Hello yet another recurring theme in my life.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about and thinking about and then reading about and hearing about. There seem to be 2 messages that keep coming my way these days… 1 is actually living my priorities, and 2 (which I have yet to really organize my thoughts on yet) is this growing sense that I must purposefully raise my children to be ready to face persecution for their faith. Since that one is still cooking… I’ll try to put into words all these thoughts on priorities first.
I’m one of those false guilt girls. I often run around feeling like I’m failing everyone all the time. When I said that to someone a couple months back, she just kind of looked at me and said rather sternly, “then something is clearly wrong”. She was SO right. Something is clearly wrong. I know that. I feel that. All year I have been feeling this urge to stay home more, but then find myself out even more, all for good reasons, but to what end? I am harried and unorganized and really dropping the ball on the important things.
The other day I was reading from A woman after God’s own heart by Elizabeth George (amazing btw). After a few chapters I found myself putting the book down and pulling out some cue cards. On the front of each I started with my priorities, one per card. Then under the heading I began listing the things that I would be doing to feel like I am meeting said priority. For example: Children… devotions, memorization, routine nap/sleep schedule, careful with diet/foods, school work completed, individual play time with me each day, reading to them each day, consistent discipline, etc etc.
Then on the back of the card I wrote the things that keep me from doing those things and meeting the needs of that priority. I did that for each priority in my life, and as the list got longer I had to start to pick and choose if something was really a priority. When time is so limited, what relationships and tasks are TRULY the ones to invest in? It’s very difficult. Some of my top ones are God, My heart, Husband, Children, Home, Self, Youth, and then certain relationships…
When I looked at everything that was involved in worshipping God, maintaining my relationship with Him, loving my husband (which for me involves many practical tasks and reserving emotional space (affection, attention and interest) for him by the end of the day- not easy with preschoolers!), my children at their ages, with their dietary needs and homeschooling… that’s a lot of work! Plus then, keeping the house (part of loving my husband, children, and me- my sanity is greatly improved in a clean house!), taking care of myself to an extent (things like blogging and personal growth and church community and sleep are important for me, exercise at this point is not ranking high, perhaps when my children are not this little that will climb the list), and then being a small group leader in youth every wednesday (which involves extra meetings and socials and retreats and emails, etc etc etc). Whew.
But then there is extended family, accountability partner, friends, church classes, teaching sunday school, helping out in little ways like making meals, etc, tuesday morning Bible study, getting to know new people… the list goes on and on and on. As does everyone’s I know! It’s just… when you actually sit down and look at everything we expect to do in a day or week, it’s absolutely ridiculous. No wonder I feel so lost and like such a failure all the time.
I was JUST talking to someone I love about them not pleasing everyone, just pleasing God. And something I read awhile back, “there are enough hours in every day to accomplish God’s will”… well it’s all just been ruminating around in my noggin. 🙂 What does God want me to accomplish?
Well, I’m a wife and mother, so that narrows it down a bit for me. Titus 2 says that I should love my husband and children, that I should be a self-controlled, pure, worker at home, kind, submissive to my husband. And in doing those things I will bring honour to God and His Word. Those are my acts of worship to Him, and my God-given priorities.
I’m beginning to think many of the things that I feel like I must do in and with my life are not God-given priorities, but more others agendas for me, or even just my perceived idea of what is expected of me, this overwhelming need to be super-woman and do it all.
I think I need a 2 pronged attack to this problem in my life… #1 is to redeem my wasted time. Computer time and books rank top on my list for time wasters. #2 is to simplify and get stingy with my time. Now is not the time in my life to be running here and there visiting all the time, it’s not the time to say yes to every ministry, every need, every social gathering, every phone call. I’d say like 90% of my time should actually be spent IN MY OWN HOME. Working.
It’s so hard to disappoint friends or not do certain good deeds. Sometimes it makes people think you are selfish or don’t care, or are not friendly even… And it’s so easy to get slack with my husband or my kids or my home… they love me and mostly understand that I am sacrificing them to do “good”. But the very bottom line is that if we choose those other good things over our God given responsibilities, we are dishonouring the Word of God.
So technically… if the hours in my day only cover God, Heart, Home, Husband, Children, then I have to only do those things and be ok with disappointing others in order to please God. Right?
And… that’s the part I REALLY struggle with. C.A. Stoddards wrote, “We must say no, not only to things which are wrong and sinful, but to things that are pleasant and good, which would hinder and clog our grand duties and our chief work.”
I want to be an extraordinary Christian. But perhaps being an extraordinary Christian does not look like what I’ve been striving after.
Kris Goertzen wrote this in one of her Bible studies, “understand this, dear friends, the need is not the call. We can’t meet all the needs presented to us. We have to come to grips with that fact. I remember Elisabeth Elliott saying, “Not only does God love me and have a plan for my life… everyone loves me and has a plan for my life!” God, who knows our limitations won’t be the One who fills our schedules and weighs us down until we have stomach disorders, heart attacks and nervous breakdowns. Let’s learn the differences between the constant demand of others and God’ perfect will for us. May we be able to say like Jesus’ sweet words in John 17:4 when He came to the end, “I finished the work which Thou gavest me to do”.”
So dear friends, I guess this is my way of sharing what is happening in my heart and life. My priorities are narrowing. God is pressing me to learn to complete the work He has given me, and to do so with excellence. I am first a daughter of the King, second a wife, third a mother/teacher and fourth a homemaker. At this point… I may or may not be anything else to any great extent.
Now to tackle that number 2, how to prepare my children for spiritual battle…