It’s Monday, so that means I’m back with another “episode” in our time management series. Even though this was written with homeschooling moms in mind, please keep reading even if you don’t homeschool. The thoughts presented are useful for anyone who is busy, and I’m guessing that includes you.
Defining “It All”
How can I get it all done? This may be the most common question asked among christian homeschooling moms. After all, we do wear a lot of hats. And we do want to do a good job. As women who are striving for godliness, there is admittedly a lot to do. We have our spiritual walk to nurture, our husbands to take care of, our children to raise and educate, there is the house to clean and bills to pay, and all those programs at church and in the homeschool community that need volunteers. With so much to do, it’s easy to see how we arrive at the point of falling to our knees and crying out;
“How can I get it all done?”
I know that when I fill my schedule with too many things, (even good things) like co-ops, enrichment classes, church functions, even ladies’ Bible classes, I find myself getting easily overwhelmed. I’m frustrated that supper isn’t ready when it should be, or maybe not at all, that “school” is creeping into the late afternoon, that the laundry somehow piled up while we were out, and that I haven’t actually seen my husband’s eyes in over a week! I look up from my busy, overfilled life and helplessly cry;
“How can I get it all done?”
The fact of the matter is, nobody can do everything. So the first step in “getting it all done” is to define “it all”. This is the act of very purposefully defining your priorities, as well as discovering your unique gifts and talents and how God wants you to use them. It’s all too easy to get distracted into doing those things that are not for you to do. You must know what it is that you are to be about in order to do those things well.
Whenever I read about the noble woman in Proverbs 31, I could easily get overwhelmed at all she had to do. But upon close inspection, I see that she is not described as being overwhelmed or over burdened in any way. She doesn’t worry or fret, her children call her blessed, and her husband has all he needs. This is a woman who knows what she needs to do and calmly sets about doing it, leaving all else aside. She gets it all done because she allows God to define “it all”, and we can do the same thing.
If you’ve never gone through the process of determining your priorities and writing them down, make a commitment to do so. Even if you have a pretty good idea of what they are, go ahead and spend some time clarifying and bringing them into focus. If you’re married, ask your husband to pray with and for you, and to prayerfully lead you as you make these decisions.
Get the Big Picture
Start with God’s priorities for women in general
God’s word is full of wisdom and even commandments concerning how we spend our time. While this is not at all a comprehensive study, the following verses might help get you started. As you study, God may lead you to specific verses that he wants you to see. Pray for guidance and wisdom as you read and apply these scriptures to your task of setting godly priorities.
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
James 1: 27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Deuteronomy 6: 4-5
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6: 6-9
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.
A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
For a comprehensive look at a godly woman, let’s look at Proverbs 31:10-31. Perhaps you’ve studied this passage before. Maybe it overwhelms you, I know it did me for quite a while. But for now, don’t look at this as a list of tasks you must perform, but as a guideline for who you are to be. Where is her focus? What are some of her character traits? How does this wise woman build her home, as mentioned in Prov. 14:1?
Proverbs 31: 10-31
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
We could study the issue of godly womanhood and right priorities forever and still be learning. It’s a good idea to make this one of those studies that you pursue on a continual basis as you grow in Christ. These verses, and those that God has directly led you to, give us a good place to start. From these passages we can see that God’s noble woman;
- Loves Him and seeks Him with everything that she has and is
- Helps and brings honor to her husband
- Loves, provides for, and educates her children
- Helps the needy
- Provides a comfortable home for family and neighbors
- Teaches younger women
- Contributes financially by using her gifts-and in a way that doesn’t distract from her other priorities
- Is not deceived by the charms of this world
- Keeps her body healthy and strong
As you look to God for wisdom, He will guide you as you determine what is most important to you. Whenever you have a decision to make, or a question of how to spend your time, use this list and what God showed you to guide your choices.
To help you develop the habit of making choices based on your godly priorities, give yourself a visual reminder. Make a list or chart, including a verse that supports each one, and put it where you can easily access it. Consult it every time you have a choice to make, when you’re planning your day, and any time you feel like things are getting out of balance.
As you go about your week, be looking for God’s answers to the question of how He wants you to spend your time. Then come back next Monday and we’ll talk about finding God’s priorities for you specifically.