Sabbath, Part 1: How Not to Get “Squishy Brain”

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In order to explain the “squishy brain” diagnosis I need to start at the beginning. A few years ago, my oldest daughter stopped taking naps. All my fellow stay-out-home mommas out there know that is NOT a happy day. Fortunately, she was fairly content to spend time in her room anyway, playing happily with toys for about an hour, so all was not lost. “Room time”, as we affectionately call it, is glorious. It’s quiet, peaceful, and I have a breather where I can decompress, get anything done I can’t do with constant interruptions, and possibly have some time to read or rest. That’s the ideal scenario. Every once in awhile, however, my daughter decides room time is not for her, and those days become rather, ahem, difficult. That’s why a few months back we had to have a talk about the serious condition known as “squishy brain.” It went something like this:

“You see, honey, everyone needs at least a little alone time in a day, and if we don’t get that, it’s not good for us.”

“Why?”

Yeah, saw that comin’ from a mile away. “Well, we start to get grouchy.”

“I don’t get grouchy.”

Hmmm….I could argue this point but I think it would end badly. “Well, momma gets grouchy sometimes if I don’t have alone time.”

“Well, I don’t need alone time because I don’t get grouchy, so I’ll just stay with you.”

Flawless logic, little friend. “Well, you see, ALL of us need alone time, because if we don’t get alone time, everything crowds in. All the noise, and the being with other people, and everything just crowds us and it squishes our brain.” Yikes, now I see where she gets her logic. Please accept this explanation, PLEASE.

“Our brains get SQUISHED?” *VERY skeptical expression*

“Yes, squished. We get squishy brain because of all the crowding. So I guess we’ll just have to have our alone time to keep from getting squishy brain!” If I act confident and matter-of-fact she will eventually just roll with it. This is a THING. Squishy brain is totally a thing.

Since this conversation she has seemed to accept that alone time is just a necessary part of life. Every time she is resistant to it, I just remind her of “squishy brain” and she concedes. And, truth be told, she really is much happier if we build that quiet time into our day, though she may not recognize it. I know I didn’t recognize my need for alone time for many years, so I don’t expect her to. Let’s be honest, sometimes I STILL have trouble recognizing my needs. I find myself chugging along in a week, totally unaware of what’s happening on the inside, and then, slowly, my insides start leaking and I realize what’s happening in there may be just a teensy bit toxic. Or worse, BAM-it explodes, and the ugliness is EVERYWHERE and everyone is painfully aware that my brain is squished. See, it’s a thing.

So here’s what I’ve learned. Even when my daughter has room time, even when I have the opportunity to take a breath and slow down, it’s possible not to. Sometimes the day just gets away from me, my to-do list is longer than Crystal Gayle’s hair, and my brain is so much on hyperdrive that it actually starts squishing ITSELF. I can get to a point where my brain is actually SELF SQUISHING. Not healthy, people. So how do I protect myself from this awful phenomenon? Well, in a word, sabbath.

Sabbath is a concept in Scripture that has to do with rest, which is something I’ve struggled with over the years. I’m not a scholar, so I won’t try to give you a whole theological/biblical study on this, because there are many people much more educated than I that have written extensively about it. I’m just going to take a few posts to share what God has taught me personally, and hopefully it will be encouraging. I’ve had to learn some lessons the hard way, but if my mistakes can benefit someone else, I’m happy to share them! So stay tuned this week for some of my blunders regarding “Sabbath”, and what I’ve learned from them…

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