Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Priorities

I'm still stewing over many of the things I learned on my Emmaus walk, but one of the things that I'm really wrestling with right now is the concept of priority. I *thought* my priorities were clearly defined. I had a pat answer ready if anyone asked me what mattered most in my life. However, when I examined my life a little closer, I realized that my answer didn't really match up with the way I was living.

For example, the first thing I tell most people about myself when we meet is that I'm a teacher. I don't say, "I'm a Christian mom to three fabulous kids and wife to an amazing husband." I say, "I'm a teacher. A working mom." The emphasis in my real answer is on work. Now, my job is and should be important. But should it define me? NO. Evidently, though, it does, because I have a hard time talking about my life without dredging up my career. And, when I look at the hours I spend at work, thinking about work, planning for work, dreaming about work...it far exceeds anything else in my life. That is a problem.

My first priority should be serving and worshipping God. Some may say that I serve through my career, but I know that isn't really true. If anything, it becomes an obstacle to service. I am drained at the end of the day and I can't participate in true acts of service because I'm exhausted. I often feel called to work in different ministries, but don't have the energy to follow through. Work makes me bitter,too; I resent the time and effort I put in to lessons that go unappreciated. My light doesn't shine like it should because I'm grouchy, tired, angry, frustrated, and not giving God the attention He deserves in my life.

I also know that work is  an obstacle to loving and serving my family the way I should. Again, a lack of energy keeps me from playing with my children in the evenings like I should. I try to cook and serve a family meal every night, but sometimes I just can't. I have meetings and work-related obligations that fill my nights. I have grading, planning, and other "homework" that diverts my attention. I'm not present with them like I should be.

I know this. What am I going to do about it? I'm not sure yet. I know what my priorities should be. I want them to be as such. However, making that happen might require a major life shift. A new way of life, a new way to fill my days.

I am praying that God will make me obedient to His will in my life. I want to hear His voice and follow. When I search the scriptures for examples of this, it always seemed that God asked His people to do things they thought they couldn't, but they did anyway, and He pulled through. Maybe I know what He's asking me to do and I just don't want to say yes yet. Maybe I'm afraid.

Here's my prayer for today, that God would fulfill His promise from Proverbs 2: "If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." I pray that God will show me the insight I need. I will seek it as a treasure. I will apply my heart to understanding His will.

1 comment:

Val said...

Yet agian Elly, words I needed to read. Thank you.