Setting Priorities

I am not a very good Christian, wife or mother.

I just realized that how I prioritize things in my life speaks volumes about me.  Also, my priorities seem to be a source of the frustration and lost feelings I have been struggling with.

I tend to prioritize my life as:

  • children
  • spouse
  • God
  • me

Looking at my list, I can clearly see why I am having such a hard time feeling fulfilled.

CAUTION:  The question I am about to pose could certainly ruffle more than a few feathers.

What if I no longer made my children my #1 priority?

This is NOT to say I have any intentions of:

  • No longer loving my children
  • Neglecting my children
  • Abusing my children
  • No longer meeting their needs
  • No longer indulging their wants occasionally
  • Standing by and watching my kids be unloved, neglected or abused by anyone at any time

If I am not careful, I find that when it comes to my kids, I tend to put all of their needs and wants before everything else.  I should clarify that the needs and wants I am talking about are above and beyond their basic needs of:

  1. Love
  2. Food
  3. Shelter (warm & safe)
  4. Personal cleanliness (body & clothes)

When I was growing up, my parents were never “rich”.  Somehow though, I always had everything I ever needed.  Often, I had all the things I ever wanted as well.  My parents were/are very much of the belief that your kids should come first, always.  And they lived it.  I can not think of one time my parents ever put any other needs, their own or otherwise, before mine or my 3 siblings.  I have been very fortunate to have such amazing parents.

But, I have to wonder, did they sell themselves short by making their often spoiled and ungrateful children the #1 priority of their lives?  It took several years after becoming “grown” to realize just how much they really did sacrifice for us.  Namely,  their marital relationship often took a backseat to what us kids needed or wanted (again beyond basic needs).

I use to tell my parents, when I would think or do something they didn’t agree with, that my thought patterns were their fault.  After all, they raised me, they molded and sculpted the person I had become.  However, that can only got me so far.  Eventually, I did move out and other influences have continued to mold and shape me into the person I am today.

The foundation my parents laid within me for the first 18 years of my life, and a smattering of years off and on after, has given me the fortitude and, if you will, the audacity to question if my parents approach to life and child rearing is the best approach.

I have been thinking about this A LOT, especially over the past year.

What if I re-prioritized my life?

What if my new priority list looked something like this?

  1. God
  2. Spouse*
  3. Self
  4. Children

Wouldn’t this just shake things up around this family!!?

1.  Prioritizing and putting God first in my life.  Again, this is more than offering lip-service.  If I were to put the Lord first in my  life, turn it all over to Him, trust that He will take care of me, I can see a whole new world of possibilities opening up for me and my family. 

I long, I yearn, I need to have that deep-rooted passion for the Lord.  I want to be that person who throws her hands high in the air, reaching out to the Lord during worship.  I want to be that person who quickly falls to her knees to give thanks to the Lord, in good times and bad.

If God is my #1, unabashedly, would that not make me a better person, a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter, a better sister and a better friend?

I know first hand that it will.  I know in the past, when I have whole heartedly sought the Lord, my other relationships are better.  I can’t say that I know exactly why this is, because I still feel like the same ol’ me.  My opinion is, I become so engrossed, so filled, so wrapped in His love and grace that I unconsciously become a better person.

2.*  Prioritize my husband, my best friend, my lover, and my partner in crime (figuratively NOT literally) in the #2 position.  The only person that should ever come before my husband should be my Lord and Savior.  And, I expect nothing but the same from my husband in return.  What do you suppose would happen if I were to put my husbands needs and wants before my own?

I already think my husband is the “bee’s knees”, what would happen if I were more patient, more loving and more affectionate with him?  Our relationship would be stronger, we would be closer and happier.

If I am walking in the light of the Lord, and placing my husband above myself, would I not be more inclined to take care of and better myself?

3.  Prioritizing me.  By discovering the love and freedom associated with seeking and living for the Lord, putting my husband before myself and seeking to take care of and better myself in order to please them, would I not also be allowing myself to “find Christi”?  After all, if I am secure in my relationship with the Lord and my husband, that will free up my time and mind in order to explore the things I am interested in and want to do.

All the efforts I have been spending on half heartedly seeking the Lord, or trying to control my relationship with my husband can now be used to become the person I want to be.  A healthier and happier Christi.

4.  My children will never be last nor least in my life!  However, I feel that by setting the example of how to serve, worship, honor and live for the Lord, I am providing them with a foundation for success.  My parents were never religious people and I had to find the Lord on my own.  How different could my children’s lives be if I give them a good foundation and knowledge of the Lord?

By putting my husband before myself, I can teach the girls how to put others before themselves.  Thus giving them an example of a healthy, loving and stable marital relationship.  Something they can hopefully model in their own lives.  Also, by becoming healthier and seeking out things I am interested in, am I not teaching my girls to do the same things in their lives?

Maybe it is ok to tell my kids no about certain things.

Maybe it is ok for them to feel that twang of disappointment.

Maybe if I set my expectations for my children higher, they will step up to the challenge.

The girls, certainly, do NOT have to have candy or ice cream every day.  Nor do they have to have every new toy, suit of clothes, or goto or participate in every activity they desire.  At 8 years, 5 years, 4 years and 14 months, I should be telling them what they want and need, not the other way around.

Maybe instead of making idle threats or trying to bribe them to behave, I should expect and accept nothing less.  And if, I know my girls at all, they are more than capable of stepping up to and excelling at this challenge.

How is your life prioritized?

*After sleeping on this, I thought I had better come back and clarify some things.  By stating that I am going to prioritize my life so that my husband is in the #2 position, I am in no way saying that I am subservient or taking a backseat to him.  I am in no way claiming that me (or other women) should obey or serve their husbands.  I am simply stating that, maybe by seeking to make him happy, to make our relationship stronger, healthier, happier and better, I too can find some inner peace and happiness.

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2 Comments

Filed under General, Health, Spiritual

2 responses to “Setting Priorities

  1. Jamie

    I love this post… I just want to say first that you are on the right track.. I’m proud of your ability to recognize the shortcomings in life and the willingness to change…
    I will have to tell u that we have had similar lives. Although I never had a mother to teach me anything about womanhood.. I too have had to learn almost everything on my own..

    When I decided to change my priorities I put God first, John second, kids third, but never really put myself in a catagory.. I’m not sure why.. I guess because I never feel more fulfilled then when I’m letting God have his way.. I love not only knowing he has given me the Holy Spirit to lead me but I also love to feel the spirit’s presence on a daily basis.. Knowing that no
    Matter what I do God will be pleased with me has been exhilirarating to say the least..

    I must put my 2 cents in about the wife part tho. I think as you begin to put god first in your marriage then you will find that submitting and serving your husband will become a big part of the equation. At first it was really hard for me to get because I felt like I didn’t have to do anything anyone told me. But that wasn’t it at all.. What God is doing is teaching me to respect Him by giving more of myself to John. Allowing him (john) to have the final say on things and letting him know that I support his decisions even if they are not what I would do. Jesus showed his love for the church by serving. Everywhere he went he encouraged and lifted those up who were downtrodden. And taught them how to love one another. He has taught me so much.. I never thought John could enrich my life so much when I chose to step down and submit to his leadership in the house. It has been hard but so worth it.
    Submitting isn’t a bad word, just as you surrender your life to Christ in submission to His will, you surrender your heart to your husband in submission by showing him that you know that God will lead him in leading your family. You are basically giving you spouse permission to shine and make his own mistakes while you cheer him on to greatness..
    Hope that makes a little since. It’s just what I’ve learned and am continually learning on a daily basis.

    I get daily emails from a place called marriagevineministries. It’s little exerpts from different Christian authors and experts on all marriage issues.. It has helped me tremendously in learning and putting into practice how to put God first in my marriage and make my marraige more fufilling. And my life..
    🙂

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