Last week, I sat down to work on some editing. The dishes were overflowing the sink, the playroom was a disaster, my daughters hadn’t finished their math for homeschool, and my husband was ranting because he had no clean clothes for work. (In my defense, I had been sick for about three weeks and had fallen behind on everything.) My home was in chaos. And yet, I ignored it all and focused on work. Did I mention I hadn’t cracked my Bible in a few days either?
We all have times in our lives where we fall behind. Life happens. But how do we figure out how to get back on top? How do we figure out how to stay ahead of the game so that slips send us careening into the land of chaos?
The first step is to set priorities.
Priorities are a slippery subject. Many people get defensive when you try to tell them they are putting something ahead of something else that seems equally or more important. How do we decide what is more important? Last month, we established that the heart is deceitful, so listening to our own inner musings is probably not going to be the right choice. More often than not, my inner child says that curling up with a good book is preferable to a stack of dishes, or that watching a TV show is more entertaining than listening to my child read the same book again and again.
We answer to someone bigger than us, though. We answer to God. Our priorities should line up with His. His heart, His guidance, His word. Through various parts of the Bible, especially the description of the Proverbs 31 woman and the Titus 2 women, God has given us a list and a way to gauge our priorities.
1. God: We can’t expect to find peace in our lives unless we put Him first. I remember one of the counselors at church camp doing a devotional where he used the analogy of three marbles, rice, and an old film canister. The three marbles represented God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; the rice was all the other things in our lives; and the canister was us. If you put the rice in and then put the marbles in, the canister lid won’t shut–it doesn’t all fit. However, if you put the marbles in first and then the rice, the lid closes. Everything fits nice and neat.
2. Our husbands: We all know that Ephesians 5 says that husbands are the head of our households, that we should submit to their leading. To us independent types, this is often a hard pill to swallow, but it is biblical.
3. Our children: Children are gifts from God, the result of our marriage bond, so it is natural that they and their welfare would come next on our list. This includes our domestic duties, as our home is the shelter for our families. While household duties may not always be the most important of family necessities, it definitely can’t be avoided for long. If our family is in disarray and our home is too, I can tell you where we need to start!
4. Extended family: I think they sometimes get left out. But, really, our extended family comes next. As GotQuestions.org put it, while we are not obligated to obey our parents once we hit adulthood, we are still required to honor them always.
5. Church/Ministry: God has called us to help out fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using whatever gifts He has blessed us with. We are also called to take the Gospel to the world.
6. Everything else: TV, Facebook, kids’ sports, hobbies–the list goes on. It’s not to say that the other things in our lives aren’t important. I love a good book, I enjoy walking, and I am determined to reteach myself how to sew. However, sometimes those things fall to the wayside. The other stuff is just more important.
So, when we sit down to figure out how to get our life in order, we need to determine where each activity falls in the list above. When it’s time to weed stuff out (which we’ll talk about more in depth next time), what has to go will be dependent on where it falls on the list. Obviously, if we have to give up something, it’ll come out of the “Everything else” list first.
Take your time. Pray over your priorities. Ask God to help open your mind to the changes you need to make. I need to remember that as much as I love my work, my family and God come first. If I feel like I am out of control, I know where I need to start.
What about your priorities? Do you need to make some changes? Are your realizing that there are some things that may need to be put aside for awhile? Share with us, and let’s lift each other up in prayer!