Sunday, March 1, 2009

(Wo)man's Chief End

My husband has always wanted a hat or shirt that reads, "Ask me about my chief end?" (All good Presbyterians should have a hearty chuckle here!). He is, of course, referring to the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (a wonderful resource for all!).

A few months ago, when I first read Kathy Peel's Busy Mom's Guide, the first chapter really struck home. It is all about priorities. I believe the Holy Spirit used Peel's exhortation to live by our priorities to inspire me to review all of my activities and possessions in light of my priorities. What doesn't fit? 

Because I'm a good student, I set out immediately to make lists! Lists of priorities for different categories of my life. The more I thought about it, the shorter those lists got, until I ended up with just one priority: To glorify God and enjoy him forever (answer to the WSC first question). Why did it take me several lists and a couple of months to figure out something I already "knew"? 

Everything else in my life is secondary to this priority, isn't it? What glorifies God? Obedience to him with a joyful heart. What does he command me, as a woman, a wife, a mom, to do? Only the same things he commands all Christians to do (granted, there are a few specific directives like respect my husband, train my children, etc.): love others, serve joyfully, pray continually, give generously, practice hospitality, don't covet, be thankful in all circumstances, walk in the Spirit, study his Word, be faithful in the little things, have faith, care for the fatherless and the widow, perfect! Thankfully, it is the Holy Spirit who enables us to obey. But that really helps simplify my priority list, doesn't it?

Ever since that short list a month or so ago, I've been simplifying and streamlining in earnest: what is cluttering my life (possessions, activities, etc.) that is keeping me from obeying God where he has put me? In other words, why am I having a hard time spending time in the Word (perhaps I could clear off my desk where I used to sit and still have my Bible study aids...)? Why am I griping and yelling at my children (perhaps it's the clutter underfoot and on the counter that is peripherally stressing me out and perhaps I need to train them to start helping out around the house)? Why am I too tired at the end of the day to be a good companion for my husband (perhaps cutting out some activities during the day will enable me to rest a bit instead...)? You get the picture. Hence, the spring cleaning of Betsy's life! Just thought I'd share some of the more spiritual motivation behind the scenes.

To date:
  • Cleaned out boys' closet so it's now safe for them to enter
  • In boys' cloest, hung bar low enough so soon they'll be able to hang things up
  • Cleaned out entry way closet!
  • Have shoe storage shelf in entryway closet along with places for everyone's coats
  • Bought boys little backpacks (daughter already had one) so they can start carrying some of their own gear as we walk without the stroller
  • Cleaned out broom closet in kitchen so it now contains... brooms, vacuum, etc. (not the myriad other things it had that were too much temptation for little boys and caused much frustration for Mommy for dinnertime)
  • Bought underbed storage containers as half-way homes for clothes outgrown mid-season; now I'll only have to get into the attic at the end of the seaon instead of constantly throughout
  • Bought a dayplanner that will include my address book--this is a work in progress, though, so I may switch
  • New menu planning--already helping
  • We budgeted rather specifically at the beginning of January and that has helped relieve so much stress--really, a budget can relieve money stress!
  • The kids and I have been going outside nearly every day (bought rain boots as part of this adventure--nothing can stop us now!); this has helped our health, our attitude, our energy level, ....
  • Set up internet bank to automatically send tithe check to church (along with missionary giving)
  • Set up internet bank to automatically pay bills....
  • My friend Lisa came over to help me declutter my kitchen
  • And this is only the beginning!


Bridgette Boudreaux said...

I am so glad to join you on this Spring Cleaning of our lives....

LuvtheWord said...

Great inspiration Betsy! Excited to hear how God will bless you as you sift and sort and bring life into His order. Great reminder ~