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.”
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.