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Her Children Arise and Call Her Busy
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
I Thessalonians 4:11&12 (NIV)
“Mom, will you please tell me a story? “my eight-year-old daughter asked me recently. It had been one of those insanely packed days, full of errands, chores and activities…and it wasn’t over yet. My mind strained to keep everything in order for the remaining events we had planned for the evening. I was coordinating our homeless outreach followed by plans to attend my husband’s softball game. I needed to make sure I had kids fed, pottied, properly clothed, and in the right places at the right times. I had to remember to bring supplies, snacks, drinks and driving directions to our various destinations. I had no brain reserve left for creative stories.
“I’m sorry, honey. I can’t tell you a story right now. I just have too much on my mind.”
“That’s okay,” she said. “I’ll tell you a story. Once upon a time,” she began, “there was a very busy mom.”
Uh oh. This ought to be interesting…
“She woke up every day and she was tired. She made a big pot of coffee and went into her room to pray. She prayed and prayed and prayed…but nothing happened. She did the laundry and went to Target and to the grocery store where she spent lots of money. She made dinner and cleaned the house. She went to help the homeless children. At the end of the day, she was still tired so she went to bed. The end.”
Wow. I’m like a twisted version of the Proverbs 31 woman, but much less effective.
I managed to fake a smile and kiss my precious daughter on the head as I blinked back tears.
Is that really how she sees me? As a tired woman with a futile prayer life? Overwhelmed and overscheduled? I had always taken pride in the fact that I wasn’t busy. I learned years ago to say “no” to activities that ate into our family time. To value simplicity and solitude. I had even taught Bible studies about it (recently)! Yet, somehow in the midst of my un-busy life, I managed to get very busy. And now the children were taking notice…something I promised myself would never happen.
That night I couldn’t sleep (a very rare thing for me…being as “tired” as I am, and all). So at 1:00 am I got up and began journaling. For two hours, I poured out my anxious thoughts to God as I sifted through my schedule to identify where and when things had gone wrong. I listed every activity in which I am currently involved as well as every household responsibility that was taking up my time. The process was very revealing. I discovered that it wasn’t one nasty “culprit” whom I could quickly rebuke and cast out of my life, but a series of little culprits:
o Mismanaged time—like checking and responding to e-mails over ten times a day.
o Long-standing commitments, which were “standing” longer than anticipated—like the freelance editing job I accepted that was supposed to be completed two months ago.
o Good time management systems I had previously put in place, but failed to maintain—like my mail filing system and my “write-everything-on-a-master-list” system.
o And little piles of clutter in my home—which often left me feeling exasperated simply because they represented areas of my life that were out of control.
That night God helped me identify a few key areas I could immediately cut in order to be less busy. He helped me draw up and prioritize a master list of projects to tackle, as well as new chores to delegate to my children. But mostly that night, He reminded me (for what seems like the millionth time) that my children would only be little for a season. And in comparison to the pages of other tasks and responsibilities I had just written in my journal, my commitment to be a Godly wife and mother stood far above them all.
And then He reminded me (for the hundred millionth time) that He doesn’t view me as some kind of “ministry production machine.” Nor does He value me because of what I can accomplish in a day. He cherishes me because I am His daughter. Period. When I remember this, I’m much less inclined to add new things to my plate. Instead, I rest in the peace of knowing who I am in Christ and what He has purposed for me to do and be…not “busy” but “blessed.”
Dear Lord, remind me as often as You must, how much You love me and value me as Your daughter. I offer today to You. Help me lead a quiet life. Remove anything from my schedule that is not in Your perfect will for me or does not bring You glory. Add anything to my schedule that I may have overlooked or forgotten altogether. Help me to keep my priorities in perfect order. Let my life reflect Your abundant grace and mercy, and thereby, win the respect of outsiders. And allow those whom You’ve placed in my realm of influence to be drawn closer to You because of Your Spirit shining through me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Mom You’re Meant to Be by Cheri Fuller
How to Be a God Chaser and a Kid Chaser by Tommy Tenney and Thetus Tenney
Write down five things you can do today to simplify your life (drop an activity, organize a closet, delegate a chore) and then do them.
Why do you think as women we struggle so much with our identity, putting more emphasis on what we accomplish rather than who we are?
If time were not an issue, what kinds of things would you want to do?
Psalm 139: 23 &24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (NIV)
Ephesians 1:4-6 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” (NIV)
How do you take control of YOUR busy-ness? Do tell!