or how to get my brain to quiet down and listen. . . . I’m praying for you — because I know how hard it is when everything starts getting jumbly!

  6. Our small group at church spent a LONG time talking about this subject on Sunday night. It is amazing how critical…not just ideal, but critical, it is to have time…repeatedly…not just occassionally, to back away from the hustle and bustle of life, and spend time being still with God, allowing ourselves to be renewed from the inside out. We sometimes act like it is a self-indulgent treat that we might be able to make time for on special, but rare occasions. Really, that regular, and repeated time with Him is what helps us become what He desires for us to be. God set aside 1 in every 7 days for us to “rest and be with Him”, (regular and repeated)…but how many of us really spend the whole day doing just that? Not this girl. Even if we think about tithing our time…how many of us spend anywhere near 1/10th of our waking time really “with” Him? Again, for me…not even close.

    I’m sooo right there with everyone on not getting around to making it happen, but I’m starting to realize that I can’t feel guilty for really making an effort for to allow it to happen.

  7. I feel like that a lot. I think some of it is the season we are in with little people. It’s hard to get time away. Even if my husband is willing to let me get away, which he is, it is still hard because then thoughts don’t want to slow down at all and the lists get longer, etc.

    For me, I just have to remind myself to just do the next thing. Take baby steps. Give myself time to process. Remember it won’t happen overnight. 🙂

  8. Well, you just NAILED my life right now. And I can’t even comment, because I need to process your post.

  9. I have never.ever. had a time alone to sit/pray/read/etc. not for any length any way or before someone peeks under the door asking for Goldfish or needing help in the potty.

    But, I think that would be just divine (literally) 😉

    Because I can’t imagine that there isn’t a wife/mom out there who doesn’t feel exactly as you described.

    My thoughts play bumper cars hitting one another and knocking one that was on track off and another takes its place…overwhelming, to say the least.

    Love you, friend.

  10. Isn’t it nice to know you are not alone? You know, I’ve just recently had to step back and start saying “No” to some things. They were good things. And so were even fun things – like blogging. But these “things” were creating more noise in my life. I’m coming off of a whilrwind year, and I began to realize that I took care of my family through the ups and downs, but I never really took care of myself. So, I’ve had to quiet the noise in my life and shift my mind to myself and my God. It’s not the mountian retreat (I’m not a beachy gal — something about swimsuits) I really desire, but it is better than the constant going. It was like all my activity was to block out that still, small voice. I think some was intentional. Not that I was mad at God, but I was afraid of my feelings and emotions. I was afraid that once I got started, I wouldn’t be able to stop. But now that I’ve used my days to intentionally “talk” with Him about some of them, we are getting through it. It is a tough season of life and my heart is tired from some of the struggle. I still want a weekend away, and it will come. But, I just couldn’t put God off any longer.

  11. whimzie

    Thanks for these comments, friends! I’m loving what you’re saying. So should I book us a block of rooms? 🙂

    Good advice here, good points, good thoughts. Thank you for taking the time to share them with the rest of us! Keep ’em coming!

  12. I make lists. And then lists of lists. And then I usually lose or throw out the lists, because what I really needed was to see my thoughts on paper. To have my schizophrenia ordered and tamed. And made smaller ’cause even though the list is long, it’s still smaller than that blob of confusion and unknown that was swarming before.

  13. I kind of feel skiddish at even thinking about taking some time for myself partly because I know it’s VERY unlikely to happen for me. But it sounds divine. Absolutely wonderful. Maybe I’ll find a way… someday.

  14. Betty Boop

    Be still and know that I am God……so hard for me to be still. I find myself constantly in motion….
    We say in CR that we constantly are spinning plates…trying to keep them all going at the same time. When one stops, we have to keep it going and then another and another, etc.
    Maybe we should just let them all fall and see what happens……I bet it won’t be the end of the world!! God will still be in control and w/o my help!!!

  15. I’m currently in a month long “thinky place”. I normally tend to call my girlfriends and talk all my thoughts out. I’m trying to not do that (as much)…I’m trying to “think and dump”. I’m trying to process my thoughts(some super deep/some not so much) and then dump them. I’ve found that I hold on to some negative thoughts that take a life of their own….and then seem to snuff out my joy. You are not alone in your thinking…in fact, that comforts me….to know that I’m not alone either 😉

  16. I am so there with you, friend.

  17. I am with Marla….so book me a room….

  18. Well, Whimz, (can I call you Whimz even though I don’t know you) I know exactly whereof you speak. Since I can’t afford a hotel on a beach (too lovely, I think I drooled when I read that), and since my husband and young kids cannot survive if I took a day off, I’ve learned to grab my notebook and Bible and head to a nearby lake or a quiet park with a picnic table. Just for a few hours, not long enough to process EVERYTHING, but long enough to process enough. The best time for me is on Sunday afternoons right after lunch while the kids are napping and back in time for supper. Of course, the last time I did that was in October when there was still a SUN in the sky. During the winter? I haven’t found a suitable hideout here, yet, but I’m searching.

    And if you do book a block of rooms, invite me to the thinking party!

  19. I write. I walk. I craft. I do something by myself.

    We have a place here called “Kids Clubhouse” that works like a drop-off center. They have padded rooms and games and ball pits and all kinds of stuff that kids love. I drop my kids off there and walk around the corner to Starbucks where I sit with a book or my laptop and just clear my mind.

    If Kids’ Clubhouse isn’t open and I really need a thinky spot, we go to IKEA where I drop the kids in the Smaaland (or whatever the Swedes call it) and I hang in one of their 3-walls rooms. I only get an hour, but sometimes that’s all I need.

    My husband is really good at noticing when I need a break and helping me to take one. When I lived in Bosnia a mature Christian told me that people can be dehydrated long before they feel thirsty. The same is true for our emotional and spiritual health. We need to keep drinking the Living Water if we plan to stay healthy and sane. Even when we don’t feel thirsty.

    I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent here, haven’t I? Maybe that reflects the thinky place I need to visit today. 😉

  20. This has nothing to do with your post… but I just read your comment on my blog & had a good chuckle. I don’t have a greenhouse! I have pots sitting in sunny places (not always convenient) & as soon as it warms up enough, everything will move outside. I just try to grow easy things! I’m using those little brown starters that you can put directly in the ground for the seeds, but last spring I waited until it was fairly warm & planted seeds in big pots until they were good sized plants, then put them in the ground. I have no knowledge at all about greenhouses…. Sorry.

  21. This is one of the main reasons I run, my friend. NO DISTRACTIONS!!! Do I feel guilty for it?Nope, not at all. Running is the only time during the day I have to myself where I am not surrounded by others (whether it be kids, hubby, friends). I do MOST of my praying when I am running. I also memorize scripture while running (I take little index cards with me). I think and think and think ALOT while running.

    I LOVE to write in my prayer journal but if I get interrupted I get frustrated, so I don’t do it as often as I would like. B/C of my job it is hard to do before everyone wakes up in the morning.

    I loved your post but I love your heart even more!!!

  22. I have a love/hate relationship with the thinkyness of life for all the reasons you described…For me Thinkyness does end up in withdrawal. I cannot think and be social, which is so funny for a butterfly like me.

    I journal a lot. And read.

    And this post reminds me I haven’t had a good cry in so long…

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