Daily, we are faced with choices about how to spend our time. Some options are clearly destructive, but for most of us, it is often a matter of choosing between a number of good options.
When we’re trying to decide what to bring into, or take out of, our lives, it helps to ask ourselves questions like:
-Will it draw me closer to, or away from, my important relationships (ie. God, spouse, children)?
-Does it feel like a joy or a burden?
-Do I have the necessary skills and talents to take this on?
-Does it interest me?
Satan can take advantage of hearts that desire to please God by convincing us to take on more than God intended, and then making us feel selfish or guilty if we don’t like the results. It takes lots of prayer to know when we’re being selfish, and when we’re just being wise.
As I’ve heard it said, just because there’s a need, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re the one being called by God to fill it. When our children were young, one of the measuring sticks I used in deciding whether or not to take on a commitment was to ask myself: How will it impact my family? Will I still have the energy and time necessary to meet their needs, if I take on this new commitment? If not, then I shouldn’t do it.
I am not a natural homemaker type, so it was very easy for me to get wooed into commitments outside of the home. I had to learn to exercise discernment, or I’d soon find myself being emotionally and physically burned out, to the detriment of our entire family.
Now that our children are grown, I still have measuring sticks I use as guidelines, both for how I spend my time and money. Having clear priorities helps me to evaluate what to commit to, and what not to.
In summary, we should take a few minutes to make a list of our priorities, both for our time and our money. List them in order of importance. (If we are married, it would be good for our spouse to do the same, and then to compare our lists and make a mutually agreed upon list.)
When we are faced with a decision about how to invest our time or money, we should evaluate how that will affect our key priorities. If it looks like a good match, we can step out in faith and give it a try. If it doesn’t line up, it is probably best not to go that direction.