Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Priorities

It's funny what having five children will do to you: life speeds up quite a bit, things are way more hectic, and the workload has more than doubled. But, on the inside, there comes a quiet peace--a realization of what is truly important in our lives....forcing me to slow down and treasure what really matters.
It is with this knowledge that I would like to share some of my own personal priorities. I say my "own, personal priorities" because *your* priorities might look entirely different. I think it's important to say that my priorities have only come about through deep searching with the Lord, and hearing His voice speak to me through moments of quiet reflection and prayer. That is essentially what I am urging you to do: seek Him. My list follows as merely a framework as to what your own personal priorities could look like.
So, herewith my list:
1. my relationship with God. I have worked really hard over the past year to learn to trust the Lord better. As I have mentioned before, I suffered deep "burnout" last summer, and can attribute it to not trusting the Lord, first and foremost. I work really hard to relinquish my days to Him, moment by moment and day by day. Often my days look nothing like I planned. It is here where I find His burden is easy and light. I try to make sure that my number one priority in my life is my relationship with the Lord.
2. Me. It seems odd to say that I come next. I struggle with this. For years and years I put myself last. The needs of my family came before my own. I now see this is a recipe for disaster. (For me.) When all is said and done, I have to make time for *me*, because with five children it will never just *happen*. What do I mean by time for me? Well, as I said earlier, this is something I personally consulted the Lord about and truly feel He revealed to me what I need to do to take care of myself:
~sleep. I need to sleep. So I go to bed as early as I can, and try to take a rest in the middle of the day.
~quiet/time to think. This is essential for me. God made me this way, personally. If it is missing in my life, then I do not function at optimum. So I try to make time for this every day.
~eating well/drinking water/taking vitamins. This is also essential. When I am stressed or busy, I do not eat. This is not healthy. I often have to ask myself during the day: "Andrea, have you eaten?" If I have not, I drop everything to take care of that.
~Outdoors/simple exercise
3. my husband and I. My relationship with my husband comes before my children. I say this because it could easily get swept under the rug with the varied and urgent needs of my children.
For this reason, we have started going out on regular dates once a week. We have made an effort to actually *leave the house* and it makes all the difference! My relationship with my husband is precious. I want to make sure I let him know that.
4. Last but certainly not least--my children. It makes me feel uncomfortable that my children are at the bottom of my list. It seems....counter intuitive to me as a mother. But I am confident that if all the other priorities are taken care of then their needs will be met. Of course just because they are at the bottom of the list does not mean they are ignored....it's all about balance. My priority list is merely a framework of how my days should go.
Again, this is something that has come about through much prayer and listening to God. Your priority list might look very different. (And it should!) I wanted to merely share what the Lord has done in my life, in case someone is struggling and needs a place to start.
For me, my priorities are in the end about *relationship*. 

10 comments:

Aimee said...

awesome, Andrea. you are in such a healthy place even if you don't always *feel* it. way to go on listening to Jesus' plan for you and not what everyone else in the Christian world says you *should* do :)

Courtney said...

You are such a wonderful mother! Your priorities are as they should be, and your children will benefit most from a mama who puts her relationship with God, herself, her health, and her husband before them. A contented mother = a contented family ;) Love you!

Trina said...

Thank you for sharing Andrea. You affirm many of my own thoughts. Though your children may be "last on your list" everything you do "before" them is what makes you the best mother for them. Blessings to you today.

Trina

Linda said...

I have been giving this business of priorities a lot of thought lately too. I am at a different season of life - our nest is empty. There is a lot more time - and I am challenged to use it wisely.
I think the one thing we have in common is our relationship to the Lord as the number one priority. Really - it is the foundation for all the others. All of the other roles we must fulfill flow out of that relationship.
I love your list. You are a wise, wise lady.

L.L. Barkat said...

High priorities... yes, *you* my dear one... and He delights in you

Barb J. said...

I believe your priorities are in exactly the right order, but I have to say that it is easier said than done to really follow that line-up. It is something I am constantly working one myself.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you wrote that you are uncomfortable, to some extent, writing your children come after your husband.

I was relieved when you said that because I feel the same way.

I also think that putting a higher priority on one's husband, above one's children, that is, is highly dependent on the kind of husband and marriage one has.

If your husband supports you in your role as mother, maybe it works out and the children are provided for and provided for well.

But what if the husband does not place priority on you or the children?

Or what if the husband has very different values?

Andrea said...

Anon--
Please leave your name next time! =) I usually delete Anonymous comments. But I feel this one deserves a response.
The main point I wanted to make in my post is that my priority list came about through deep and quiet reflection and prayer with the Lord and that it is very *individualized*. My priority list will not look like someone else's whose circumstances you presented. Theirs might look totally different (and should)--but will only come about through consulting the Lord. He is the one who knows our hearts intimately and deeply and can tailor our priorities for us. That is why we consult Him in all areas of our lives--He knows us and our situations like no other!
Personally, I think our relationship with our husband deserves more attention than our relationships with our children. As I said, I feel uncomfortable writing that, but I do feel it is what God would have me do and I find evidence of that Biblically.

Amy T. said...

Andrea,

I read this post the other day, and I am coming back to it again. I have been experiencing some mild depression the past few weeks, and your post reminds me that the main thing I need to do to fight it is make time in the Word and in prayer a major priority. Thanks for sharing. I love your blog.

Mac an Rothaich said...

Thanks for this post:)