I have been thinking so much about margin and priorities and how to best spend my time lately. The way I spend my ‘free’ moments – those once the little ones are asleep- can be a real test of where my heart and priorities are. I know, in theory, that if I see life through God’s eyes- people are always the most important. Loving people- not work or leisure time, housework or some extra sleep. Yet often I fill my time with all the things that ‘need’ doing.
I want my everyday to be full of beauty, to be able to appreciate the joy and love which is around in simple, normal living- but also I want to make sure that these days, minutes, hours are filled with the things I believe are most important. Resorting to the default mindset of the things I ‘need’ to do can leave me striving and working harder and harder towards something when I have lost all sense of why I am doing so. It is really easy for my head to fill up with lists of ‘oughts’, pushing aside the obvious important things- prioritising the most important relationships- God, my husband, my little ones- and to keep doing things which then need doing the next day anyway.
Often in the morning life can become a list of things ‘to-do’, scurrying from breakfast, to clearing away, unloading the dishwasher and getting dressed. However, if I stop thinking about all those ‘oughts’ and put God first, to read even a little Bible before I get out of bed, or to sneak in a few verses whilst the little ones play for a few minutes before launching into breakfast then I see the world through His lenses, not through my own ‘do-more’ mentality. I am loving having rhythm and patterns in our day, in having things cleaner and tidier more often- but that is not the main goal. The order needs to be God- husband- little ones- home- my wants, not some distortion that leaves those around me thinking that the housework is more important than spending time with them, or that the computer is better than quality time.
Sometimes this can mean hard decisions. It can mean saying no to what I ‘want’ to do, and remembering that I am committed to putting God above all else. Striving makes me feel burnt out, stretched, tired. Putting my priorities in order, and knowing that no matter how much I do or don’t get done, God loves me, and to show that love to my little ones and husband is the better thing.
I’m letting go of the ‘should’s and ‘ought’s and self imposed expectations. This doesn’t mean I want the house to return to the disarray it was once in the past- but I am prioritising other people, rest and self-care above the striving, the doing. Feeling guilty for not doing ‘enough’ has pushed the line between enjoyment and legalism, making me feel like I need to keep doing so I can succeed. Succeed at what? In the world’s eyes I could succeed by making lots of money of gaining popularity, but doesn’t motivate or appeal to me. I want to do God’s will, to his glory. To grow, to be nurtured and thrive- the beauty of Etsy, blogging, writing and other things is supposed to be that they are things I can do as much or as little as suits our life and our family. The people come first and God comes first. By drawing a line and resting I surrender to Him and accept that He is sovereign. No matter how hard I try I may be labouring in vain unless for his help.
(I wrote this on Friday and scheduled it for today in case you were wondering!)