Just the word makes me tense up. I am not sure this has always been the case, but as a current stay-at-home mama this is a tricky topic for me. I often find myself thinking I need to be superwoman to make up for the fact that I don't have a job... at least not one outside the home. I feel pressure (probably self-induced more often than not) on a regular basis to make sure I am busy enough to justify staying home. So very often this leads to me completely ignoring my priorities during this season of life, and piling on things that leave me lacking in resources to really excel at what is most important. But wait... doesn't the term "most important" indicate that I do indeed know what my priorities should be? Knowing and acting on what I know are often two very different things for me.
When I stop to really consider the work that God has assigned me during this particular season, I usually begin in Titus 2:4-5, which reads:
Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
First of all, I like that this verse calls me a "younger woman." Gotta throw that out there. But really, it is pretty clear about my role. It is also incredibly challenging in its simplicity. According to this verse, my daily to-do list would read:
1. Love my husband and child
2. Be self-controlled and pure
3. Be busy at home
4. Be kind
5. Be subject to my husband
Simple, right? Really? If I am being honest I am totally intimidated by that list. I would much rather have a big old list of errands to check off, because being self-controlled and pure is a lofty goal. And kind? How can a lovely little word like that be so hard? Yet when I am dealing with the messes and stresses of daily life kindness is not always my forte.
When I read this list, and acknowledge my weakness, I have to ask tough questions... How often am I lacking in self-control and kindness because I have added things to my list that don't belong there? Am I ignoring my priorities to try to make myself more important? Am I seeking my own glory, instead of working to bring glory to God? And by doing both of these things, am I undermining the importance of my calling as a wife and mother?
Tough stuff, right? Clearly I don't have it all figured out. I continue to need constant reminders to stop and look at how my resources of time, energy and finances are being used. It is that frequent need to evaluate things that makes it really helpful for me to have a list to look at. After all, I love lists. This particular list hangs on my refrigerator:
Most days I don't even see it. I look right past this little gem hidden in the midst of a fridge door full of stuff. But then there are days when it jumps out at me. On those days it is like God is reminding me that it is time to stop and do a quick mental inventory of what I am spending my God-given resources on. Some days, realigning my tasks with my priorities is an easy fix. Other days? Well, those are the days when I have to stop and really confess how distracted I have become and start some serious clean-up work.
I am in one of those clean-up phases again right now. I shared the other day how I am identifying some things that need cut so that I can focus more on what I really need to be doing during this precious season of life. It is tough stuff... because like any woman, I want to be able to do it all. I hate saying no, and I am quick to justify things that I know in my heart I shouldn't be doing. And yet, if I am honest in my self-examination, what a relief it is to know that God has given me a clear vocation at this point in my life.
It is good, and very pleasing to my Creator, when I focus my time and energy on my husband and child. It is important for me to be busy at home. It is His desire that I look to Him for my importance and worth, instead of being fooled by the worldly view of my current vocation. It is also absolutely possible for me to do all of this and also have time to serve outside the home. I know that my work at the church and my time spent leading women in online Bible study is well within the resources God has provided. I just have to take great care to not let other things start crowding out the space He has carved for this important work, and also not let this work outside the home displace the important work I have to do inside the home. It happens so easily.
It is hard to remember that scrubbing the kitchen sink can be more important than teaching a Sunday school class. Yet when I focus on my duties by their importance according to these priorities I see how it all works together. I realize that by creating a place of rest for my husband to come home to, I am supporting his calling as a provider while also giving him the space needed to serve in the ways God asks him to. I realize that by devoting time to raising my child intentionally I am preparing him for a lifetime of serving God. This is the season of life I am in right now. I remind myself that there will come a time when the season changes... probably far sooner than I want it to. So it is so very important for me to be intentional about the time I have right now. This is my desire, and I know that it is possible with the help of God. I pray I would continue to seek Him first, and trust in His plan... it is always so much better than my own!
p.s. you can download a copy of this list of priorities without the watermark here.
Linking up with Titus 2 Tuesday this week.
Linking up with Titus 2 Tuesday this week.