Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Priority List

On Friday before Thanksgiving, I stopped at the grocery store to buy my weekly portion. Crowds thronged into the cashier's lines. Holiday temporary workers offered samples at the end of every shelf. Tears stung my eyes. You see I was already fighting burn-out, and an overwhelmed feeling. "I can't take on this next month," I cried silently, so no one could hear. I swiped the tears wetting my cheeks.
When I arrived home, my husband gave me a lecture about setting my priorities and clearing some items from my to-do list. The next morning my quiet time focused on "Lord, what will Thou have me do, and what should I leave out?" I read a beautiful devotion about putting God first at this busy time of year from Kathy Macias.
I listed twenty-three things taking varying amounts of my time. I wrote "delay until January" beside three items. One item would end soon. My finger skimmed the remaining list putting numbers beside each one. Going through this process was an eye-opener for me in many ways.
Things I learned included:
1. My number one priority was my quiet time with the Lord every morning, but, last week I had skipped four mornings. Going to a Bible study shouldn't take the place of personal time with God.
2. Second on my list was time with my husband. Guilt reddened my face as I remembered desperately trying to catch up e-mails the night before while my husband read in the den by himself. He would never complain, but did it bother him? I spent one night away this week teaching a class which didn't include him.
3. This one is probably not a shocker. After family (which includes kids, grandkids and mother-in-law) and attending church, my next item was writing (NOT E-MAILS OR SCIMMING WEB SITES)--writing).
I am thankful God led me to set my priorities as we began the holiday season. In doing so, I've coped with the extra pressures much better. Every morning when I sit in my usual chair and talk with God, I see my priority list and realign my day with my list and with God's will for me.
Christmas should be a happy time, not one where we're stressed and burdened with too many things to do. Yet, too often that's what we remember.
I pray for you a good priority list, a merry Christmas, and a happy new year.