I have been eating the bread of idleness lately.
A Biblical proverb is: “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” You would think that idleness would be impossible with four children and all the duties that come with motherhood. It’s not that I’m idly doing nothing, it is that I am busily doing nothing. I have been keeping up with the minimum, but the minimum only. There has been no excellence in what I do.
It is so easy to be busy and yet have nothing to show for your efforts. I am the Queen of Useless Time. I can wander the house, looking busy while I wander, but not accomplishing much. I find it difficult to focus on a task because, as the mother of a million kids (4, really), I am usually side-tracked in the middle of a job.
I have great desires in life: to be used mightily by God, to teach the children profoundly in homeschool, to be an excellent homekeeper, to look good for my husband, and to write wise words that help others. Yes, I am a good dreamer and schemer. However, I lack the self-discipline needed to accomplish my goals, even though they are God-given desires. That is a fault!
To keep from eating the bread of idleness, I need to set some priorities. Here is my list, in order of priority (God – Husband – Children – Home – Self – Others) :
1. God: Spend time daily with Him at an appointed time (schedule it like an appointment, as if Jesus is sitting in my rocker, waiting for me to join Him!). Pray. Read Scripture. Write down what I learn.
2. Husband: Be a loving and helpful wife to the person God asked me to take care of for Him. Only I have been assigned this task. What a privilege to be the one assigned to this man! (And thank God he’s handsome!).
3. Children: Spend individual time with the kids. Love them unconditionally. Teach them of God. Memorize Scripture with them.
Teach them how to be good workers. Make them laugh. Allow them to play. Teach them how to take care of themselves and others.
4. Home: Manage the home efficiently so that it serves us rather than we serve it. Organize it, clean it, schedule it. Make use of the home’s servants which God has provided for me: the washer, dryer, oven, crockpot, and dishwasher, among others. Use the home for hospitality as if Jesus just walked in dusty, hungry, and tired.
5. Myself: Love myself enough to say boldly, once a week or as needed, “I need time alone.” Do frivolous things for me that make me happy: buy a new book, apply nail polish, try something new with my hair, take a long bath by candlelight, use a new pen or journal, create a beaded bookmark, or learn to knit. Walk daily. Garden because I love it, even if it looks funky to others and I mix lettuce with flowers.
6. Others: My outside-the-home mission is to write to others about daily life and daily lessons. Be vulnerable in my writing (as I am here when I tell you I lack self-discipline! Don’t tell anyone). Write as if God is sitting here, waiting to read my words. God has clearly asked me to do this for others.
Those are my personal priorities. What would you write next to each area, especially the area of “Others?” Should you teach a class, lead a children’s choir, stock the food pantry, be on the women’s committee, help out in PTA, or be the soccer coach? Whatever it is, stay focused on that single task. Say “no” to anything else. Remind yourself to pray before adding another task in this area of serving others. God may want you to focus on just one outside-the-home thing so that you can serve your family better.
Remember, God, family, home, and yourself are to be placed before the final priority of others. That sounds backward. But, you can be best used by God when you have given Him quality time, when your marriage is stable, when your children know they are loved when your home is managed, and when you have taken care of yourself.
Establish your priority list. Don’t eat the bread of idleness. I don’t recommend it at all.
by Lori Seaborg