Do your actions reflect your priorities?

His voice rang true as it penetrated my heart, “Kina, You can NOT sprint a Marathon! You can save all of the orphans and win all Mexico for my Kingdom, but if you loose your marriage and your kids resent Me because of you, then you have lost.” God’s words shook me sometime in the middle of the burnout. We had been running long and hard for many years and I knew it was time to stop.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me has heard this story. It’s a soap box that I have been standing on for many years.

It was after those words sank into my heart and mind that I really began to make changes in my daily life which reflected my discovery, changes that reflect my priorities.

So my question to you is, Do your actions reflect your priorities?

What do you spend the most time doing? Where do you concentrate most of your effort?

Don’t be mistaken…Where you spend your time and concentrate your effort IS your priority. Whether you feel that way or not, the message that you convey to others is that they are not as important to you as the areas on which you are focused.

Where do we go from here?

If I asked you about ministry, how would you describe it? What has God “called” you to do? What is your first ministry? What is your second ministry?

Now I want to challenge the way you think. Are you married? Do you have kids? Well, if you are married then I believe that, that good looking guy who swept you off your feet, he is your first ministry. If you have children then they are your 2nd ministry. If your actions don’t reflect the importance of marriage and family, then it is time to make some changes.

So, How do you tell those closest to you that they are important?

Elizabeth George in her book A Woman After God’s Own Heart, gives some practical examples of how to include those closest to you and express to them that they really are your priority. One example that I remember was that if you are baking your husbands favorite dessert to take to the church dinner or other event, instead of telling him he can’t have any because it’s for someone else, go ahead and make a second one just for him, or at the very least, let him have a piece of the one you are taking before it leaves the house.This is such a simple and practical recommendation that helps us tell our husbands that he is our first priority. Another good resource which has become quite popular is a book by Gary Chapman entitled, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do. It gives detailed information about how we each give and receive love. Knowing this can help immensely as we seek to show those around us that we love them and that they are important to us.

What’s next?

Now that you are beginning to see that your actions and family priorities don’t always line up…next week, I will share with you a revitalizing secret that many husbands and wives hold dear.

Until then, may God guide you as you live Under His Shadow!

KD

Psalm 91

Prioritizing Family in Ministry

Let’s face it, Ministry is often exhausting! And while it CAN be extremely fulfilling, It can also suck the life out of you, your marriage and your family.

The first thing that I’ve learned about prioritizing family and ministry is this: Prioritizing means learning to say, “No!” (Yes!, you heard me correctly.) If your family is going to be priority, there are some things that you will not be able to do. Therefore learning to say no is an essential skill to master.

Like many of you, my husband and I started out sprinting this marathon. We were always busy! For years we were the first to arrive at church and almost always the last to leave. We were there every time the doors were opened. (And I’ll tell you, those doors were opened ALOT!) Six days a week there was something that we were in charge of or required to attend. Saturday began with sunrise prayer, continued with neighborhood Kid’s Club and included worship practice and evening bible study. To top that off, for a while the church actually met in our home, so when there wasn’t “ministry” to do, we were cleaning up from a meeting or preparing for a meeting. After all that ministry, there was barely enough time to do the basic necessities like grocery shopping, cooking and laundry. And we certainly did not have time for enjoyable activities, fellowshipping with friends, neighbors or family or resting. During those years most all of our activities and conversations revolved around ministry and as you can guess, our marriage was suffering.

So here is the deal, the only way to prioritize family and full-time ministry is to learn to set boundaries! Repeat after me! “It’s ok to say No!” Now believe me, I understand that you love The Lord and want to serve Him. I also know that 20% of the people always do 80% of the work. And what I’ve come to believe even more is, there ARE people perfectly capable of doing many of these things. However, because we always volunteer or think that no one can do it as well as we can, they never get the opportunity to try. Beyond that, it’s ok to just let some things go undone.

There is a great book that someone recommended to me several years ago when I was struggling with this very thing. I have read it & listened to the audio several times over the years. I think it might be helpful for you too. in fact, I think I might revisit it again as I prepare for my next blog.

Boundaries

When to Say Yes, How to Say No

By: Henry Cloud & John Townsend

Believe me, I know that setting boundaries is not easy, but it does get easier with practice! (We’ll discuss how to do that more another day.)

So where do we go from here?

Step one:

Identify some areas of ministry where you might need to set boundaries. In order to do that, prayerfully ask yourself the following questions.

1) Am I currently involved with any aspect of ministry that I do not believe God has specifically asked me to do?

2) Am I currently involved in any part of ministry simply because someone coerced, obligated or guilted me into doing? Am I involved because others think I should be? Am I involved because others will think poorly of me if I’m not in charge or don’t participate?

3) Am I involved in anything that is sucking the life out of me, my family, or my marriage?

4) Do I enjoy something, but it is taking up way too much time and energy? Am I spread too thin?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you most likely do not have proper boundaries set to protect you, your family or marriage.

(If you answered “no” to all of the above questions…well then this blog is probably not written for you.)

Step Two:

Now make a list of the areas that came to mind when you answered yes to the above questions.

These are the areas where you need to set boundaries!

What’s next?:

Now that you have identified the areas where you need to set boundaries, next week we will look at how to actually make that happen.

Until then, may God guide you as you live Under His Shadow!

KD

Psalm 91