Redeem the Time
In the past few months, I’ve begun re-working what my priorities are and where I should spend my time. This has meant a number of things.
It means reminding myself of the big picture behind motherhood and family life – God’s commands to do it, the eternal fruit it bears, and the witness of a godly family to the world. In moments when I feel that my chores and someday being a mother isn’t “enough” and I could “do more,” I must remember that this is where God has put me, motherhood is His beautiful design, and that I’m being faithful in what He’s put before me to do in my family. And when it’s still really hard – I have to pray that He will renew my mind to rid it of worldly, feminist thinking that has crept in. It means that there are times when sewing is good and what I should be doing, and that cleaning and cooking is so important and not to be downplayed. I also must remember the bigger picture of why we do all those things and that even the most mundane and temporal things done for the right reasons will have eternal value.
It means multitasking when I sew, drive, run, or crochet, if possible (multitasking is less efficient, so this can only be done in certain situations). Often that means I crochet while we’re watching movies, listen to sermons or pray while I drive, sew, and run, or put on Christian songs and sing to Him, so the time spent on mundane and temporal things can have even more investment in eternity.
It means recognizing seasons of learning and rest, when something that will one day bear fruit now takes a lot of work, and also seasons when things have to be put aside, to be picked up later or left forever. We can do things just because we enjoy them, or just because it makes something beautiful, but that should not consume us.
It means if I already have enough dresses I don’t need to sew another one for me, but will use that sewing time for quilts for new babies, mending, etc. This goes for other things, too. I have plenty, so I should use what I have to help others, using gifts to help the church and ministries. This means I give a lot of what I earn – since I don’t need it, I save and give it. It also means giving of my time so someone who has less discretionary time can do something else.
It means putting aside “my” schedule for others. Even the good things, like working on my musical or latest hymn arrangement or that email I was going to reply to.
It means spending time in the Word – not just reading a chapter, but dwelling on it and in it, in worship to God and allowing it to show me who I am and who He is. It means slowing down and savoring my Savior. Our worship serves and glorifies Him.
It means being bold in conversation to take it deeper than trivial things – whether this is for me to learn from others or to be able to help and teach them.
It means assessing what is being faithful. Sometimes finishing a sewing project seems more fruitful than spending time with a sibling or doing extra chores. For me, spending the day taking pictures wouldn’t be a good use of time – but for a young lady blessing a family by doing family portraits for them, or using photography skills as a business, it would be. We choose things that seem more fruitful but sometimes they take us away from what is faithful: and remember that being faithful will bear fruit in the long run. Remember that fruit is not up to us, but up to God – ours is to be faithful. Samuel Rutherford said, “Duties are ours; events are God’s.” There are times when I should be sewing, and there are times when I shouldn’t be. I have to ask myself: Is this what I should be doing right now? Sometimes that means doing a job someone else could do just as well, or something I really don’t want to do or serving a busy sibling by doing their chores for them. Sometimes it means I put aside what seems like greater ministry to honor my father and mother by doing dishes.
Another important thing for me to remember is that not every possibility is my responsibility. There are good things I could do – billions of good things I could do – but just because I can do it doesn’t mean I should do it or that it’s my duty to do it. That’s why passages of scripture that outline what women should be doing are so helpful, because it helps me prioritize.
It means asking myself often: Is what I’m doing with my time helping me and others be faithful to the commands of scripture, or is it just something fun and enjoyable that needs to take the backburner, or even, is it good but keeping me from something better? Music practice is good. But when I’m not serving my family because I “need” to practice, that’s a problem. Writing stories is good. But when I’m neglecting a family in the church that’s in need, I’m not loving the brothers (1 John 3:16-18), and my priorities need to change.