About the Author

Melissa Michaels is the NY Times Bestselling author of Love The Home You Have and The Inspired Room book. Her blog, The Inspired Room, was voted Better Homes & Gardens Readers' Favorite decorating blog in 2014 and 2015. Melissa is a church planter's wife and a mom to three human kids and...

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  1. oh. as a mom of five …girl, do i GET this. i have grown creative in my stolen moments over these past 16 years of mothering. when we bought our current home there was an intercom system. at first it seemed a grand thing. within months of hearing “mom. mom. MOM!” i had disabled it. i love the Great Calling of motherhood…but sometimes i need to hear the Quiet Whispering of my own Father. i wrote about this in a piece called “a good hiding place.” http://eventhesparrow843.blogspot.com/2011/07/good-hiding-place.html

  2. Hi Ms. Melissa,

    I am also a Pastor’s wife and a mother of three lovely daughters ages 15, 13 and 11. I am blessed by your blog as I can really relate to what you said.

    Thank you so much for verbalizing what I feel!

  3. What a lovely reflection on solitude and silence. I feel like it is a discipline we rarely hear about, even though we desperately need more of it in this crazy, media-overwhelmed world of ours. Thank you for your thoughts. And keep up the good (silent and solitary) work!

    Blessings,
    Jessica

  4. Thank you so much for the suggestions of ways to find quiet in my day. I have a 35 minute drive to work, but rather than spend it in quiet listening to God and talking to Him, I feel my car with NPR or our local Christian radio station. This one small step to quiet has been a gift I have overlooked. Thank for reminding me how important it is.

    I do, however, take the several hours of quiet a few times a year. I live about an hour and a half from the beach, so once every three or four months, I head there by myself to just be still and hear His voice.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Great post! I am at the other end of the mothering spectrum, at the Grandma end. I just recently quit my part time job to be home and babysit the Grandgirls a few days a week. I am fighting the”inner” noise of trying to run a business, and the newness of being home in an empty house all day… We have recently changed rooms around and I now have a chair by the window, my place of solitude with God…making it a priority daily to sit and spend time with Him… I now find I must make an effort to get out and fellowship rather than sit in my quiet house…

  6. Yes. And, the need for solitude is very real for introverts, no matter how effectively we might steal a moment here or there, or seek the silent refuge of our cars. I believe that silence is essential to experiencing spiritual grounding and communion with God. Silence alone, however, does not restore the soul. Each of us needs to follow the path that God has notched out within us, and the path of the introvert is different from the extrovert. I adore Richard Foster, and his words are wise. I think we each need to take from them what works for us.

    • Yes, I loved that he talked about the balance of community and aloneness, it is easy to go too far one way or another depending on our personality. Good to find a balance that works for who we are, as well as what God has called all of us to! Yes wise words indeed.

  7. Bonhoeffer was a very wise person who understood balance, as do others like Jean Vanier and the beautiful and common sense insights in this blog, thank you Melissa Michaels! It reflected my Joyce Meyer devotional this morning where she focused on wanting more of God and less of other things, something Jesus said to Martha “..you are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” It’s quite the challenge to learn to not focus on the many things that are fleeting and sometimes unimportant and focus instead on what cannot be taken from us, that is our faith and hope in Christ.

  8. Love this and perfect timing. I had just asked my community of my facebook page when was the last time they had been alone (and sleeping didn’t count!) Mom’s often seem to overlook the powerful time of just being – thank you for this reminder and some tips on how to achieve it!

  9. Bonhoeffer was a very wise person who understood balance, as do others like Jean Vanier and the beautiful and common sense insights in this blog, thank you Melissa Michaels! It reflected my Joyce Meyer devotional this morning where she focused on wanting more of God and less of other things, something Jesus said to Martha “..you are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” It’s quite the challenge to learn to not focus on the many things that are fleeting and sometimes unimportant and focus instead on what cannot be taken from us, that is our faith and hope in Christ. ( … sorry, I’ve had computer glitch and have had difficulty submitting, if you’ve received this before!)

  10. I love the whole idea of “little solitudes” that you’ve encouraged us to look for. They’re all around us, I’m sure … we’re just too preoccupied {a.k.a. online?} to see and claim them as our own.

    I like that at the beginning of the year we can begin to make those choices to make solitude a rhythmic part of our lives … how else can we receive all the comfort and affirmation and direction and grace we long for?

    OUR CROSSROADS MOMENT might add to the discussion
    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2012/01/our-crossroads-moment.html

  11. Thank you so much for these words of wisdom. Celebration of Discipline has been one of my all time favorites, and it’s a reminder for us to seek Him first, regardless of how busy our lives can be/get. I’m also a fellow pastor’s wife, with 2 little ones (2 1/2, and 6 months). It’s so hard to find a place of solitude. It was a blessing to see that it’s ok (and appropriate) to find short times of solitude in our routine. I recently blogged about that, too! 🙂 http://helenscornerblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/10-ways-for-busy-parent-to-slow-down.html Thanks again! I might just enjoy my peaceful walk to the mailbox! 🙂 And maybe it’s time to read that book again.

    • Hi Helen, I seem to re-read Celebration of Discipline every so often and I always find something new and timely! Blessings to you!

  12. Amen. You have spoken words that so many of us have lived. Balance . . . the word itself sounds so simple and perfect, yet the keeping of it causes us to use all our core muscles, strength and wisdom. A little support from God makes it do-able over a life time.
    Great post.

  13. I have my bedroom for solitude and am glad I do. I love pix of the shower and went to your site. Now I really want to redo my bedroom, which is so crowded because I have my desk in here, too, and I don’t want it anywhere else. I also subscribed to your site to, hoping it will egg me along to get this room rearranged so I have more room.

  14. There are days I find myself searching for the elusive moments of quiet I desperately need. I find myself craving an escape from the constant chatter and the never ceasing tug of war on my attention. Boy can my hubby and I relate. We both work in medical settings and the constant hum of phones, intercoms–it drives us crazy!

    We try to escape by coming to our house in the country &”vegging out”–sometimes by reading a book, or just sitting together doing nothing.

    God admonishes us to “Be still and know that I am God”. Tune out, turn off & just be still for a few seconds or minutes–reflecting on His goodness & greatness!

  15. This is so good. Thank you for sharing these tips and wisdom from the book you read. I have been wanting to find that quiet place in my home of 3 little boys, even if it is the corner of the couch before everyone wakes up for the day. I need it and your post confirms it. Thank your for sharing.

  16. Melissa, as I was reading this I was wondering if it was you writing! 🙂
    Timely post. Guess what I did last night…. While the rest of my family was amused, and my littlest one was asleep, I tucked myself in to warm up, lay perfectly still in soft, warm lighting, and listened to the quiet. I did not read, lurk, or watch tv. I had no one needing me for anything, and had had my fill of noise and visual “inspiration”.
    Then I had a full nights sleep, which is saying something in itself. I woke up feeling refreshed fr the first time in who knows how long! And I thought to myself, … Maybe I just need more sleep.

  17. A hard time in our family has caused me to hunker down and scale back on the social obligations. Although it’s been difficult, I have treasured the quieter moments at home.

  18. My weekends are my solitude and silence. After the noise of Monday-Friday, my soul craves silence and renewal. Thanks for this post. Inspiring.

  19. yes! This has been absolutely crutial to me with three littles, 4 and under. I’m finding that I LOVE showers too.. just for that extra 7 minutes of quiet. Recently my 9 month old has been sleeping until about 6am, I wake to feed her, put her back down and go downstairs for my time with the Lord until the chaos begins around 7am. And boy do I treasure that hour or so of stillness.

  20. I wrestle with a life filled with too much quiet. Forced into too much quiet. This has helped, thank you Melissa!

  21. I am so happy to have found your blog. It must be the times, but I too have been seeking solitude in our house. I have no children, but often have the feeling that I have no where to find a quiet place.

    I have recently decided that my home office will become my “place of refuge” and have begun to re-do it toward a quieter and more peaceful place. I have already created a small corner with a comfy chair and a small table with fountain, incense and candle. I use that space to think, read, meditate, pray … whatever I need at the time.

    Thanks so much for being there to motivate us and help us create a great life.

    Vicki

    • Hanks Vicki, you sound like you are in the same place I am in wanting your home office to be a place of refuge!! I’m looking forward to my comfy chair and candle 🙂

      • I also find myself going through the whole house removing unnecessary items and trying to keep all the papers, books and magazines that I seem to need! LOL

        “Simplicity” is my word for 2012.

        Vicki

  22. Thank you for reminding me about The Celebration of Discipline, which I read a number of years ago, and as far as I know is still in a bookshelf somewhere in our house. I need so badly to read it again!!!!

  23. Melissa,

    It was wonderful spending time with you this morning during my quiet moments, sipping coffee, after devotion and prayer. These are splendid ways to get my quality time. I just posted one of my favorite ways.

    Your Friend,
    Deborah

  24. Melissa, One of the reasons I started gardening was because being working out in the yard gave me that quiet place. At the time I started working in the yard, I was working full-time with three young children and a husband who was never home. Occasionally one of the kids would follow me into the yard but most of the time they avoided going outside with me for fear of being given tasks! A great getaway for me resulted in a beautiful garden for the family.

  25. Yes, yes, yes….finally someone who understands that a shower is not just a shower. I absolutely love your post today. It’s so good to know that other moms and wifes find themselves trying to find a hiding place in their own home. Haha, the shower is where I do alot of my thinking. I probably get my days share of creative ideas and gather myself while I have peace in the shower. Is that just crazy? Thanks for the inspiring words.

  26. Oh, how I love silence.

    I grew up Quaker, where silence was a built in part of every Sunday worship service. When I got older, I visited a traditional style Quaker meeting, where the entire worship service is held in silence. People only speak as they feel led, and it leads to a very meditative, thoughtful and spiritually nourishing worship, I think.

    I loved your quote from Bonhoeffer:

    “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community…Let him who is not in community beware of being alone… Each by itself has profound pitfalls and perils. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair.”

    Sometimes, I still long for the quiet, stillness of those traditional Quaker services. The best word I can use to describe them is, “restorative”. Especially in the world today, with so much busy-ness and such a frenetic energy to most activities.

    Thank you for this post and for pointing out just how important silence can be. Reading it meant a lot to me.

  27. I loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing, it seems to be a recurring message to me this month. I’m reading The Good Life by Ruth McGinnis and her chapter on Balance rings the same tone. She has a great idea which I’d like to try…

    She suggests having the house quiet for at least an hour before going to bed at night. No phone, tv, music, etc. Just a quiet house. Then she suggests activities that foster embracing the quiet and solitude – reading, a bath, reflection or prayer, etc.

  28. The timing of this post is amazing. Since the year started I’ve purposed to seek solitude with Him and I already see the results in my spiritual growth. Last year this was my greatest struggle, with my online business and life just getting in the way. When I think of it I feel like I’ve defrauded Him and myself in so many ways and purposed to change that in the new year. Now, I look for to the 30 minutes of solitude I carve out each day and I always feel so enriched and touched by His presence. Finding solitude may be a challenge and will often involve some creativity on one’s part, but the rewards are immense.

  29. That book by Richard Foster is amazing. I read it about 3 years ago and what he had to say was so profound, but so simple, it left me wondering why I hadn’t thought about or noticed similar things. So glad it was recommended to me. The more individuals I run into that have also read it are always astounded by his insights.

  30. I not only love my solitude, I need it! Whenever my husband has a night meeting, or needs to be away for the day, I schedule a vacation day from work. I try to have houshold chores done ahead of time, and I spend the day in solitude; praying, reading, writing, planning, goal setting, doing art work and pampering. Mmmmm……..

  31. I am like you in that I need solitude and ‘alone time’ to function well. I am glad you have a little space of your own, even if it is the shower:) My space is my studio, which isn’t always a place of solitude as the family float in and out for various reasons (!) but in between those moments I can snatch little moments to myself, and that seems to do the job. God bless x

  32. Sometimes it can be difficult.

    My husband is one of 4 boys and sometimes there were up to 100 dogs in the backyard. (No joke! His mom was a dog breeder and dog show person. Would have been great to play with all the puppies!)

    He likes having the TV on – even if he’s not in the room.
    Silence makes him edgy.

    Me? I was raised alone. Usually the TV is on. But, when I turn it off…sometimes I revel in the SILENCE. The silence can be so calming.

    I really need to seek out silence more often.
    Seek the still small voice.

    Melissa, thanks for the reminder.

    • My husband was an only child and he LOVES NOISE! I guess he is compensating for no siblings in his home growing up. He walks in a room and turns on sound. I walk in and turn it off! 🙂 I love silence. 🙂

  33. The mix of solitude & engagement is something I struggle with too, and I love the way this post addresses that. I want to be engaged with my family & community, yet I really do better when I have some quiet, alone time. (Which can be hard to get with 2 young children).

    Love all the suggestions, but especially #3. Sometimes I feel like I talk just to talk or share just to share. I am going to mull over being more selective.

  34. […] -Seeking Solitude is deeply relevant to us wanderers along our modern, networked roads (and bytes). The goal of finding and embracing solitude can be harder for moms than for most because of the little people around us and their continuous needs. I loved the words Melissa quoted from my favorite Richard Foster: “A frantic stream of words flows from us because we are in a constant process of adjusting our public image. We fear so deeply what we think others see in us that we talk in order to straighten out their understanding.” And equally, I liked her resolution in response: “I want to strive for more silence by being more selective in words I read, write, and speak both at home and online.” Amen to that. […]