Actually, a better title might be: “No Man… but I have a Plan!”
During my second month of pregnancy, when I may have been feeling my worst, my husband announced he would be going to London on a two-week business trip. I was very concerned about being left alone with the two kids, work, housework, and in my first trimester of pregnancy. But most of all, I was concerned about being left to my own devices in the evenings… all alone…
Historically I would have used the evening times alone to “indulge” in over-eating, and late-night movie watching. But I know that inevitably, I wake up the next morning regretting staying up so late and regretting what I ate! So, I decided to use it as a re-framing opportunity. I wanted to think of an evening alone in a whole new light. I knew from experience that would take planning, accountability and a new way of thinking.
I started out with a favorite prayer pneumonic from John Piper. It’s “APTAT”:
- A – Admit that you can do nothing on your own.
- P – Pray for help
- T – Trust a Promise
- A – Act in response
- T – Thank him for helping you.
In the past, this little reminder has helped me calm my anxiety and refocus on God and his ability to influence me and my circumstances. So that’s what I prayed. And then I made a plan.
My attitude about this whole situation was not great. I felt panicky and like I was being left out of the fun. So I wrote some truths about what this time really was about—or some of the potential benefits of this short season. Truths like,
“Thank you God for this more relaxed week to make memories with my children.”
“Jesus is my Perfect Companion. He never gives up on me, grows weary, stops loving me, or walks away.”
“God, you know I am not perfect. But you have said I have your resurrection power in me. You said your Divine Power has given me everything I need for life and godliness today.”
I reviewed these in the mornings usually. A quick way to get my mind right for the day.
Evening Mind Renewal
One of my goals was to renew my mind every evening after dinner and before I started watching TV or having any snacks. This was an Accountability Point for me (see below) and was very helpful. In fact, I got a big surprise! I discovered new things about myself! I discovered I love to go out on the porch after dinner. Listening to the night sounds and looking up at the moon and stars gave me a wonderful calm and new perspective for the evening.
I came to look forward to that time to just “be” with my Heavenly Husband. We enjoyed such satisfying moments together that TV didn’t even interest me some nights (!) This time of mind renewal looked different on different nights. It might be praise time, reviewing my Truth Cards or using Barb Raveling’s I Deserve A Donut App or my own Bible study.
Extra Boundaries for TLC
I also tried to listen to what the wisdom of God’s Spirit was nudging me to do to protect myself during a particularly vulnerable time. I decided it was best not to buy or bake any sweets/desserts during that time, since those are particularly difficult for me to resist, especially when I’m alone. I also knew that the later I stayed up, the weaker I became. I was more likely to make choices I’d regret later. Plus, I need my rest—after all, I’m growing a baby! So my other boundary was to be in my bed at 9:30 on weeknights and by 11 on weekends.
I knew that on my own, I’d be less likely to finish strong. I tend to thrive with that extra boost of encouragement. So, I called up my friend Molly. We met in one of the Thin Within online Facebook groups and really hit it off. We periodically text or call so I knew she’d be willing to help. She was so kind to touch base with me daily and encourage me that we were doing those two weeks together. Even when I had a disastrous day, it really helped me to Observe and Correct, when I had to reflect back and report in about what had happened and the choices I had made.
God was so gracious during the time my husband was away. He answered prayers and gave me extra energy, grace, and patience with the kids. He kept everyone safe and gave me strength to survive fever and floods! He is so Good.
So whether you have a challenging weekend coming up or a new life situation that has you baffled…I pray these ideas will prove useful to you. I have to remember: the main thing is the Main Thing—Jesus! He’s the one who empowers me to walk wisely in the way he instructs me to go. Keeping my eyes focused on the Author and Perfector of our faith is what makes life full and satisfying, regardless of my outward circumstances.
Emily lives in South Korea with her husband and 2.1 children. She enjoys being the token American in her neighborhood and baking for the Korean neighbors. She is grateful for the chance to lead worship in their small “expat church”. Like most mothers, she’s also good at multitasking–like cooking and putting on bandaids, rubbing four feet while reading two books and driving while chewing gum and talking on FaceTime with family back home.
If you are a pregnant mom, won’t you post here and let us know? We would love to have a little support community right here on the blog for you all who are hoping to navigate the waters of your pregnancy (and after) while applying the Thin Within principles. Not only does Thin Within “work” during pregnancy to minimize weight gain, but many women LOVE the way they feel when they do this! EVEN when pregnant!