By Mrs. Freida Cowling
Home Ec. Teacher at Hyles-Anderson College
Probably the most difficult thing in life for me is to keep my priorities in order because the truly important things in life do not demand attention. For example, as my husband and I are talking, a telephone computer calls trying to sell me something. Is my husband or the computer more important? My list of priorities is as follows:
- God—Bible reading and prayer.
- Children and Grandchildren
- Home—cooking, cleaning, and washing
- Service to God—soul winning and church responsibilities
- Job outside of the home
Since I have this list established, I use these to determine what I do daily. For example, if my husband wants a suit taken to the cleaners and I have papers to grade from my class at Hyles- Anderson College, I take the suit. The following suggestions have helped me:
∙ I have a set time and place to read my Bible and pray every day. Promise the Lord you will do this. All of us know we should read the Bible, but few of us do this faithfully. If this is your problem, start with five minutes for each day and build from there. (I had been saved for years before I got past the “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for the food,” and “Now I lay me down to sleep,” prayers.) However, it is never too late for spiritual growth. God’s storehouse of blessing and promise are available to a child who prays. “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22) It has been said that any success in the Christian life depends on a daily walk with God, including Bible reading and prayer.
∙ My best friend is my husband, and we have always done everything together. If God called my husband to a ministry, I have always worked with him— whether it was reaching college students at the University of Tennessee; or working in the bus ministry in Illinois, Tennessee, or Indiana; or conducting Oriental Junior Church; or leading a summer tour group for Hyles-Anderson College. Whatever he needed, I tried to do— cook meals, visit, provide refreshments, or stay home with our children while he traveled to church.
∙ My week scheduled with a time for everything—grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and family time. The busier you are, the more important it is to have a definite schedule.
∙ Make a list every morning of everything that you must do that day that is not on your regular schedule. (Write letters, clean a closet, shop for presents, etc.) Number these tasks according to their importance, and start at the top of the list.
∙ Straighten up your house before going to bed. The dishes should be washed or in the dishwasher, books and papers put away, so you will start off a new day fresh instead of waking to clutter and disorder.
∙ Decide what time you must get up and get up at that time every morning. If I do not decide ahead of time when to get up every morning, I will usually have no time for Bible reading and prayer.
∙ If you are preparing breakfast, decide on the menu the previous evening. I make coffee first because my husband likes it the first thing in the morning.
∙ Our set family time is from 1:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. on Mondays.
∙ If my children or grand-children want my time for activities such as shopping, wall-papering, playing games, or entertaining their friends, I make every effort to add this to my schedule.
∙ If at all possible, I do things ahead of time. For instance, I organize the bus treats on Thursday or Friday instead of Saturday night. The “last-minute rush” adds pressure to life.
∙ I spend Saturday evenings at home. By doing so, I can have everything ready for Sunday.
∙ Always try to do more than one task at a time. Make bread while cooking supper. Fold clothes while listening to a sermon tape.
∙ If you dread doing something on your list, do it first.
∙ Set goals for yourself. One goal I have is to have all of my papers graded and back to the students at Hyles-Anderson College in one week. If I skip lunch and have fruit in my office, I can do this.
∙I try to have a positive attitude about anything that needs to be done. I think or I say to myself, “I think I can.”
∙ I avoid negative people and critics.
∙ I avoid “time wasters.” Included in this category are lengthy telephone conversations when nothing constructive is being said, watching television, or spending time with people who have nothing positive to say.
∙ If I do not accomplish everything in my schedule, I don’t get depressed. I realize that tomorrow is a new day with a fresh start.
∙ I plan enough “fun things” to keep from being “weary in well doing.” I relax with a cup of hot coffee, or make a trip to a second- hand store, or look for ideas at a craft shop, or read a cookbook or decorating book. These ideas help me to view everyday as an exciting adventure with the knowledge that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13) It is not what I can do, but what Christ can do when I yield my will to His. Every morning when I pray, I claim Psalms 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” If something happens to disrupt my schedule, I don’t worry because I believe God’s plans are superior to mine.