I cannot believe that these weeks are going so quickly! Can you? Right, time to get down to business! We’re going to start working on the daily goings-on in our homes. And, honestly, others can see what is important to us and what we value by our priorities. I feel like this is an appropriate verse for this week,

 

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Proverbs 14:1

 

CHALLENGE 3

What are your priorities? What should they be? Make a list of each. Now, determine to change the way you go about your day by listing the following in your diary (or even as a note on your phone) for the day:

1. God 

2. Family 

3. Others

4. Self

5. Home

Start by asking the Lord how He wants you to serve each one of these people or what He wants you to do in each of these categories? When will you schedule time in for the Lord – for prayer and reading His Word especially? How can you serve your family and/or those living with you, be it flatmates, husband, children…? What do you need to do for them? What would help make their day easier or encourage them? How can you serve those you come into contact with every day; people in your Bible study and church; the person you are mentored by; the person you are mentoring? What do you need to do for yourself today? What needs to be done in the house and what small little things can you do to bring joy and life into your home – pick some flowers, lay the table before your family arrive home, wash the handful of dishes, hang up towels? Write it all down. Aim high! Then before you leave your planning spot, commit your plans to Him! Tomorrow, plan your day before you get out of bed! Try and not start the day without an idea of where you’re headed and without committing it to the Lord.

 

Elizabeth George in her book God’s Wisdom for a Woman’s Life, speaks about each day being a pearl if spent well and, as you go through the week and do things God’s way, you will have a beautiful string of pearls by the end of the week. And if you don’t get to all the things on your to-do list, don’t punish yourself!!! Switch to Plan B and even to Plan C but continue to commit your day to the Lord. Each day may not go according to plan but the way you choose to react to the challenges you face will determine whether you have served the Lord or something else. I found something that both Debi Pearl (author of Created to be his Help Meet) and Sarah Horn (author of My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife) said so true! They both used different wording but the sentiment is the same. Debi spoke of a woman creating the mood of the home. Sarah spoke of a woman being the thermostat of the home. If you are stressed, uptight, grumpy and volatile, then your family will reflect your mood or walk on eggshells around you. If you are organised and show patience and kindness (even if you are not feeling kind or patient) then your family will thrive and the home will be a haven and a place of happiness. I know, no pressure, right?!? But, we are not called to do this in our own strength. If we do, we will fail and fail miserably! Hence, keep on committing your day to the Lord!

 

Monday (posted on Tuesday):

I solidly failed Day 1 of Week 3! Although I managed to do most of what I’d set to do for the day, I did not prioritise. My husband and daughter got the dregs of me yesterday and bore the brunt of my frustration and harsh words. Can you tell I didn’t read my verse??

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:1

 

The mood in my home was frustrated, upset and hurt yesterday because I set the thermostat for our home. I was frustrated and trying to plough through the things I wanted to get done instead of filling up the love tanks of those I love most. (I am still ashamed to admit that I am glad I got through what I did yesterday) but I know what I should have done. Do you ever ask yourself,

If I could do things differently, would I?  and then not been sure if you would even though you know you should have? This blog is about being honest. Not getting it right. And also not to pretend that I am this perfect, sinless human being with good motives. That is the sad truth of my heart!

 

I did manage to read, pray and contact those I’d like to mentor. But I fit the needs of my Priority 2 people into my agenda not making sure their needs were met above others.

I also didn’t get this post up early and, when I did, I didn’t let you guys know it was ready. Nor did I update you last night on how I did. So, I’m sorry!

 

But…here’s to a new day today!

 

Tuesday:

Praise the Lord for a better day! Today, I put other things on hold to do what I could to make sure that my husband got out the door (kind of) on time. Often, I’ll busy myself with chores and then make breakfast last minute. I managed to read my Bible this morning while my daughter had time reading in her room until she was allowed to get up. And I finally sent emails for my husband’s new business!

Once my hubby left for work, my toddler managed to do a whole 50 minutes (!!!) of independent play time which meant I could get to pray.

I stopped periodically throughout the day to read to my daughter when she asked for her favourite book on repeat! And later in the afternoon, we made a trip to the library – literally her favourite place on earth!

I managed to put my (very sore) feet up today and do some things for my husband on my laptop. I also managed to get to the house work I wanted to do today. I didn’t get to everything on my list but the most important things were done and the mood in my house was a cheerful one.

I definitely should have allocated more time to focused prayer today as some of it was quite disjointed because I was praying while I did other things.

But on the whole, today my priorities were a whole lot more on track. I feel happy about the day! One thing that would have made it even better would have been not reversing into my neighbour’s car! Praise the Lord the damage is not quite as bad as it could have been!

Off to bed!

 

Wednesday(posted on Thursday):

Well, if I thought that I had failed this challenge before, yesterday was a next level. I didn’t write any plan down at all. I didn’t look at my verses more than twice (and that was at the beginning of the day!) and I didn’t even sit down and pray. And let me tell you, my husband thinks I’m being superstitious when I think my day will fall apart because I didn’t have my quiet time but, if I’m not right with the Lord and don’t start my day with Him, I have the wrong mindset for the whole day!

 

And, if I had read my verses yesterday, maybe I wouldn’t wind up in sticky situations because of something thoughtless, insensitive or stupid that I said! And that’s what happened yesterday! This morning (spoiler alert) I was convicted by many verses in Proverbs 18 about the folly of gushing words thoughtlessly.

I did what I wanted to please myself yesterday and did not consider others nor prioritise them. If I did at all, it was in the wrong order.

That’s the truth of this challenge. I knew I would face days like this. And, you need to know that I don’t get it right even half the time.

 

MIDWEEK CHALLENGE

Welcome the gift of a new day! A whole new, precious day that the Lord has gifted us with! How do you want to spend this day? Create a schedule. Write down when in the day you will serve the people you’ve listed. Ask God for wisdom to serve them in the way they need to be served not in the way you would like to serve them or think they need to be served. Look for opportunities to pray for them. Identify “time bandits” – things that sap your time; things you maybe fuss over that you shouldn’t; time on social media or watching programmes and movies…the list goes on. Eliminate them! You don’t need to get to the end of the day and wish that you hadn’t checked Instagram or decided it was a good day to colour-code your cupboard. You want to look back on the day and be glad that you made the choices you did even if you were thrown in the deep end. Read Titus 2:3-5 and ask the Lord to help you implement these character traits in your life. Create a schedule first thing each day. Try to get a meal plan up and going or at least know the day before what you will make the following day. (Believe me, it’s made a huge difference to my time management and mindset!) Allocate time in your day to clean and be specific about what needs to be done. Even if you know you read your Bible first thing every day, schedule it in. Write in your appointments for the week. Let’s make a pearl necklace, ladies!

 

Thursday (posted on Friday):

Thank goodness yesterday was better! I created a schedule. Although I didn’t get to everything, I had a lot more patience with my daughter. And I managed to have a lovely dinner with my husband. It was good to have a catch up with him. I found some fun questions on Pinterest which we giggled over as we answered them. It was a good conversation starter and a nice change to just “vegging” in front of a series.

I managed to spend time with the Lord. I identified tie bandits – Instagram, Facebook and scrolling through my Whatsapp contacts, looking at profile pictures (does anyone else do that??). What are your time bandits?

I also kind of have a meal plan and feel a lot better about the weekend because of it! I don’t mind cooking but thinking up what to make is a pain. When my husband makes dinner from time to time, he asks me what he should make and I have to tell him that that’s pretty much why I don’t want to make dinner – I’ve run out of ideas!

 

I didn’t pray about how to specifically serve those in my life and I haven’t done it today yet either. Off to do that now…

 

Friday (posted on Saturday):

Praise God for another good day! I created a schedule and pretty much stuck to it. I didn’t write down how to serve my family but I did manage to spend some good time with all of them. And I made the last batch of biscotti to sell, something that has been hanging over me! Now I feel free and that I can just serve my family now and not worry about trying to get through that during the week. I haven’t asked God to help me implement Titus 2:3-5 yet…

 

I listened to a compelling sermon yesterday as well which really convicted me. Here it is if you want to take a listen.

Counter-Culture for the Common Good – Timothy Keller

Basically it was about being salt in the world and being like a city on a hill (shining like city lights for miles). I have not been “that Christian” this week! I have done exactly what Tim Keller said Christians shouldn’t be – Christians shouldn’t be the ones who take offense easily; we should overlook the offenses of others. It also showed me that even the “good” I do has selfish motives. Have you ever thought about your real motive in serving someone else? I am horrified that mine are often selfish! Food for thought!

 

Saturday and Sunday:

Well! No schedule for Saturday or Sunday, which isn’t a bad thing in itself on the weekend, except I don’t actually sit down to pray or even think through how I’m going to serve the people in my life.

 

I had a to-do-list for Saturday but the day turned into a bit of a write-off. It was stuff that I needed help with from my husband but his priority was not mine and understandably so! He really wanted to finish setting up the jungle gym so that he doesn’t have to do that after the baby arrives and then I’m left post-surgery with both a baby and a toddler. When he explained that, I realised that his reasoning made much more sense. But…I’ve been wanting to hang stuff and move shelves to my daughter’s new room for months and this seemed like the first available time. He did say that he could do it on the Sunday if he didn’t get to it. I think I was just a bit bummed because I’d been looking forward to it all week. But we now have a stunning jungle gym!

Mostly Saturday was a grumpy day because I didn’t get to read my proverb for the day until about mid-morning which made me grumpy. When I did, I didn’t heed the verse I wrote down and lost it with a guy at the gate who came to ask for help. I didn’t feel bad saying no to him because we’ve just gone through a really good book called When Helping Hurts by …. and it cautions against people asking for money. It encourages investing in the lives of the poor instead. But, I was short with him and didn’t even listen to him at first. If I’m not mistaken, he’s been doing the rounds in our area since my childhood. So I just spoke to him harshly. And then I felt cross at myself for being so offish. As I was speaking to him, the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus at his gate came to mind. Then I felt cross because I was confused and didn’t know if I should help him. After I went inside, I was frustrated that my day hadn’t gone anywhere close to the way I’d (kind of) planned and cross at myself for my response to the man at my gate. And cross that my quiet time had dragged out the whole day. My heart was far from a Proverbs 31 woman.

 

On Sunday, my husband and I spoke on the effects of pornography to the teens at church. Again, the way I pictured the day going didn’t work out. But, I actually, for once in my pregnancy, held my tongue – miracle of miracles. Did anyone else find that their self-control went out the window? I am so impulsive and volatile and say exactly what I’m thinking – it’s got me into trouble a lot! So, the fact that I actually managed (only by God’s grace) to guard my mouth repeatedly throughout the day was quite a feat! But, I didn’t read my proverb yesterday and didn’t have a dedicated prayer time although I prayed intermittently throughout the day. It was a Psalm day yesterday. Does anyone have those days? When reading your normal Bible reading for the day seems too much and you end up reading a psalm instead? Well, that was me yesterday. Here’s what I read,

Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.”

Psalm 119:36-37

 

I clearly needed those verses this weekend. I needed to turn my heart away from my selfishness and value the statutes of the Lord more than my own agenda. I was also convicted that pretty much everything I do, even the kind things are with selfish motives. For example, some “nice” things I do are just to pacify my nagging conscience! Happened to you?

 

May this week be a better one!

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