Archives

PRIORITIES, PROJECTS, PEOPLE AND PERSPECTIVE

My life this year has consisted of moving from one big project to another. It has been crazy as sometimes I tried to juggle two or three projects at once, and always, as soon as I finished one, I would move on to the next.
*
I’ve written six books this year so far. I helped out with the family reunion and my mother’s and aunt’s 80th birthday party. I started a new hobby of making jewelry and have made quite a number of pieces as gifts and for myself. I took on a two-month study of the book of Revelations and read the Bible in 90 days. I did many projects for our pastor and the church, including doing the pastor’s weekly Powerpoint outline of his message, as well as four other major Powerpoint presentations. I put together two booklets for special occasions for our church’s 50th anniversary (a prayer guide and a pictorial history of our church), ordered and organized 5000 prizes for the church’s Springapalooza, headed up the missions booth for our ministries fair and wrote/and or designed several other smaller projects for the church. I wrote a weekly devotion for my blog. I sent three suitcases off to the Naranjos with various travelers, and if you don’t think sending a suitcase to Ecuador is a project, think again!
*
In the last week or two alone, I have shopped for and packed one of those suitcases with Christmas gifts, things for the new baby and a variety of other things the Naranjos needed. I have also made some of those gifts and finished writing one of the books. Our pastor is the one taking the suitcase to them as he stops in Ecuador to visit them on his way to Bolivia. He is speaking ten times at a pastor’s conference in Bolivia and asked me to research and write bullet points for six topics in his syllabus, design the cover and also to do Powerpoints for his messages down there. I also put together two Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes this week. At this moment, I am printing, laminating and binding 34 of my books—a huge task in and of itself. I am speaking to a creative writing class on Monday and discovered of the 42 books I have written, I only had 8 left on my bookshelf.
*
I have several more projects standing in line that must be finished before the end of the year. Two more books to finish. A baby sweater, bonnet and blanket to crochet. The narrative for our church’s Easter cantata to be written. And of course, all the preparations for Christmas.
*
Trust me—I am not telling you all these things to toot my own horn. There are pros and cons to all this. Yes, it is nice to look back and see all the things that have been accomplished this year. I may have done a lot of sitting on my backside, but I certainly have not been lazy! I love it that, although I cannot get to church much because of caring for Robbie, I can still have a ministry in my church and in missions. I cherish the ministry I have to our precious Robbie, but I also love it that, after eight years of quietly sitting at home with him, in the last two years my outreach has once more extended beyond the walls of my home. I find happiness and satisfaction in having an outlet for my creativity.
*
The cons? Time spent on all these projects robs me of time for relationships with the people who are important in my life. Bob and I still spend a lot of time just talking or being together when he is home, but I am sure he could use more of my undivided attention. He’s been very patient, and helpful, but I know it would please him if I would make a little more time to get some other things done, too, like housework and laundry! It is hard to prioritize things like vacuuming or scrubbing toilets when so many of my “projects” seem to be so much more worthy in terms of ministry or eternal value. Pleasing my husband, however, ought to have highest priority since that is the role to which God has called me. Scrubbing the floor is pretty low on my totem pole, but if it makes my husband happy…
*
Time sitting under the computer takes away time I could be playing with Robbie when he is awake, or time spent with my mother when I am able to get out of the house. People ought to take the priority over projects. Someday, will I look back with regret for all the time I spent on my computer or working on other projects rather than being in the moment with my loved ones? The time we spend with the people we love is ministry, too, and has great eternal value. Love is an action word. Time spent encouraging, helping, acting out love and kindness is never wasted.
*
I know I’m not alone in this. You’ve been there, too, haven’t you? Whether it is projects like mine that keep us too busy, or a job that has precedence, or some activity that’s become an obsession, we need to be mindful of our true priorities. Most of us know the pressure and guilt of feeling as if there is just not enough time to do everything we need to do and that we are neglecting relationships because of it. Something has to give. But what?
*
I guess it’s a matter of balance. I know I tend to get obsessive about the projects I do. I am an overachiever, I suppose, living by the motto “If anything’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well” and by the verse, “…whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31) Bob says I have tunnel vision when it comes to my work. Somehow I have to learn to balance the projects I am involved in with the rest of my responsibilities and with my relationships.
*
It’s also a matter of perspective. If I could look at vacuuming and dusting as ministry to my husband, perhaps I’d be more eager to do them! If I bear in mind that every minute I spend with my mom or playing with Robbie is ministering to them, then my other areas of ministry will pale by comparison.
*
I think of the story of Mary and Martha. Luke 10:38-42 tells us a little something about them. “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
*
I’ve always had a bit of a problem with this story. We women all know that someone had to feed all those men! Martha invited them into her home and she felt responsible to serve them. We understand that, don’t we? I’m sure she wanted to do her best for Jesus. She probably thought of it as her ministry to Him. I can see myself in that, can’t you? I know Jesus was grateful for her efforts, but He had a gentle reminder for her. Two reminders, actually:
*
The first was that our ministry must be done with the right heart attitude. If we are grumbling and complaining, stressing and fretting over it, we may as well not do it all. Serving Jesus should be done out of hearts of love, joy, gratefulness and generosity. The second thing he wanted Martha to see is that the spiritual and emotional relationship is more important to Him than the physical busyness, even if she was “ministering” to Him.
*
I need to find that balance and perspective in my life, and get back to putting people before projects. It means I am going to have to cut back on some things; maybe even give up some things altogether. I may even have to learn to say “no” now and then! That’s so difficult for me because I love everything I’m doing. I need to balance my time better. Most of all, though, I need to prioritize what is truly important in my life and put them—the people I love—back at the top of the list. My mother is a good example to me of this. People are her projects! Her time and efforts and money are spent on doing for others.
*
I John 3:18 says, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” Bob knows I love him. Robbie knows I love him. My mother knows I love her. I tell them all the time. But love is an action word. It’s time I set aside some of these other things and show them a little bit better.
Advertisements