by Laurie Wier
Do you meet yourself coming and going? Do you reorganize every night in order to get the things done tomorrow you planned for today? Do you wish to slap (in Christian love, of course) the next person who says, “Would you have time to do…?” But you do it, don’t you!? Do you wonder why in the world you are doing everything at the last moment—rush, Rush, RUSH. If so, here are a few helpful hints that have made life easier for this 35-year-old single lady. (And please don’t say, “Okay, I’ll read them tomorrow when I have time!”)
❶First and foremost, sit down and make a written list of your areas of responsibility. Include everything. My list would include secretary, child of God, daughter, Sunday school teacher, sister, bus worker, etc.
❷Put this list in order by priority. Do not ask a friend for advice to put your priorities in order. Pray and ask the Lord to direct you. Perhaps your pastor could help you but not a friend. As a single adult lady in the Lord’s work, my first priority is God’s work which is my job as a secretary. Some priorities like my mother and father and sisters are very close to the top of the list also, but you prioritize your responsibilities.
❸Make a schedule for your life. I know, I hate that dirty eight-letter word, too! I also know that schedules are made to be broken! (I really don’t mean moment by moment.) I do mean a scheduled time in your life for your areas of
responsibility. If you teach a Sunday school class, schedule time to prepare your lesson, time to visit your class, etc. If you are a bus worker, schedule time to visit your bus route, time to write notes to your bus riders, and so forth.
Schedule time for your friends. For a single lady, friends are very important. I have lunch with one of my friends the same day and the same time every week. Nothing breaks this time together. We would hardly be friends if we were not so faithful to our weekly lunches.
Schedule phone calls and visits to your parents. Of course, if you live near your parents, schedule times with them. They may not be into the “schedule thing,” but if you call every week and say, “Hey, Dad, how ’bout I meet you at the office, and you take me to lunch on Friday?” He will most likely do it. Please notice that “you take me to lunch.”
Dads are made for that kind of stuff!! Then next week call him and say, “Hey, Dad, how ’bout I meet you at the office, and you take me to lunch on Friday?” After a while when you don’t call one week, he’ll wonder what’s going on with you. You will be amazed at what it will do for your relationships with people to spend a certain amount of time with them on a weekly basis or perhaps monthly basis.
❹When you are called upon to do something extra, you do not have to make the decision—your priorities and your decisions do. If I’m asked to go to an activity on the night I am scheduled to visit my Sunday school girls and prepare my lesson, I cannot because I have a responsibility. Often, I’m asked to do something good at the time I am visiting my bus route, but I cannot because my plans are set.
Please do not get me wrong; I’m not saying get in your schedule and never bend or mold. What I am saying is take control of your life and allow your priorities and schedule to make decisions instead of your constant guilt or pressured feelings. Many times because we’re asked to do some job, we put aside those things in our lives that need our attention but are neglected because we feel pressured by someone to do something else. Often I say, “I’d love to do that (and I mean it), but I have plans for that evening.” Now, my plans may be to have dinner with a friend or read my Bible or write notes to people I love or clean house (well, probably not that!), but I do have plans. I don’t have to offend the person asking by telling him that my plans are to take a long, hot bubble bath and do my nails and read a book I’m dying to read. I can just say, “Thank you so much for asking, but I already have plans. I’m so sorry I cannot help you with that.”
Ladies, it is so easy to try to do everything. Present a need to us, and immediately we begin rearranging our already overloaded life so we can do this “one more thing.” But if we will decide our priorities and set up a workable schedule, we will be amazed at how much we can accomplish and how we can also do all those extras we really wanted to do all along.
Take control of your life, your priorities and your schedule. Do not expect help from anyone in directing you except perhaps your pastor. This must be a decision you make because you will be the one to live by it.
If you are looking for a happy, fulfilled life, here is just one little step in getting there. I must admit also that this is not original with me. My preacher, Brother Hyles, so wisely sat me down in his office one time when I was totally “stressed out” and showed me this concept. What a lifesaver it has been for me.