30 September 2008

Remember GOD; Forget the Guilt

Last week in my small group we talked about our priorities.

Yikes! The priorities talk! Guilt! But, maybe all moms feel self-reproach for not being able to do everything, though. Maybe all mothers feel weighed down with condemnation because as more kids have been added to the family, the priority list has slowly felt like less about what is eternally valuable and more about what errands, cleaning, and schoolwork absolutely must done and what emergencies must be taken care of today. Oh, the guilt guilt guilt of it all!

"Guilt is the source of sorrows, the avenging fiend that follows us behind with whips and stings." ~ Nicholas Rowe

"Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving." ~Erma Bombeck

It's no surprise what the priority list should look like.

Everybody knows what it's supposed to be, right?

It's actually pulling that off and still knocking out my own hauswife-homeschooler-and-mother-of-a-large-family to-do list that's the challenge. Somehow it feels like my things creep up the chart and God's stuff slips down.

Speaking of condemnation, I read somewhere recently that if we're not spending all day, every day in the Word that we should rethink our priorities. ACK! How disheartening! More fuel for the ol' guilt machine. As much as I would like to be a student of the Word in the original Greek and Hebrew, all day, every day, it's simply not possible for everyone, including me. I truly wish that it were.

So what does making God first and foremost look like?

Well, my Bible study beauties and I learned (again, not a new concept here) that making God our #1 priority means spending time in His presence every day. No excuses! It means giving Him Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication daily. The way to know and be close to God is to be in His Word, on my knees, Bible and notebook in hand, and with worship songs on my lips. Every day.

We talked about the concept of tithing our time to the Lord. Scripture says that a tithe (that 10% of my income -- I say of the gross, many disagree, but I won't digress on that particular polemic landmine right now) already belongs to God. It's holy, set apart, separate... meaning not mine, but His alone.

So, my time tithe, my quiet time, would also be holy, set apart, separate... meaning not my time, but His alone.

Michael and I have a devotional time with the kids every morning first thing. We pray, read the Bible, read a chapter of our book by Josh McDowell, then pray for our nephew Lincoln who has Down's Syndrome, Abby Riggs who is battling leukemia, Firewot, Abeba, and Teyiba, the three girls we're supporting in Ethiopia through World Vision, and then for our family, our church family, specific requests, praises, etc. Later, during our school day, the kids and I have individual Bible studies together.

But, this week I got busted.

None of that counts as my personal, private time with God on my face in worship. Confession: Some days, I have to say, my quiet time lasts about 5 minutes. Some days I don't even spend one minute alone. Ouch. It's high time for me to cut out whatever needs to be cut to protect that precious appointment. I need more time with the Father. BUT, hold the side order of guilt!

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8.1)

So, starting now I'm making God priority #1. Daily quiet time is a must. Guilt's getting flushed.

Whooeeee, what a relief! The luxury of delving into the Gospel 8 hours per day is not really an option at this time in my life, with the things that God has already called me to be and do. Being quietly alone with the Lord studying the Bible, giving him my time tithe every day is.

THANK YOU to those who've been praying for my Grandmother Ortlund this week as she's been so sick. I know she has really needed and appreciated the love, support, and supplication. As of last night she was feeling much better, getting release from the ICU hopefully today. Praise the Lord!


emily said...

Great, now I am just overcome with guilt! Pretty sure that wasn't the point here........oh, grace, it flows like rain, right????? :)

Ugg, I hate when my priorities are whacked. Somehow I manage to find time to blog and fb.........?? Hmmm

Thank you for this.

Michael and Michelle said...

GREAT post! That you for that!
Why is it so hard to set aside quiet time with the Lord??? He is the most important part of our lives....yet the first thing to get bumped on our lists of things to do. Time tithe....my husband and I have talked about this. It shouldn't even be a question......it's already His time! Again, great post!! Thank you!


Sarah said...

Oh this post is too good not to comment on. Thank you for using your blog to encourage me in multiple areas of my life: as a follower of Christ, a wife and a mother.

~Laura~ said...

love this blog post. Just what I needed today. I've been losing focus lately. UGH!

What Josh McDowell book do you guys do? We need a new one that's age appropriate for both kids (9 and 3)

Lisa said...

A refreshing reminder! Thank you!

FHL said...

Thank you Laurie for this wonderful post. I've had so many days where I've also spent lots of time with J in the word and teaching him about God, but then went kerplunk on my personal one on one time...then rolls in the guilt. Thanks for the priority check... and for sharing your heart :o)

Hauswife said...

Hey Laura, we're using JM's "Family Devotional". It's great.

darci said...

i haven't been around in awhile..hope your gramma continues to feel better.
oh this is so huge in my life..I sometimes feel like I have NO time for anything..the laundry, the dishes, the meals, the bills, the homeschooling, the diaper changing, butt-wiping, yadayada..it never gets DONE! I might have shared this before, but reading Brother Lawrence (awesome book-practicing the presence of God)..and he talks about how peeling potatoes can be an act of worship if we do it with a heart for God. I have to say that was life changing for me! AT this stage in life, I don't have the same lovely sit-on-my-deck with my Bible and journal I used to have (and took for granted!) .it's up at 530am to spend time with God..and that only lasts me til mid-morning! lol! so to just TRY to stay with Him, thru the day, thru the 'drudgery'..and do all that as an act of worship and love to Him.
I LOVE the thought of the time tithe..thanks for sharing that!!
God bless you! darci