Simplifying Our Priorities

Jen writes:

How on earth do you find the time to fit it all in? How do you enjoy your family, clean your home, cook such enormously nutritious meals, research everything, blog, etc., etc. I just can’t imagine how you do it without burning out. I can barely keep up with the basics, and I feel stressed ALL THE TIME. Any tips?

Up to this point in our simplifying series (on Wednesdays), we have been discussing several different ways to simplify your lifestyle, in menu planning, in slowing down, in scheduling, and the like. These are helpful tools for me in maintaining peace in my home, but all these things can be done and still result in stress and frustration if we don’t have our priorities in the right place. I have been there! By God’s grace, I have come to realize it all comes done to the question: Amy I walking with the Lord? Did I commune with Him today?

The moment we see stress or frustration coming out we need to search our heart with this question!

Communing with Christ

Col. 2:6-7 says, “Therefore as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

If we confess to be a follower of Christ and to being filled with His Spirit than we are called to walk in Him. This means we are to be actively pursuing relationship with Him and seeking to nurture intimate relationship with Him. It’s a living union we have with Christ! Managing my household well is not my primary goal, but this will flow naturally from a continuous relationship with the Lord. His Spirit must premiate behind everything.

When homemaking is centered around Him, He provides the joy and enthusiasm, the overflowing in gratitude as described in the verse, to complete all the different responsibilities that come on my plate in homemaking. Walking in His spirit provides the proper balance and motivation. Thankfulness and joy in the tasks God has assigned for me to complete only come as a result of daily communion with Christ.

When I experience bouts of stress (and we all do!), I must seriously ask myself: how is my relationship with the Lord? Did I focus my day with Him this morning? I honestly cannot do it all on my own strength! Together let us not buy into the enemy’s lie that we can do it all on our own strength or that we can make it through each day without constant communion with the Savior.

What Is God’s to-do list for me?

The second question to evaluate is: do my to-do’s really line up with what God has for me to do?

John 17:4 says, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gave me to do.” Jesus had such a short stay upon this earth to complete the full work of salvation, and yet He came to the end and was able to boldly declare that He completed the work! How was this possible?

As Nancy Leigh Demoss says in her book, Lies Women Believe, “In Jesus’ words, we find a clue–a powerful Truth that sets us free from the bondage of hurry and frustration about all we have to do. Notice what work Jesus completed in the thirty-three years He was here on the earth: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” That is the secret. Jesus didn’t finish everything His disciples wanted Him to do. (Some of them were hoping He would overthrow the Roman government!) He didn’t finish everything the multitudes wanted Him to do. (there were still people who were sick and lonely and dying.) But He did finish the work that God gave Him to do.”

The truth is that all I have to do is the work God assigns to me! What freedom there is in knowing that there is time for me to do everything that is on God’s ‘to-do’ list for my day, for my week, and for my life!

Seasons of Life

It’s important to keep in mind also that we are all in different seasons of life. With only one child right now, a small home (that only needs to be cleaned twice a month right now), and a moderate living (we purposefully keep our consumption to a minimum), I don’t have as much to manage as the women with eight children! God’s assignment for me will be different during the next season.

I have more time to blog, research and serve, as long as I keep my priorities in the right place: Lord, husband is served, Karis is cared for, and then comes the household, and finally outside service (which includes blogging and outside ministry). But then, I keep that ministry home centered. I am not going out and about. I am making meals for others from my home, inviting others to my home for hospitality and fellowship, etc. Right now I am growing in learning how to balance the serving vs enjoying my family - that is honestly very difficult for me!

I can’t do it all!

Lastly, guard against the lie that we can do it all! It is easy for me to slip into the mindset that I should be an ideal wife and mother, keep my house perfectly cleaned and organized, prepare healthy meals for my family, be active in my daughter’s education and in our church and community, stay physically fit, while keeping up on current events!

Nancy shares again: “The Truth is, no woman can wear all those hats effectively. Sooner or later, something (or someone) is going to suffer. Frustration is the by-product of attempting to fulfill responsibilities God does not intend for us to carry. Freedom, joy and fruitfulness come from seeking to determine God’s priorities for each season of life, and then setting out to fulfill those priorities, in the power of His Spirit, realizing that He has provided the necessary time and ability to do everything that He has called us to do.”

I could easily be committing myself to serving in many different areas in our church, as is a weakness for both my husband and myself. I could easily be going to this or that outside event. I don’t have the perfect home, schedule or always prepare amazingly nutritious meals, often times they are just simple burritos (like tonight!), but that is simple and yet still pretty nutritious (black beans here we come!). There are days when I fall into bed at night with a huge pile of laundry still waiting to be folded (which was supposed to be done yesterday!), because my day was filled with other things (picking and freezing strawberries, for example.) If I am communing with my Savior daily, I find great source of peace and rest knowing that that pile can wait till tomorrow. But if I am relying on my own strength, I could easily get depressed going to bed knowing there are dishes still in the sink and laundry to be folded.

In Conclusion

Jen, you are to be commended for maintaining the basics! And that may very well be all that God has called you to do in this season. Take it before the Lord and your husband (as has a lot of insight into how much you can handle!) and evaluate what your priorities are in this season.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.” Psalm 127:1

Unless I first rely on the Lord to do the tasks of building, managing, and watching over my home, then I will labor in vain!

Recommended  Reading:

Shopping for Time: How to do it all and not be overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney and daughters – a superior read on this very topic! Read my review here.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

6 Responses to Simplifying Our Priorities

  1. Angelina B August 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    This is an amazing site that I came across a few days ago, but was just able to read tonight. Thank you for putting an emphasis on Christ being our number one priority and not perfection. It is easy to get caught up in self in when we are striving to bring glory to the Lord.

  2. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home July 5, 2008 at 10:55 am #

    This is a great post, Lindsay, and it really brings everything to the right focus. Certainly, we can never do everything that we wish we could do (or be) as women and homemakers.

    I think we often put far more on ourselves than God intends for us (I’m speaking of myself here!). I agree that the key is really determining what God has for us in a particular season and to continually bring before Him our “to-do list” and align it with His!

    I loved your recent post on enjoying our families, as well. I find this a struggle too, and have to remind myself often to stop “doing” and enjoy just “being”, and loving on the beautiful kids that God has given me.

  3. Madeleine July 3, 2008 at 2:34 pm #

    Thanks for posting. I am checking on your blog daily and it is always a refreshing and encouraging experience. Sometimes I feel disappointed and troubled and stressed because of so many exams, so many expectations and fears to fail and to loose strength. Your blog is like a sweet and comforting kitchen where I can rest for some minutes, drink a cup of tea and see that there are still other topics in priorities in life. It leads me back to the central things, to the center of life where is faith, peace and calmness.

  4. Julieann July 2, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    What an awesome post–and I truly mean that. I once heard on the radio–do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life–and that is exactly what I am doing–I am doing what I love–and I am in a season of motherhood and wifely duties and loving every moment of it:)

    Have a great evening–just thought I would leave a comment and let you know I was here.


  5. Eryn July 2, 2008 at 2:17 pm #

    Well said! I am on this journey myself, of learning how to living at the Feast of God’s grace (grace for me through the Gospel, Grace for my family, grace for others). I’m giving up the “supermom” myth and seeking what God has for me.

    I am reading the book “Tender Mercy for the Mother’s Soul” by Angela Thomas Guffey. It is rocking my world in this subject! God is changing me and allowing me to see His Grace everywhere. Thanks for sharing your journey

  6. jessica July 2, 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    what a great post, i can TOTALLY relate to Jen as that is how I often feel…and it’s true that i let the “spiritual” slide so easily in pursuit of schedules, relaxation, new recipes, shopping lists, etc., etc. …for my part i’m glad God is leading you to do this blog for now, b/c i get to benifit from it! :) Thanks to your encouragement, i went back to organics this week (not 100%, but close) AND cut the grocery budget by 1/3 …my husband was like “that’s never gonna work!” but it did! (mainly b/c of PLANNING a SIMPLE menu (trying some of your recipes) ) and also God blessed us with some extra produce for free from friends… it’s a good feeling to know you’re doing your best even if it’s harder sometimes, at least you have a clear conscience! :)
    be blessed!