"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil," Ephesians 5:15-16.
Have you ever thought - "I don't have time for all the things I have to do"? Believe me, I think that all the time. I always feel like I'm behind. There are things that just never seem to get accomplished. As I go to bed each night, I have two mental lists. One list of things that were supposed to get done today, but didn't, and another list of things that I'm supposed to get done tomorrow, but probably won't. Some of the things are just in my head, and some are extremely visible, like the pile of papers on my desk and the dishes in the sink. Homeschooling exacerbates this problem in some ways, because it adds to my list of things that take time to do. Also, during the time that I am teaching Rory, Lily is generally trashing some other area of the house, as only a two-year-old can do. I have found that I need to stay near Rory even when he is doing independent work, or he is likely to daydream and get absolutely nothing accomplished.
So, what is the answer? I think it is in setting priorities. As Americans, we are taught that our first priority is to ourselves. "Take care of yourself, first, or you won't be able to take care of anyone else." Of course, this is true to some degree. If I never took time to eat or sleep, I would soon be sick, and would need to be taken care of, myself. However, I think that this "me, first" mentality is in reality one of the evils mentioned in the scripture. I have had many people say that they don't know how I can stay home with the children all the time. They suggest that I need to get away, and have time for myself. However, I really don't think I would be any happier if I spent more time away from my family. I really enjoy my husband and kids - they are some of my favorite people! They entertain me and make me reach outside of myself. Thinking about myself and my wants and needs all the time is really a path to depression and discontentment. Trying to "escape" through entertainment media such as music, TV, or my personal favorite, books, is never going to make life better. It will just delay the inevitable. So, here is my priority list:
1. God - I know that I have to spend more time with Him, and make sure that I am introducing my children to Him any chance I can get.
2. Family - This includes taking care of my immediate family, and also connecting more with my extended family.
3. God's Family - Making time for my church family, and other Christian friends.
4. Neighbors - Jesus' definition, basically caring for everyone who doesn't fall into one of the two previous categories, and sharing God's love with everyone I meet.
5. God's possessions - Basically, this includes everything I think I own. God has been reminding me lately that I am only a steward, and that I am really responsible for taking care of the stuff he gives me. I don't get to break it, waste it, or lose it. I need to use it carefully, and be ready to return it to him the minute he asks for it, with a thank-you note for loaning it to me for all that time!
6. Maybe I should put myself here, but I have a feeling that if I spend my time on the first five priorities, my life will be so full and purposeful, that I won't even notice the omission!
"I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20