Posted by: ramonamom | July 5, 2008

Personal Priorities (and Changes)

I have spent a lot of time lately considering my own personal priorities and asking God to help me see more clearly any changes that needed to take place for these priorities to be pleasing to Him.  He has graciously answered those prayers, for which I am most thankful, and I would like to share what I have learned with others.

As we head into a new homeschooling year – one with more changes than we have ever had in one year – it has become necessary for me to evaluate what I spend my time on and determine if each particular area which takes time is one I have chosen or one God has given me responsibility for.  The answers have been quite surprising to me, I have to admit.  Much more time than I realized has been spent in areas which I have chosen to pursue.  Each of these areas, by themselves, are worthy of my time and ones that I can serve the Lord in.  However, when I began to seriously consider the order in which I should allot my time to each portion of my life, I found that more time was being given to the areas I had chosen than those God had given me responsibility for.  Something was amiss…

I am taking a counseling class at our local church and I recently posed this question to the teachers of that class, our pastor, and our youth pastor.  Their explanation was a very clear and concise one, which God has used to clarify this area in my own life.  I cannot draw the simple illustration that our pastor did in this post, but it is easily imagined by the reader.  Think of two circles, one completely inside of the other, with no lines intersecting at all.  Consider that inside the inner circle are the persons God has given you direct responsibility for – your spouse and children (and, in our case, my mother in law, who lives with us). These are the ones which should be cared for completely, first.  The second circle would contain goood friends and church family – the next level of priority.  Although our pastor did not go past two circles, I suspect that there are different levels of priorities, even beyond that.  Of course, in reality, situations are rarely ever that “simple”, but God used this illustration to help me see that I had been using time which needed to be spent on my inner circle (family) on those well outside that area. 

Today, I have continued to search the scriptures for applicable verses in this area.  Indeed, a “virtuous woman” is one who “watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and her praises her… (Proverbs31:27-28)  Regarding similar issues for men, those who would serve in the church (elders) are considered ones who “rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence ( for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?) (I Timothy 34-5)

How does this differ from my current life – the one which caused me to begin seeking answers regarding priorities?  Honestly, I have not been spending enough time bringing my own children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  My available time was divided between them and outside activities, with preference not always being given to them. 

This blog is one of those areas.  I love to write, but I have been spending more time than I should have writing new posts and editing previous ones for publication.  It makes me sad to realize that my attitude was likely one of “go away, I am writing for the blog” many times when my children came to me for help, or just to talk.  A couple of years ago, we had some serious talks with one of our daughters who had many, many pen pals.  We had to point out to her that she was putting more time and energy into those relationships than she was the ones around her, in the family.  As we examined her heart and the situation, we realized that it as most likely because those relationships were much easier to maintain and the feedback he got from them was almost always positive.  What a shock it has been for me to consider my own “relationships” with folks I have never met in person and realize that I was drifting in the same direction – indeed, in many ways, I was there.

These realizations  have been particularly meaningful to me, as health concerns often place limitations on my time unexpectedly.  When time needs to be taken away from my schedule for medical reasons, it is important that the time be taken from my outer circle rather than my inner one.  Many times, God has used these “medical interludes” as lessons for myself and those around me, but I must remain continually aware of what areas of my life get less attention during such times. 

As I lay in bed one evening this last week, pondering all that I had learned regarding my personal priorities, my thoughts wandered to our 18 year old deaf daughter, who is not yet a Christian.  I thought back over an episode which had taken place that day with her and prayed for God to give me the wisdom to know how to best share His Good News with her, considering her limited understanding and communication.  An idea came to me, and I made a mental note to share it with her the next opportunity I had.  Providentially, this daughter came to me the very next morning to apologize for having been angry over the previous days exchange.  What a privilege it was to point her back in the direction of Scripture and use the very example God had placed in my mind the evening before!!  If I had not already been spending time considering my priorities, I might have missed this opportunity, granting her forgiveness and then hurrying her along.  I am so thankful that God has opened my eyes to such opportunities. 

Thus, this post marks the beginning of many changes with this blog.  The blog will remain active and all authors will retain the ability to post.  However, the posts will be fewer and much farther between.  If you would like to contact us, leave a comment and one of the authors will respond according to their available time.  May the Lord bless you all and keep you as you seek to serve him in parenting your older adopted children.  Feel free to peruse the archives of this blog, as there are many applicable posts from a few years back which I have not edited and reposted yet.

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