Finding the Balance: Space & Community {#WholeMama}

My posting schedule is off this week, because sometimes you just need to take a step back. Sometimes you need space.

And how fitting, because today #WholeMama is talking about space.

Chicago Sunset

I see my children struggle with space. Desiring it yet also wanting to be surrounded by each other, their friends. Me. Space is funny that way, isn’t it? We desire space, we need it, but we also need and desire community. I don’t know about you, but I struggle in the very same way. My desire for community and my desire for space at odds with each other. Throw into the mix, 4 children that desire all of me, a wonderful husband that enjoys being around me (crazy, I know!), an amazing community of friends that are more like family, and a God that wants my time to honor Him. And that’s where I am: jumping headfirst into community while keeping boundaries that value my quiet time and my family time. 

SPACE = QUIET TIME

I have shared before how I love quiet time. During the school year quiet time comes easy, almost naturally. (You can read about how I do it, here.) But right now, it is summer time. That grand time of year where family vacations, sprinklers, gardens, and backyard adventures reside. And for me, summer is also the time of year that kills my quiet time. 

I know, I know.That’s a little dramatic. But really, I’m excited if I get 10 minutes of pure quiet. So excited, in fact, that each of those gloriously quiet times have made it onto my thankfulness list. For now, I will continue to be thankful for those ten minutes. Those glimpes, the reminders of the quiet time that I used to take for granted. I may also be eagerly awaiting the start of school in a month. (Remind me of this when my daughter goes to KINDERGARTEN and I am bawling!)

SPACE & COMMUNITY

I also love community (I shared about my love for community, here). We moved closer to our church about a year ago, and I can honestly say that life has been seriously different. I was battling fierce loneliness. I was struggling with dealing with four children, one of which has special needs. And last summer I just hit the end. I couldn’t do it alone anymore. I needed people. So we moved closer to our church home. And I jumped into community. (You can read more about this journey, here.)

Yes, community can be hard. Yes, community can be awkward. But I knew what I needed, so I pushed past embraced the awkward and began inviting people into our lives, our home. And I loved it! I so enjoyed meeting new families. Building deeper relationships with those I already knew. This was exactly what I was missing and needed more of. I cherish my Bible study group, the women I meet with during the month, and the women I talk to more on text messages. Each one speaks into my life and is an immense blessing to me.

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But then one month I realized we had no open weekends. We had booked our month so full with meeting new people and building relationships that we didn’t set aside any time for rest. For us. For quiet. Community had gotten in the way of our much needed space. We were so busy, so focused on building community (and the oh so many people to meet!) that we forgot about the importance of rest and guarding our space.

Which brought me back to boundaries. I admit, I love boundaries. A lot. And after the month of fun community but no family time, I enacted a new one. We still invite community in a few weekend days a month (this does not include my weekdays), but we keep half the weekends just for family. It means we see and meet less people each weekend, but it also means that we find rest. It means we enjoy time as a family. I rest in knowing that there is time and that there will always be new people to meet. And that, friends, makes me excited. Because it means I can continue to grow in my quiet time, my quiet space and continue to grow in community. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

They just need boundaries so they can both grow. Together. 

Which leads me back here. In this space of sometimes quiet. And I remember, that space and community can live together. They can both thrive. They just need rules. They need space. They need boundaries.

What about you? What does space look like for you, in your life? Are there boundaries that need to be created? I would love to hear from you and will be praying that you find your space.

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Today I am joining Esther Emery for the #WholeMama link up. I am excited to be in a community of mama bloggers that are willing to be real, vulnerable and honest. But most of all, that can show the amazing beauty and grace through it all. Each week we will be discussing one word and what it means to each of us. I would love if you joined in too! You can find more information on the original #WholeMama post, here.

Love this link up as much as I do? Here are my other #WholeMama posts:

Power to Flourish

Intentional Quiet

Embracing the Mess of Me

Musings From the Sky: Thoughts on Prayer

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46 thoughts on “Finding the Balance: Space & Community {#WholeMama}

  1. I love this post! I am just starting to get more involved in our church community (joining committees, etc) and this is an awesome reminder to make sure to take a step back before signing up for all the things! I’m an extrovert so I tend to “yes!” way too often and overbook my schedule. As a wife and new mama, I definitely need to remember the commitment to my family, too. Thanks!

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    • I am right there with you, Lauren! I love to help and tend to say yes, but when I take a step back I remember that I can’t do it all. Which is good, it gives others the chance to say yes and it reminds me that I’m not enough. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

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  2. What a great topic. It’s so important to have a good balance in life. I know that my husband needs a lot more space than I do. We’ve learned how to compromise so we both get what we need.

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  3. This is such a great post!
    Quiet time is rare in the summer. I have to stay up late in order to have quiet time for myself, and then I end up sacrificing sleep. I can also relate to overbooking. We are completely booked until after labor day. I try to think of it as a season of life, but I do hope that we get some free time in the Fall!

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  4. I relate to this so much…I love people and want to be in a growing, real community, but I’m also an introvert who needs quiet and free space to just be. I know this will be a challenge once we have kiddos, and I appreciate you sharing what it looks like for your family! Hopefully today will hold at least a little bit of quiet for you 😉

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    • Thank you, Lauren! It can be hard but mostly because we hold onto ideas of what a being a mom and our time should look like. Thank you for that! We go away for a camping trip this weekend and I’m desperately not ready…so a few minutes of quiet would be amazing! 😉

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  5. Great post. It’s always good to remember to take mindful moments, for me the quiet happens early in the morning before I get to the gym or on my solo car rides to get coffee. People think I’m bananas for driving out to Dunkin to get coffee but it’s really the only time I have with just myself!

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  6. I can relate so much! My husband and I just moved across the country, and now that we are almost completely unpacked, we want to start really focusing on building community and seeking togetherness with others. However, being in ministry, I know it will also require boundaries. We will need to protect our family time too!

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  7. I usually visualize the word boundaries as setting up fences or walls, but in reality, boundaries can be so freeing. And I love what you said about how they can encourage growth. That’s the image I need to envision; the kind of boundaries that don’t box people in but give the ability to flourish. Thank you for your words.

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    • Love this, Jamie. I know my husband struggles with that view of boundaries too. I have a deep love for boundaries (and sometimes too much). They can certainly be unhealthy, but I think the tell-tale of healthy boundaries are ones that allow growth.

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  8. Oooh, I am a boundary lover. A boundary protector, really. This was thought-provoking for sure, and makes me think more about how/if I am balancing space & relationships well. On both sides of the coin it’s hard to set a good balance, for sure!

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    • Ha! Right?! I am right there will you. My husband is not a boundary person so it’s an interesting dynamic. I think community and space can be such a hard balance to create and definitely one that is unique to each person.

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  9. Space is a struggle for me- something I know I need but find hard to carve out! I have eschewed some of my night owl ways in order to have some productive time in the morning. I also learned that it’s ok not to volunteer for everything. I make sure to sign up for one or two things for each child, and for now that is all I can manage.

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    • Yes, Lauren! I love that you know your boundaries and limits! I have found myself having to remind myself that it is okay to not be the main volunteer for everything! And it’s okay if people wonder why not. And letting go of this night owl ways, sigh. Just saying, me too. Mostly. Except when my husband is traveling then I have no will power. 😉

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  10. This is an amazing post! For me, it’s harder more so to add community to my space time. As a fierce introvert, when I left my high school environment where I had built close friendships, going into college just drew me further and further into my shell where I never left my room except for the gym,class,and eating. I loved all the me-time, but I was incredibly lonely as well.This semester, I’m working on it! Thank you for the awesome advice, I needed that(:
    http://www.aswestumblealong.com

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    • Thank you, Courtney. It can be so difficult. I went through the same things in college. It is so hard to step out of the comfort of me-time. Really, even now, as a mom I find it so difficult to step out and create the community I so long for. Honestly, I find myself hoping someone will just come up to me. But instead I have found that I have to intentionally choose it. Put myself out there. And it is so awkward! Praying for you as you step out this semester!

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  11. It’s such a delicate balance for me, for our family, too. When we moved and were searching for a church one of our main criteria was that the church be nearby. We wanted to become part of a community, contribute and involve ourselves. With two young kids we knew that the best chance we had for making that happen was to be close enough to dive in regularly. Now we have so many solid relationships it can be hard to find space. It’s a great problem, but one we have to take care in addressing, nonetheless. Great post, great reminder 🙂

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  12. While it’s great to have a community to share with, space is a much-needed necessity that should be scheduled if life gets too crazy. It’s so imperative to our well being!
    x
    Missy
    Popofstyle.com

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    • It truly is, Missy! I love my rest and guard it fiercely. I do believe community to be an equal necessity and one that must be intentionally balance with rest and quiet. Both community and space can run rampant, stealing the space the other should have.

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  13. It is very difficult to find space in today’s world… Even without kids! I have a husband who it seems WANTS to be with me all the time… But sometimes you just need to be alone, to think and to process the day. I also love being with him so this doesn’t happen a lot ☺ – Annie @ plussizetodownsized.blogspot.com

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    • Haha! What great “problems” to have, Annie! 😉 But I completely understand that. Sometimes we do a mutual quiet time, we are still sitting together but reading separately. It usually ends in me talking, but at least we tried. 😉

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  14. I understand the needing the balance of family/personal time vs. social. With me it used to be my family. They thought we should spend every waking moment together and didn’t understand that sometimes I just needed to be alone. Things have since changed, they didn’t take it the best but it’s all in the past.

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    • Oh, Chardae. I completely understand that. I have had to have those same conversations with the people I love and they never go well. I never seem to have the “perfect” words and feelings get hurt, people don’t always understand the boundaries we need to thrive. Glad you have been able to move past it and stuck to what you need.

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  15. Space? You’re talking my love language, but like you I struggle with community and my excitement at silence! We just moved away from our church (by 10 minutes) and we didn’t realize how much we relished the quiet of our neighborhood. The kids in the new place have all their friends to play with, and it’s full of young active families. Which means, not so quiet. BUT, we are learning how to balance and where to get those moments of quiet – which I am finding especially hard in the new house. Is it me, or do you have spaces in your home that you know are quiet and you can hide there for a bit of respite? I don’t know the new place well enough to know where those places are, but I’m determined to find them!

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    • Ha! YES, Christina! It is so interesting to me how each neighborhood operates differently: noise, activity, community… We are in a similar neighborhood (and were in a quiet one before we moved) and it has been an interesting transition. I’m in the middle – lonely seeking community but LOVING quiet and space. Praying you find it in your new home! (And yes, I have my quiet space in our new home. It came in the form of a chair and pillow.) 😉

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    • So understand that! I too prefer smaller gatherings and me time. It can be hard to find the right balance for both though. I find left to their own devices (or rather my own), I sit in one space for too long and end up lonely (thank you too much me time) or longing to be alone (thank you too much community). Hope you find the perfect balance for you!

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  16. Beautiful and thoughtful post!I love the way you look at space and communities. I think I’m like you in that I do love being in community, but I also need my quiet space, and there is a balance. About a year and a half ago, we moved to a different church, and I’m grateful for the sense of community we have there even though we don’t live as close as I’d like. Years ago we had people over a lot, but it kind of died down. I’m excited now because I want to start that up again, because you get to know people so much better in a home setting. Blessings to you and have a great weekend!

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