by Tamara Eaton
Ever notice how God's priorities aren't usually man's priorities? Man often is tempted to do things "outside in"--because he has to "maintain this appearance" (or what would others think?), but God tends to do things "inside out" by taking care of our hearts and attitudes and then having the rest fall in place. (And that method doesn't always look pretty while work is in progress and it's certainly not always understandable to men!)
I still have to battle the urge to explain my priorities to others and worry about what they must think of me sometimes. For example, when someone pops by the house unexpectedly and it's a mess but we've accomplished great things spiritually, emotionally, academically and enjoyed learning and spending time together. Jesus sees the inside of us and all that we accomplished that day, and He knows we'll get to the messy house eventually. Man sees the messy house and might not understand what all was accomplished that day! I'm trying to get to the point where I'm not tempted to apologize or defend my day.
When people ask me how I manage to homeschool six children on six different levels and take care of the needs of my family, I tell them that I have learned to set priorities and do what comes first instead of all the things I'd "like" to do. We especially limit outside activities right now and we don't accept a lot of invitations to get together with other homeschooling families, although we'd like to do that more.
Sometimes I find myself feeling guilty about this, other times I wonder how do others manage to still homeschool while they carry on so many other outside activities, too? I have to remember not to compare myself with other homeschool moms, but know that the Lord will give all the grace and energy to do what I need to do, but not necessarily all the energy I need if I take on things that He never intended for me to do in this season of my life.
By concentrating on my family now, I DO have time to "be there" for each one of them, and we are making wonderful memories every day! We don't do many elaborate projects together, but we talk, share portions of good books, sing, learn, and laugh a lot as we go about our daily routine.
I am reminded of an excellent chapter in Elisabeth Elliot's _Discipline: The Glad Surrender_ called "The Discipline of Time". She writes about how the sum of our job here on earth is to glorify God and how that Jesus was able to say to His Father shortly before He was crucified, "I have glorified Thee on earth by completing the work which thou gavest me to do." Can't you imagine that there were endless demands on Jesus' time? He came as a man, with a man's limitation of time and space and there probably was so much He wanted to do, but He concentrated on doing the work He'd been given.
Elisabeth Elliot writes, "Still He was able to make that amazing claim, "I have finished the work You gave me to do." This was not the same as saying He had finished everything He could possibly think of to do or that He had done everything others had asked. He made no claim to have done what He wanted to do. The claim was that He had done what had been *given*."
The bottom line? *There is always enough time to do the will of God.*
She goes on to say that if we're always frantic and frustrated, harried and harassed, and "hassled,", it's a sign that we're running on our own schedule, not God's. Jesus said *His* burden is light, and it's only when we carry additional burdens that He never meant us to carry that weigh us down. The whole chapter is filled with helpful insights and I highly recommend this book. She talks about how worry robs us of time, too.
Having a large family with many responsibilities in homeschooling and ministry has taught me that I *must* be a good steward of my time. I'm not perfected in this area but I've sure grown a lot from the time before I had children! I try to simplify as much as possible so I can have more time available to spend on priorities. I want to hear His Voice and know His Will for my life...I pray, "Lord, teach me to number my days so I might apply my heart to wisdom." Psalm 90:12 I want to be unencumbered so I am free to pursue what HE wants me to do.
Unless we have God's perspective and view our life in light of Eternity, we will fail to accomplish the Lord's perfect will for our family! I pray that we will all look to the Lord and say with the Psalmist:
"But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in Your Hand..." Psalm 31:14-15
[For more encouragement, see related articles on "Managing Our Time", "Feeling Frazzled" , "In His Presence" and "Homeschool Management Tips" ]
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
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We have always homeschooled our six children (elementary through high school and beyond!) and enjoy encouraging other families in their homeschooling, parenting and in the Lord! For more help and information, please join us on the Christian Homeschool Fellowship Message Board.
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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."