I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength
to start all over again. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
I am re-reading this book Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist because it is like balm to my tired soul. This time, I am reading it a chapter at a time, pausing to meditate on the thoughts she shares in it. I found this book at just the right time; I just officially stepped down from leading our women’s ministry a few mere weeks ago, and my heart aches. On the other side, in order to live my priorities, I know it’s what I had to do, what God is leading me to do.
“As painful as it is, I know sometimes you have to let some GOOD things go in order for the BEST things to have a chance to GROW. ” – Shauna Niequist
Live Your Priorities
This F. Scott Fizgerald quote ties perfectly into “Mom’s Priority.” The whole theme of Mom’s Priority is helping moms live out their priorities, or in other words, live a life you’re proud of. Priorities vary from mom to mom and season to season, and there are so many good ones. At the end of the day, you want to be spending your days and thus years, the way that brings God the most glory and you fulfillment as you follow His will.
I wish I could give you this 10 step guideline to making your life perfect and always in order, but that’s not life. Your priorities change, but having the tools (most importantly, prayer!) to help you simplify and keep your priorities in that season- this is what I hope we help you with.
Ultimately, like Niequist said in this book, ” we decide where the time goes. There’s so much freedom in that, and so much responsibility.”
10 years ago, I became a mom and after 8 months of working full time/momming, my husband and I decided that I would take a break from work to spend time raising our baby. I can’t tell you where all of that time has gone, but for me, raising our children has been the most rewarding, fun work I have ever done. And because we prayed about it, planned, and were obedient, God has provided in chilling, absolutely amazing ways. It hasn’t always been easy, but I am proud to be devoting my energy to being a mom. I am thankful we simplified our lives during those busy early years. (If you want to know how to start saving money, start here!)
Learning to Say No
But in the meantime, I have picked up a ton of extra jobs. Volunteer jobs abound when you stay at home, even if you’re working while you’re home! Because of my “responsible” personality, like she mentions in the book, I have stepped up too many times to keep on going forever! Starting a Sunday school class, leading women’s ministry, leading a girls’ missions group, being room mom, volunteering at the school weekly, being married to a little league baseball coach … these were current volunteer jobs up until a few weeks ago. But, a new season is arising, and all of these things can’t go on forever. Her book talks about saying no, which is an important skill to learn. As much as we need people to step up and lead, we need others to step back and give them that chance. And give ourselves time to breathe!
When we were just leading Sunday School and I hadn’t yet stepped up to leading women’s ministry, I was more thoughtful and I intentionally prayed for friends and the couples in our class and the issues they were facing. I made a point to reach out and check in occasionally and I considered it a joy to do so. More recently, I have become frantic and overwhelmed with all of the growing responsibilities. I’m not as fun with our kids as I used to be, and I no longer reach out as much! God made it clear: It’s time to scale it all back and regain our focus.
Staying Focused on Your Priorities
Granted, I didn’t make this change voluntarily; rather, it took a painful event to realize that it is all too much. With kids at home, the time flies by way too quickly and before long, they will be grown. There will be time for other priorities! But right now, our focus is on God and family. He makes the others fall into place, and I honestly pray these tools here on Mom’s Priority help you save money and time so you can live your priorities. I share what has helped us, because too many times you don’t know where to turn.
The Frantic Epidemic
It seems to be an epidemic: overcrowded schedules to keep up with little to show for it at the end of the day, or year. More and more moms on medication for anxiety, insomnia, and other illnesses. Families frayed at the ends because of endless demands of travel tournaments, kid activities, and often, work commitments. I don’t think God planned it this way. We’ve taken it all to the extreme because that’s what we do. But, there is time to scale it back, simplify, and focus on your priorities. God provides.
These resources shared are not an excuse to not serve, because Jesus commands us to love one another above all. Instead, I believe it frees us to love and serve, as God leads us. Tonight, I trimmed up a cherry blossom tree that had grown multiple trunks from the base. The tree has been an eyesore as I drive past it for weeks (maybe months). The additional trunks were dying, and the main tree was not growing properly because of the additional growth. It reminded me, as oddly working in my yard often does, of my life, giving myself to too many good endeavors. The end result is a mess, and not the way God designed it. John 15 talks about pruning to keep the vine fruitful, and that is what I had to do with this tree. The same is true in life. I’ve asked myself and will ask you, Are you living your priorities? At the end of our lives, only what is done for God’s glory will last into eternity.
Are you living your priorities?
The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst is a great book that reminds us that each decision is a turn in a direction.
Andy Stanley is currently doing a sermon series on Breathing Room. He says, “Sometimes we can’t enjoy anything because we’re trying to do everything.” This sermon was perfectly timed for my car ride the other day, and I can imagine others will benefit from it as well.
Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson is another book to help us discern between “man-made obligations and God-given invitations.”