Like most people, we live a very full life. I have a full-time day job and several volunteer roles. We have three very active children, and my husband and I truly like to spend quiet time with each other. This usually results in a week of early mornings and late nights, hours spent at sporting practices or events. Late evenings spent catching up on work items that were put off until the kids went to bed, and possibly a few moments catching up with Paul before we fall asleep and start it all over again. Weekends are just as busy and include sporting events, trips to visit family, and the occasional baby sitter for the kids so Paul and I can spend quality time together.
Please know, I am not complaining. We are truly blessed. And, I realize much of our busyness is due to me. When we go on family vacations, I try to visit friends along the way that we haven’t seen in a while. If we have an extra hour and can do something for someone else, I try to work that in. We try to make the most of every moment we have, as we know the next moment is never guaranteed.
My challenge – I have filled our lives with so many things, that there is sometimes little room left for anything else. And, when I don’t prioritize my time with Jesus, I may spend little to no time with Him.
That CAN NOT happen!
I have been starting each day spending time with Jesus. My bedroom mirror has my prayer list and some of my favorite Bible verses. Each morning, I spend quiet time thanking him before my feet hit the floor. As I prepare for my day, I look in my mirror and pray through my prayer list, asking for specific help for each person and praising Him for the progress and miracles He has already provided. This dedicated morning time helps me to stay more present with Jesus throughout the day. When the stress of the day hits and I start to feel overwhelmed, I can stop and breathe. I seek His Divine Guidance and take time to make more thoughtful, prayerful and present decisions.
Being more intentional and choosing Jesus first has made this much easier these past few months. I can make more thoughtful decisions of what we will and what we will not do. I know my priorities are:
- Everything Else
So, when things come up that take me away from these priorities, it has been easier to say “no”. Last week, I truly utilized this list when it came to blogging. I was feeling quite sick and needed to spend more time in bed. I choose to spend quiet time praying, and said “no” writing about this blog. How appropriate! I needed to practice what I was writing about!
But what happens when I am tempted…when my ego is challenged?
While I have been able to prioritize my life much better lately, a couple of weeks ago I was faced with a situation that was quite a struggle. At work, there is an open position that I do believe I have the skills to do an excellent job. I have experience from outside of the organization, inside the organization and the specific department to truly be successful. However, I knew I really didn’t want the position. I have a role where I can make a real positive impact for our team, our stakeholders and our customers. I am truly excited about the work and believe we are on a path to make a difference!
The challenge I faced was different than you might imagine. I wasn’t offered the job, nor was I asked to apply for the job. It was the exact opposite. When I was talking with an individual in the organization about the role and not wanting it, I was told that they didn’t think I had the support or experience for the role.
I spent 16+ years in another organization where I was asked to step up, stretch and lead in some of the most unclear circumstances and I continued to perform at the highest level, doing significant work for the organization. When I accepted a role someone had before, I took their great work and made it even better for the person coming after me. And, I always tried to bring others along with me so they would have the opportunity to learn, grow & develop.
Do you hear it? My ego, my Earthly focus, my focus on what someone said I can’t do versus focusing on what God has planned for me?
Remember, I was telling the person that I didn’t want the role. And, I wasn’t going to be asked to take the role – DONE! No, not done. At least not for several days…well, it may have been a week or so. I was frustrated.
I needed to reflect on why I didn’t want the role. In the conversation, I said I wanted to:
- make a difference in the role I had,
- do great work for the organization,
- lead and develop the individuals on my team,
- go home each night to be with my family,
- be a good wife to my husband and mom to our kids.
What I didn’t include was that I wanted to follow God’s plan for my life, not my own plan and definitely not a plan someone else had for me. And, while this role was intriguing, I felt it would pull me away from God’s purpose.
However, when I was told that I wasn’t supported, I felt my own PRIDE step in. I was tempted. I wanted to post for the role and prove to them why I was the best person for the role. Why couldn’t they see my worth? And, then it hit me.
I have been praying for God’s purpose for my life. I knew this role would take me further away from finding it because my days would be filled with being excellent in this new role. And, I would be seeking approval from people on this Earth as opposed to my Heaven Father who placed me here for a purpose.
So, where does that leave me now?
RIGHT WHERE I BELONG! WANTING ONLY WHAT GOD WANTS!
I know I will be tempted. I need to say “no” to myself. I need to say “no” to my ego. I need to say “no” to needing approval from those in the world, and say “yes” to only seeking guidance and approval from our Heavenly Father. God has prepared us for this:
Here is a great song by Tenth Avenue North titled What You Want that helps me focus on God’s plans and not my own: Video Link
I come to You today in thanksgiving. I am so very thankful for all You have given us and for unanswered prayers. I am thankful You have opened doors to help me build skills and talents to serve You, and You have closed doors that would pull me away from Your plans. And, You have saved me from my temptations.
Father, I know You are always here with me and You will help me escape from my temptations. Please continue to help me see You, feel You, and listen to You. Please continue to help me overcome my focus on what the world thinks of me, and truly lift my eyes up only to You. I know You have great plans for me, and for each person You have created. I know You are providing the experiences to prepare me to step into that work. And, that is where I need to focus.
Father, I love You! I thank You! I praise You! And, I look forward to serving You in the very way you have designed me to do.
In Jesus’ Name,