I was answering my dear friend’s question:
Is there a particular way that you prioritized things and organized them to make sure that what was most important got done?
I cannot over-emphasize the importance of waiting on the Lord. He alone can “lead us in the paths of righteousness, for His Name’s sake.” Each day, every hour, I am constantly whispering prayers for wisdom. I don’t want to walk out of His Will for a moment, but it often happens when I go on my own.
Secondly, I have learned to lean heavily on my husband for guidance regarding my use of time and energy. Before taking on any new project, ministry, task, or opportunity, I first “run it by him.” That sounds so archaic or old-fashioned in this culture, but I have learned to rely on my husband’s protection over me as a blessing. Also, I am reminding myself each time I do this that I am created to be my husband’s help, not the other way around. I want to be a blessing to my husband, a beautiful, reliable, resourceful, companion he enjoys. That takes energy, time, and commitment on my part.
Thirdly, I need to think about my children separately, not as a group. This requires a lot of creativity. I naturally want to lump them together as a “herd,” (even though there are only four of them) and just move them around or manipulate them into my plans. Making time in my day for each of them, praying over each of their souls, planning fun activities they enjoy individually as well as together all take time and energy.
Then there is homemaking … don’t even get me started there! Let’s all just spend a few moments with our heads in our hands while we contemplate the uselessness of cleaning while children exist.
Finally, I have ministry opportunities, which are important, but are still last. This is a broad category encompassing church work, “visiting the fatherless and widows in their afflictions,” sharing the gospel regularly, phone calls of encouragement, my writing, things like that.
Now, how is a woman to get it all done?
She doesn’t. Not every day, and never all at once. I have tried – and failed – with many different means of “doing it all.” I scheduled it all, and failed. I listed it all, and failed. I tried harder, and made my family more miserable. I served the church too much for a time and neglected my husband. I am not Supermom.
The painful lesson I have learned is “if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” There are too many temptations to live life apart from God. I believe that is a big reason He has given me the challenge to live life completely dependant on Him.
My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
Paul’s passage here is so familiar, I will not take time to belabor his point. If such a faith-filled apostle as Paul needed to be reminded to lean on God’s grace and walk in Him alone, how much more does this weak woman need Her Lord! Every hour, I need Thee!
I have learned to throw away the schedules (though I do live a pretty routine lifestyle) and man-made lists (I only make my own) and simply begin each day in prayer. The busier I will be, the longer I must spend lingering in bed with my Bible and journal, seeking God’s face, His peace, and His contentment. Until I have His Spirit – “of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” – I won’t rise for the morning.
Around the house are many notepads. I have a notepad in my purse, a notepad near my computer, a notepad on the refrigerator, and a notepad beside my bed. Every time I think of something I need to do, say, pray over, write about, read, or learn, I write it down. If I don’t write it down, then I will forget it, for one thing! And these pads of paper are my prayer lists. I pray over the lists throughout the day, since they are all over the house.
When I rise in the morning, during my Bible time, I will pray over the day’s activities. If there are things on the pad beside my bed “to do,” then I will lay them before God then, too. I will ask the Lord to give me strength, grace, and peace throughout whatever challenges He ordains for my day. And I ask Him to direct my activities – not me. That is the hardest part to discern for me, but the most important.
As I am praying, the Lord often brings to my mind things within my priorities, as I listed above, that He wants me to do. He once reminded me I needed to cook a nice meal and be especially pretty for my husband since he had been through a rough week; I added that to the list and planned a romantic evening. Last week, the Spirit brought to mind a sin problem I needed to deal with in a child; I wrote it down prayed over that battle. I was able to locate some verses before counseling her on how to overcome that temptation. Last Monday, God showed me I had taken on too many writing projects and was beginning to neglect my house and husband; after prayer time, I had to call my husband at work to apologize to him, and then later that day I sent an email to cancel a writing engagement.
Beginning my day with prayer and then constantly – constantly – praying over my activities throughout the day helps me remain focused on following God’s plan for each moment. I believe I can walk in the Spirit. I fail at times, but I pray the Lord will continue to soften my heart yet more as I learn to be increasingly sensitive to His leading “every day, and every hour.”