Thursday, October 23, 2014

Priorities and Skipping Homework

If you would have told me six months ago that I couldn't have everything, I would have totally denied you. I would have said, "Oh yeah, I know you have to prioritize things," and inwardly said, "Unless you're me..."
Ha. How naive.

We have some of the greatest friends in the world and one thing that they've always been honest about is how they aren't perfect and they can't get everything done. They've brought us over to their houses when they're perfectly clean and when we've had to make paths through the toys to get to the couch that is halfway covered with folded laundry. And you know what? That's totally cool with me.
I'm so glad to have friends who are totally honest and cool enough with their priorities that our friendship means more than their perceived perfection.

But when I got married, I really had those screwed up.
My priorities got out of whack.

As a newlywed, I thought that our house should look perfect all of time. After all, my new role was chief cleaner and chef. (dismiss the fact that I don't know how to cook! ha!) JD's new role was chief caretaker and bacon-bringer. Pretty soon, we both started school and our roles changed. Soon enough, we hired a chief caretaker and JD took over cooking. (I'm pretty sure that was in self-defense.) Not long after that, I had to give up cleaning once a week too.

Let me tell you. "Failing" at your home duties within six months of getting married nearly killed me. For the first month into this thing, I was killing myself. Not only was I busting my behind to "keep up appearances", but I was giving myself a big fat "F" for failure as wife. Every time that I sat down to watch TV with JD or spent time having fun outside of the house, all I could think was, "But I have so much work to do at home," or "I need to be dusting the guest bedroom right now- not watching TV."

As I sat in Ruby Tuesday and started talking to JD about this the other day,  I said, "I'm just failing at this wife thing!" He laughed in response and said, "I think since I'm your husband, I get to be the judge of that and I say you're not." I went on to list all the things I haven't been doing in our home. He went on to list all of the other we have been doing and why they are much more important than finding the correct outdoor storage container for our outdoor cushions- you know, because they can't be left out. They may get outdoor things on them! Duh!

He went on to talk about priorities and how he values time we spend watching Once Upon a Time much more than he values a clean floor. He values microwave dinner together more than a dinner I spent all night cooking. He values our marriage more than he values getting every single piece of homework done.

This got me thinking about what my priorities need to be.
Having friends over to a dirty house comes before a night spent alone in a clean one.
Prayer time trumps cooking the perfect meal.
Our marriage trumps agonizing over a paper for an extra hour.
Generosity trumps saving that ten dollars for a new blouse.
Having friends "bring something" to the party is way better than working myself into a frenzy trying to make one more dish.
Stopping to send that encouraging text to a friend is better than pretty much anything else you're doing right now.
Wearing your yoga pants to small group is better than skipping because you're not dressed up enough.

You see- all of those things are really important and I'm not diminishing them! Cooking a good meal, having a clean house, getting dressed up nice, doing my homework- those are all super important, trust me. But when they take over the even MORE important things, we have a problem.

Priorities.
When I let all of the really important stuff rise to the top and didn't try to pick the most-est important things, I let the important things get in the way.

What are your priorities? And what are you trading for the things that you think you're failing at? I'll be willing to bet that you're just placing guilt and blame on yourself when no one else is. And I'm pretty sure Jesus came to break the chains of guilt and doesn't appreciate the ones that I'm putting on myself.
So ask. Ask those around you if they've even noticed that you're not holding up what you assume is your end of the bargain. I promise it'll be a constructive conversation. Because sometimes what is most-est important to you is just important to your spouse. And almost all of the time, your kids think playing is the most-est important.
 And ask God to help you properly assign your priorities. He'll help. I promise.

On October 12th, the church's 35th Anniversary, we sang:
"Here For You" by Chris Tomlin
"God is Able" by Hillsong
"Overcome" by New Life Worship
and "This I Believe" by Hillsong

Last week, on October 19th, Adam led and we sang:
"Take Me Lord" by Adam Lynn (wahoo! He wrote this one!)
"Your Love Never Fails" by Jesus Culture or Anthony Skinner
"It Is Well" (the hymn)
and "Called Me Higher" by All Sons and Daughters


Monday, October 6, 2014

Squeezie Pouches.

Two Sundays ago, I was sitting on the floor of our good friends' living room when their child plopped down in my lap. She was content with her "squeezie pouch" of applesauce and starting to do a puzzle.
This is one of the best parts of having friends - their kids. I love playing with them and interacting with small children. They always seem to find the important things in life and share them with us, if we'll listen.

So she sat down and immediately turned her little head around.
Suddenly, I had applesauce breath all in my face and little eyes about one inch from my own. You know that closeness- only a child can be that close and not weird you out.

"Mrs. Courtney? Do you like squeezie pouches?"
"I sure do!"
"I'll go get one for you."
"No thank you! I'm full. I ate my supper."
"Okay. Well you can have some of mine."


After I finished refusing her squeezie pouch, she went happily back to her puzzle, playing with JD and her sister and I went happily back to talking with her parents.

That night, after I told JD the story, I thought about how sweet she really was in that moment. And how trusting she is.

She was sure that her parents had extra squeezie pouches and if I wanted one, she'd get one and they wouldn't mind her sharing. If I didn't want my own, she'd share hers no problem.

As I thought about that and we started preparing for our next sermon series about stewardship, I thought about that precious squeezie pouch.
Do I fully rely on God to supply my every need - including my need to give to others - as much as she relied on her parents? Do I trust that God will supply me with enough if I should share every small thing?

I'll tell you what. That squeezie pouch is challenging me every day to trust that God has blessed me with more than enough to give and share.

On September 21st, we sang:
"Jesus Son of God" by Chris Tomlin
"Nothing is Holding Me Back" by Bryan & Katie Torwalt
"Safe" by Phil Wickham
"Washed by the Water" by Needtobreathe

On September 28th, we sang:
"Come As You Are" by Crowder
"Forever Reign" by Kristian Stanfill
"My Lighthouse" by Rend Collective Experiment
and "I Am" by Crowder

On October 5th, we sang:
"Lord I Need You" by Chris Tomlin
"A Mighty Fortress" by Christy Nockels
"How Great Thou Art"
"We Are" by Kari Jobe
and "At the Cross (Love Ran Red)" by Chris Tomllin