Today’s woman is busy. At work, we manage, coordinate, organize, plan, build and implement. Then, at home we do the same. However, we often experience more success at work than at home. Am I right?
Why is that?
I think it is because we have learned how to prioritize at work more effectively than we do at home. It may be because we are being paid at work and not at home that we decide to put more effort into priority management with our out-of-the-house jobs.
For me, effective priority management requires focus on keeping my two major roles well managed. On the one hand, if I don’t manage things in my companies well, I don’t make any money; the success of an entrepreneur is absolutely based on what I do (or don’t do). On the other hand, however, I am wife and mom, and solely responsible for managing the various nuanced roles within those titles. Which, as you probably know, can be complicated.
What I have found most helpful in the management of my non-entrepreneurial role is to identify the areas of priority that only I can do, and invite God in to show me the how. (Note, this process is also helpful in my entrepreneurial role, but this post is focused on the non-entrepreneurial roles)
Here’s how that looks for me:
I am a Christ follower, which means I am living my life to reflect the love and glory of God the Father through a personal relationship with Jesus the Son by reading His Word and listening for the promptings and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. This relationship is the source of everything I need to live out the command to “… love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT) and is my greatest priority as well as something only I can do: no one else can develop this relationship for me. Others can help (as in books I read or conferences I attend) but only I can choose to use my time to develop this relationship.
I am a woman created by God, which means I am loved and cherished equally with those around me: no more or less deserving. My personal needs in taking care of my mind, body and soul however are my priority alone; no one else can choose to make the time to take care of me. Others can help (as in a masseuse or trainer), but only I can choose to make the time to take care of my needs.
I am married, which means I am solely responsible for being a wife to my husband. This relationship is a main priority in my life (second only to my relationship with Jesus) and therefore requires my efforts in developing and maintaining it in ways no one else can. Only I can choose to make my husband a priority when determining how to spend my time. We can interact with others and invite others to take care of us and each other (as in eating out or when we travel), but it is my choice alone to seek God’s will in how to honor this relationship and follow where He leads me.
I am a mom, which means I am solely responsible for being a mother to my children. The relationships I have with my children are a priority second to my relationships with Jesus and my husband. It is my choice alone to seek God’s will in how to parent them as their mother. Over the years, I have invited others to guide and support me and used a myriad of resources to help me learn to parent my children, but making the choice to do so, as well as making the choice to make time for them according to the season they are in, is mine alone to make.
The rest of the things in my life, my home for example, require me to ensure they are taken care of, but are not solely up to me. Therefore, their priority level is beneath that of the relationships in my life. Yes, the house needs to be cleaned and maintained, but the choice to do so, and how that gets done is for my husband, children and I to make together. When I am planning how to use my time each week this area comes after I have focused on the relationships in my life.
Effective priority management of the relationships that are in our lives is not as complicated as I think we sometimes make it out to be. We strive to fulfill expectations of our own making, ones we have adopted out of a sense of failure if we do not measure up. This faulty belief system influences our choices and actions in negative ways, building resentment and bitterness and fueling anger and frustration. I lived like that for a long time and almost lost everyone and everything that was dear to me.
There is another, less complicated way. Surrender. Let go of what you think it means to be a good woman, good wife, good mother, good home keeper and instead invite God to lead you into His plans for you in each role. It is a choice you can make each day that will change the trajectory of your life in ways you cannot even imagine. I am living proof that a surrendered life leads to love, joy and peace, and you can be too.
Father, please speak to each of us today. Help us to understand how to live the life You created us to live and let go of the one we think we are supposed to live. Help us to trust you. Help us to hear you. Help us to receive your love and be filled by it. Help us to find peace in the surrendered life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If this topic has awakened something in you, please consider digging deeper into learning how to live the surrendered life. I have written my story of how God led me through this process in my book Cultivating Peace: Receiving God's Peace within Your Chaos and a study guide, Digging Deeper, to implement the changes God is leading you to make. You can find them both HERE.