If you didn't read yesterday's post, please read it first before you read today's post.
If we were organizing our day by priorities, we would make sure that God gets the most of our time, our husbands get the second biggest chunk, our children the third, and so on. However, think about how much time you spent in devotions today and how many hours were spent at a child's beck and call. Or even how many hours you spent on the job as compared to the time you saw your husband. I somehow don't think it is possible to keep our time in direct proportion to our priorities.
I see this most clearly in the life of the famed Proverbs 31 woman. If you see how many verses describe the time she actually spent on her children as opposed to how many verses describe the time she spent working or keeping her home, you might think her priorities were way out of order. However, her days overlapped so that she could focus on the important things and get done what God wanted her to get done. She managed herself well so she could streamline her day, or multi-task as we have come to know it.
Let's look again at the basic necessities we decided upon in the previous post, and see how they can fit into our priorities without going to extremes.
Relationship with God. I know what you're thinking. "How can anyone go to an extreme and spend too much time on their relationship with God?" I don't believe they can, if they have a proper perspective on what a relationship with God is. God is beside us, within us, constantly, if we are serving Him. Of course, we should spend time with Him alone with no other distractions, but we can "practice His presence" as the old classic tells us, all throughout our days. We also must realize that a relationship with God is independent of church and ministry activities. We can spend too much time on those things. Of course, completely disregarding God and seeing Him as a "Sunday morning" duty is the other extreme which, obviously, should be avoided.
Food. This is a necessity, of course, but most of us experience food as a luxury. We can certainly eat too much or spend too much time on an elaborate meal when a simple one would do. Of course, we can't ignore our need and that of our families for food, either.
Raiment. Having comfortable, appropriate clothing is a necessity--at least if you want to leave your house! However, keeping up with the latest fashions and trends is not. Only you and God know what a proper balance is for your life. We also don't need to spend an inordinate amount of time dressing and "decorating" ourselves. As a busy mom, I've given up more elaborate hairstyles and can now style my almost knee-length hair in 3 minutes. That gives me time to spend on more important things.
Shelter. We must have a home in which to live, which implies that we must work to buy one or pay the rent payment. In your home, perhaps your husband is the primary breadwinner, or you are, or you share the responsibility. That work must be done to meet the needs of the family. Sadly, I've seen large houses that must cost a lot of work hours to purchase and maintain that always seem to be empty. The people that work so long and hard to buy them are rarely there to enjoy the fruit of their labors. We must make sure that we have balance here as well.
Sleep. Rest is important, and one of the first things we omit or limit when we are pressed for time. This leaves us stressed and irritable and some experts even believe that not getting enough sleep can contribute to weight gain. (Who knew?) On the other hand, too much sleep can cause us to be lazy and unmotivated about the important things in our lives. Most adults, I'm told, need between 7-9 hours a night. We must do our best to get our rest, but some circumstances will prevent that perfect 7 hours you may need. When a child is sick through the night or a baby wakes you often, just give it to God and do your best.
Love. This is a tough one to quantify. Basically, although all we really need is God, the people in our lives are essential for a truly full and abundant life. If we neglect those close to us, we will certainly miss the best life has to offer us. Spend as much time as possible loving those in your home and in your family. They are gifts, and though in some cases, the days may be long, the years are indeed short.