April 08, 2010

ORDER of Operations: Priorities


Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should do, they never get around to do what they want to do.

~ Kathleen Winsor

It goes without saying that you should put your priorities in line, doesn't it? I mean, we all know that if we do second things first, we'll never get "first things" accomplished, right? Sure... but then why do so many of us have such a huge problem with distraction and misdirection? Why do the kids complain about needing more mommy and daddy time (even if we are home with them 24/7) - and why do we go to sleep after our husbands have long been snoring away - and why does the Bible collect dust and the prayer journal have month-long gaps between entries?

I speak from experience when I say that I struggle with priorities. Let's be gritty and honest, shall we? After all, it's the only way to affect a true change - to admit there is a problem.

I saw a quote come across twitter today that said something like, "I think you'll find that the reason why you didn't change before was that you didn't want to." I have no idea who the author was, but I know that they are right. Before you make a change, you have to be committed. You have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired. I think that's why we struggle with the issue of priorities so much... because we are creatures of habit. Change isn't easy. Most of the time, the habits are so comfortable and familiar, that we don't make the EFFORT to change - even though we know we 'should'.

"It's what I do." - "It's who I am." - "That's just the way it is."

No. But we like to think that way. It's less uncomfortable than really working to be better people. It's much more presentable than being real.

I talked about the importance of putting God and your family first in the conference session about "How Not to Homeschool" by Dawn and I earlier this year. I've had a "How Not to Homeschool" kind of school year up until February. We started our school year over.

I've written about putting God and your family first in countless previous posts. I don't like repeating myself, but this bears repeating. I thought of what I might say that would drive this point home to you (and to me - since I usually write about things that are on my own heart and plate - thus I preach to myself here) more than any other article I've ever written about the topic. I came up blank. It's all been said.

I just know this... if you ask my children why our day, our month, our school year was off kilter, they will always tell you: "we didn't put God first". They can see the difference when we do. It isn't because I've taught them to say it. It is because they see the black and white proof. Sure, the baby threw a wrench in our schedule... but putting God first is the real issue.

I can admit that I have a problem with being BUSY. I'm a list maker. I saddle up and go, go, go. Just like a horse will go until he drops; I go until I drop. I have been known to saddle the kids up like this, too. I even had a woman ask me one time, "All those school activities sound wonderful, but... do your children ever have time to play?"

A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower.

~ Kin Hubbard

I've heard that it is said that BUSY means 'being under Satan's yolk'. I learned in Sunday School that Mary made the better choice and that Martha was too busy. That said, I have no idea why I torture myself with mile-long lists and extremely high expectations - but I do know that I often miss sitting at the feet of my Lord and lingering on His Words. I know that I often wish for simple days when there were porch swings and watermelon seeds to spit in the dirt. I often feel sadness when I look at my stacks of unread books and remember AFTER the children fall asleep to give them a kiss.

Too busy. Too few smiles. Too much rushing.

Not enough hugging, kissing, and snuggling.

Not enough studying the Word that gives freedom from anxiety, impossible burdens, guilt, unforgiveness, complaint, and worry.

I need to be in the Word that reminds me WHO gives the increase...
the victory,
... the peace...


You know that I could go on, and on, and on.

I need the Word that tells me that my first love should be for my husband and that I should seek ways to help him - to love and cherish him - to honor him with my words and heart - to be his. I need more of the Word that tells me to encourage and bless my children, to teach them when I rise up, and when I lay down... the Word that reminds me of how God leads us with gentleness and love.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

~ Isaiah 40:11

I hunger for the Word that reminds me of how God saw the un-doable list of rules (akin to my un-completable list of 'things that must get done today')... and He completed it for us. He gave up ALL his time to erase the burden on his beloved. He unsaddled her, unbridled her, kissed her with his last breath, and set her free.

She is free indeed if she abides in Him. Wild and free.

So I remember.

I re-think this race to 'get it all done'.

It will never get done until the angels sound that trumpet. It will only get passed on... like a heavy load from one ant to the next.

I have only today. I have only this moment.

Oh, Lord, please teach me to make it count. Teach me to BE IN it. Help me to set aside the list - knowing that if I trust YOU, it will get done.

Help me to do the BEST thing, not just the 'next' thing.

It is not an excuse to be lazy. It's a mandate to ABIDE in Him. To honor Him and listen to Him... to hear Him and SEE Him. Be His hands and feet - first to those He has placed in my care - and then to those He brings across my path. This is joy. And where there is joy, the work is like play - it is all enjoyable. This is the 'simple' life... the one that is focused on the One that makes all things possible through Him. The rest is just the stuff that needs to get done.

If He's your reason, give Him your stuff. He'll order it; and put joy back in your life. Seek Him First.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

~ Matthew 11:28-30

Lord help us let go of the burden. Bathe us in your rest. Let us delight in your yoke. Fill our hearts with the joy of your blessings so we can know not just living, but 'life abundant'. Amen.

For more on this series, see the first Order of Operations post.

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Anonymous said...

I really needed this today. Thank you. I need to remember to seek Him first always... I often forget.

Tracy @ Hall of Fame Moms said...

I know the feeling. God made women as multi-taskers, I believe it! We are home managers- children, housekeeping, ministry and paid work of some kind for many of us (in home or outside of it).

I - not being a morning person- made a switch from reading my bible before bed at night to in the morning before I take my son to school. Its not the VERY first thing I do, but its a priority now whether the house is quiet or not.
Convinced I need God's grace at the beginning of my day so I stand a better chance of being obedient in how I live my day (esp. under stressful moments)! {I do parttime childcare in my home for extra money}- I need that grace! haha

Dianne - Bunny Trails said...

Very well said, Heather. While I don't have it all down, I do spend quiet time first thing in the morning - as often as possible. Although even then, I sometimes find myself reading a book written by a person rather than God (a good Christian book, but no substitute for the real thing). We also begin our school days (even those that hardly amount to anything) with the Word and prayer. It's probably the only thing I do right in our homeschool. Ha! Ha!

Traci said...

This is my year to really make a go of putting the Lord first and foremost in my life and that starts with being in the Word and being an example to my daughter as I train her to do the same. It isn't easy, and hasn't been, but the fruit and reward from our efforts will be exponentially multiplied for our good, the kingdom and His glory!


Unknown said...

Thanks for this, Heather! It is so true... that we need to put God first and be in His word daily. For He should always be on our mind... being our guide. It is difficult, for some reason.. but oh, so important. Especially when we are the example for our children. Thanks for the reminder.

Blessings to you!

Darcy @ m3b said...

That quote is sooooo me.

I'm purposing to be more intentional with my time.


Hannah Braboy said...

That was beautiful! Thank you for speaking life into me today! I really needed that!

Amber@ClassicHousewife said...

I've had this open in a firefox tab and have REFUSED to close it until I had a chance to read it! (I've had inlaws here the past few days.) =P

Thank you so much for writing these things, for reminding me to put Him first every day and hand it all to Him. The part about Mary and Martha was a good reminder in particular. THANKS.



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