First Things First

First Things First

My life has been a bit off lately. Do you know what I mean? I’ve been complaining about being busy. Feeling overwhelmed. And I just couldn’t figure out why.
Of course, I am busy. I am overwhelmed. That’s why I feel that way. But I’m supposed to be living the abundant Christian life. I’m supposed to be filled with the joy of the Lord.
I realized something today. As I look back over the last few months it seems so obvious, but I just couldn’t see it.
Toward the end of July I revised my daily schedule. Seized by new zeal and determination to finish my next book in record time, create an eye-catching blog, and maintain an Internet presence to die for, I decided to put these most important things first. I determined to use my before-kid morning time for writing.
I heard a whisper, “What about time for prayer? What about reading God’s Word?”
I waved the voice away, impatiently, like a pesky child. “I’ll fit that in! I can do that with a three year old running around, after the big kids head off to school. I have to have focused writing time to create this story—for You, God!”
I felt a nudge a few weeks later.
You’re not fitting it in. You said you would, but you’re not.
I brushed it off. How do You expect me to do everything? I have so much on my plate!
Anyway, I hastened to add to myself. Our walk with God isn’t all about having a special “quiet time.” It’s more about practicing His presence every moment of our lives.
This is true. There was a time years ago, when taking a break from “quiet times” allowed me to experience God’s love and grace in a new way. At least I think it did. There’s a fine line between receiving and abusing grace. (Please realize I am speaking entirely to myself with that statement!)
This fall, I continued in this manner. I pictured myself sitting down with a cup of coffee to open the Bible while Eva happily played by herself. Instead, I rushed around, distracted by Facebook and the dirty dishes in the sink. Sneaking sips of coffee while I made phone calls and Eva played by herself.
My to-do list seemed insurmountable. I wanted to spend time with my baby. I wanted to make progress professionally. I wanted to figure out a good routine, but I was beginning to despair. How could I fit it all in?
Today, I poured myself out in my journal, the ink and tears blurring together. This time, when the whisper came, I listened.
Here is what it said, in King James English:
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
I’ve been going about this all wrong! What good is my writing if I’m not doing it for Him? If I’m not putting Him first, I can’t have peace. I can’t have joy. Don’t I trust Him to give me the time I need if I first give it to Him?
I had been so blind!
Now, I know seeking Him first doesn’t necessarily mean reading the Bible has to be the first thing you do in the morning. I’m not offering a one-size-fits-all plan for improving your faith walk. But for me, for right now, I need to give that best time—that focused time—to Him.

And you never know. That might work best for you, too.
  • Tim M
    Posted at 20:17h, 27 October Reply

    Yes! This is the verse I have shared with my children this has probably impacted my own life the most. Those two words, "seek first!" Though I must admit, I go for my walk first… helps me wake up to focus! 🙂

  • Alison Treat
    Posted at 08:00h, 28 October Reply

    Aha! I finally figured out how to reply to comments! I had to trick Blogger to do it! Thanks for the comment, Tim.

  • Steve Roskos
    Posted at 11:57h, 29 October Reply

    Thank God He cares enough to remind you!
    Luke 10:41-42 "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." Someone once tried to convince me that this was more about why Martha was doing the tasks, for the wrong reasons. I don't think so. It couldn't be more clear that tasks done for Jesus are not as important as "sitting at the Lord's feet and listening to his teaching." Its interesting that in the psalms (like 73:26) the Lord is my "portion" – no doubt a different word in Hebrew vs. Greek or Aramaic, but still the same meaning? George Mueller said "The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord". Morning devotions are not a legalistic chore, but a hand reaching out for grace to supply in our time of need (all the time).

  • Sandy Sieber
    Posted at 17:10h, 30 October Reply

    I needed reminded of the importance of a daily quiet time. This is a struggle for me too. How exciting that you can now reply to comments!

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