How to prioritize? Life is busy and hectic – I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I am sure that this is not a condition unique to my own life. So much to do, so many responsibilities. I hate feeling burnt out spiritually, especially when it is my own fault for not spending time with the Lord because I allow myself to be distracted with other things.
Although I am really quite well, since I have had mono I sometimes panic when I feel like my load is too much or that I am starting to get tired. This all probably seems silly. Things always seem so much bigger and more dramatic in my mind, and when they have been written out and prayed out – casting all my anxieties upon Him who cares for me – they seem entirely manageable.
To really live well and intentionally, perhaps I should be more focused – less irons in the fire, fewer hats to wear – whatever. Maybe my walk with God would have more depth if I weren’t so busy. Would I have a kinder heart and be more sensitive to others and enjoy investing in different relationships if I didn’t feel overwhelmed with what is on my plate at this time?
I wonder how people I look up to have balanced their time and ordered their lives. I want to be a friend whose door is always open, and yet I often feel a desperate need to be quiet and alone. My mind seems to be torn between what feels to be two opposite needs (yet somehow they relate and surely Jesus balanced them perfectly):
1) Private/personal life – by this I mean time for bodily rest and relaxation, time spend in the Word refueling, quiet prayer, physical exercise, private prayer and worship, laundry, cleaning, thinking, breathing, practicing la guitarra, reading, journaling, building and strengthening of the marriage relationship (or fiancé-relationship!), protection of personal space and time (not bringing office work home, etc.)
2) (Versus?) Other life (not sure what to call this – public? Ministerial? Accessible? – obviously my vocabulary is sadly lacking) – by this I mean responsibilities including class work, homework, jobs, church activities and participation, corporate prayer and worship, involvement in ministry, social life, etc. For me right now this other life would include my classwork, job in the communications department, planning a wedding, planning a trip to Southeast Asia, being accessible to people and investing in their lives, playing soccer and volleyball and basketball with the wonderful friends at Midwestern, supporting Nels in his role as youth pastor at Maplehill Baptist, etc. All good things (and obviously some overlap in “private life”).
What can be cut out? Nothing, I think. So until or unless I find some means of balancing it all, I will just start with my #1 priority, and allow the rest to fall as it will – doing my best of course to fulfill all of my obligations that I do believe are from the Lord, trusting that He will enable me to accomplish that which is most important (Isaiah says that the Lord gives power to the faint, and that He promises that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength), and what is left undone – is left undone.
I am growing more and more jealous of my private personal time. Sometimes I wonder if this is selfish, but I know that if I have proper time resting and seeking God, then in turn the remaining hours that I can invest in others have become exceedingly more valuable. I am only worth being around when I am diffusing the aroma of Christ. My work has eternal value only when He is properly glorified in my life as the first and the last, my God, my Redeemer. The whole of my life and ministry and relationships suffer if I become a trifler in my own walk with the Father. Obviously, this must be my #1 priority. What may seem (at least initially) to be at the expense of other aspects of life, will in fact enrich and give purpose to every moment and task, even the most menial.
Nels has these words of John Wesley on a slip of paper in his Bible “O begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercises…whether you like it or no, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days…do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow. Do not starve yourself any longer. Take up your cross and be a Christian altogether…”
I will not be a trifler. I will take up my cross and follow where He leads.
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear that your soul may live…” (Isaiah 55:1-3a)