Sometimes the ins and outs of life are overwhelming. Recently, I’ve awakened from my crazy tunnel vision and realized that most of my interactions with my kids are just barking orders and I’ve been mad at my husband for no reason and everywhere I look there is some mess or another to clean up and I’ve got six hours worth of homework to do in an hour and a half and no one has any clean socks and my friend has a crisis and tomorrow’s a potluck and I still haven’t gotten my Bible class ready and…all I want to do is cover my head up and escape.
All of those “problems” listed are “chores” that I used to love. What happened? When did these change from things that I get to do into things that I have to do? When and why did it all become so overwhelming? Somewhere along the line, I lost my focus, and now, I’m working on getting it back.
I started by making a mental list of what my priorities are-or at least what I want them to be. First, God. Second, husband. Third, kids. Fourth, everything else. A couple scriptures came to mind:
Luke 9:23 (ESV) says, “And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Acts 17:11: Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
How many times has it happened that I start out the week with good intentions of time with God each day, only to have it be Thursday all of a sudden and I’ve only sat down to study once? My first goal is to be like the Bereans and to examine the Scriptures daily. When I stay in God’s word, it sure does help keep me focused on my other priorities as well.
When everything seems out of control, it is hard to even cook a meal or have a conversation with my family. For me, it is hard to sit down and relax with my family because I have that running list in my mind of everything I should be doing. To reconnect, I like to go somewhere away from home. That gives me a chance to focus only on my family without getting sidetracked by the dirty dishes or the laundry or whatever else catches my eye. There are so many getaways to take advantage of: bike riding, hiking, rafting, dollar movies, even the ride to somewhere else can be a great getaway. Although I know it is not the same, I like to think of Jesus as He went away from the crowds to pray.
It is funny how the “everything else” seems to jump up to the top of the priority list without invitation. Sometimes in the form of a phone call, sometimes in the form of a mess in the kitchen, other times in one of the too-many-activities I get myself involved in. I am finally learning that “no” is not a curse word. No to some things means a yes to God, a yes to my husband, and a yes to my children.
All of this sounds great and all, but life can’t be a permanent vacation away riding bikes and listening to the Bible on the iPod and fun and frivolity. But it doesn’t have to be all serious and hard work either. I am learning to set reasonable limits for myself. When I think about what needs accomplished each day, does it all have to get done today?
I started this article almost a year ago. I opened it again today, and realized that great growth has taken place in the last year. Because I realized that my life was not lining up with God’s word, and I decided to take action, great things have happened:
- As a family, we have been studying the Bible together almost every morning.
- We have grown closer as a family, and I have been enjoying them tremendously.
- I am learning to take up my cross daily.
- We have walked through some very tough days and made it out on the other side having learned something.
- God has blessed me with so many more opportunities to honor Him because I have gotten my attitude back in line with Him.
Many times, weeks and months have gone by and I have felt like I have not grown or changed. What a blessing it has been to read back through this and realize that, yes, I really have grown in the Lord! What a blessing it is to be able to take each day as it comes and put to action what I am learning each day from God’s word.
By Heidi Sprouse
Heidi and her husband, Steve, have served with the Rocky Ford church of Christin Rocky Ford, CO for almost seven years. Steve is the pulpit minister. Heidi is currently a secretary for the school district and is going back to school to get her teaching license. They have two children, Hannah, 10, and Caleb, 7.