We have been asked many times; how do we keep up with our home; serving in our church; working, raising a family, and time for each other? WOW just that sentence alone is a lot.
By the grace of God, we are able manage all He has called us to do; without neglecting what matters most.
When we first learned the order of God’s priorities, trying to live by them was tough. Our schedules were crazy. It seemed we had enough time for everyone, and everything else; except for God and our family.
As we embraced a lifestyle of living God’s priorities, we sought God for the wisdom to honor Him without neglecting each other and our family. They say, if you want something you never had you have to be willing to do something you’ve never done. So we asked God to show us ways to help make His priorities OUR priorities.
While we are constantly finding new ways to use our time better; we want to share our top five time savers that may help you.
1. Say “No” to the Good
This is a hard one, yet the most important. If you look at what pulls you away the most from your family, you might find that you’re saying yes to too many things. We had to learn to start saying no for the sake of the better. Sure going to a birthday party is important. However, if you haven’t spent any time with your spouse or family that two-hour birthday party might be worth skipping to invest in your marriage or your children. Over the years we’ve discovered in order for us to be effective we must choose to be selective in our activities.
2. Keep a Family Calendar
This is one of the most useful tools we have, and wished thought of it sooner. But God’s timing is always perfect! Juggling a busy family is hectic and chaotic unless you implement some order. When we found ourselves committed to many things, often at the same time, we had the idea to put a decorative family calendar (dry-erase board, so we can change it each month) in our kitchen nook where we gather the majority of the time.
We use a variety of color pens for different activities so that any of us could look at the calendar anytime and know whether or not we had something planned. This helped eliminate over committing and double booking activities. It has become a culture in our home and normal to hear our kids say; what’s on the calendar for this week! Even our friends who visit, look on the calendar and ask; what do we have going on this week?
3. Crock Pot Meals
This is an absolute lifesaver. Often times we have counseling appointments, and/ or meetings, in the evenings. So when we are meal planning for the week, we will look at our calendar to see if our evenings are tied up, and if so we will choose to have crock pot meals. That way, we are providing healthy dinner meals for our family while we do what God has called us to do. When we take the time to do this, we are showing our family that they are just as important to us or even more, than anything we do away from the home. If we plan meetings, leaving the house and tell our family; dinner is up to you; we could make them feel as if they are not our priority. When we take the time to plan ahead, we are showing our family that they are our priority next to God; and they will begin to support what we do instead of resenting it.
Prepare, prepare, prepare is the key to living productive life. We don’t like to refer to us as busy people, we say we are productive people who propose to use our time efficiently. Since preparation is the key to living effectively, having a family calendar allows us to flow in unity, knowing what each other has going on. It also helps us to prepare for the days ahead. When we know our morning will start off early, we prepare the night before by ironing our clothes, making lunches, or doing any prep work that will make the next day peaceful. We are told in 1 Corinthians 14:40 to do all things decently and in order. When we take the time to prepare, it not only brings peace. It brings honor to God. Don’t look at preparing as more work, look at preparing as the tool you need to help you accomplish the 100 things you have on your to-do list.
5. Household Chores Divided
This may sound silly but is one of our most effective ways of maintaining a clean home. We often see homes in disarray and usually because the families say they are too busy. While we can relate in having a hectic schedule, our home is our sanctuary; our place to go for peace, rest, and family time. As a wife and mother, we want our family to desire being at home; looking forward to coming home. Well, in order for that to happen if you can’t afford a Maid then it should become the family’s priority to keep in clean. As a result, we divide household chores among all of us. In which, one day a week is house cleaning day, and everyone does their part. By doing this our home stays orderly, peaceful and everyone not only enjoys being home, they look forward to coming home and bringing their friends.
We often hear that our home is peaceful. That is because we contend for peace. When our homes are in order, we have great peace in doing all God has called us to do outside the home without feeling guilty. The circumstances of “life” is what the enemy will try to use against you to keep you from doing all the things God has called you to do. However, when we live a balanced lifestyle within the priorities of God, it becomes possible to do the impossible.
If we hadn’t established the tools necessary to maintain healthy boundaries, this blog wouldn’t exist, nor would we be able to serve in our church, or enjoy our own hobbies. God has given us all the resources and tools we need to live a balanced life, but it’s up to us to discover them and use them.
PS. If you’re inspired to use a family calendar, click the links below.
~ Timberley Gray