My husband is the inspiration for this post. He possesses a unique wisdom, character and integrity. I cannot tell you how many times people have called upon my husband for his perspective which he graciously offers with humility. I am so thankful the Lord saw fit to make me his wife. They say you become like the one you are with and I couldn't be more honored than to become like my man.
We recently discussed two things that were on his heart: Be intentional and deny yourself. He believes that is the key to success in all areas of life.
Face your day with intention. Deny yourself, press on with diligence. This applies for home, church, school, family, friends, work and health.
My husband always says to begin with the end in mind. Luke 14:28 says "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?"
As a mom, I think of the end of my day, what would I like to have accomplished? I find it helpful to write out my goals. Next I create a schedule. I fit all of my "to do" items in a time slot. I pray for strength, grace, and discipline to carry out my tasks. "Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established." Proverbs 16:3
This doesn't just apply to physical items I hope to accomplish in my day. What attitude do I want to display? My desire is to cultivate a warm atmosphere of joy, peace and fun. That doesn't just happen. Especially with four little ones! I must plan to succeed. I determine before the day gets crazy how I want my children to perceive me. Do they want to see a frustrated, grumpy mama? I want them to see a content, joyful mama. Conflict will arise. How do I want to address that? If I do not determine before hand to keep my composure and respond kindly I will slowly simmer until I whistle like a boiling tea kettle.
We are intentional with our health . My goal is to feed my family nutrient dense, healing food. I must create a plan and put it into action. We have 5 times we sit down to dine. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner. I currently have a weekly meal plan for dinner. For breakfasts, snacks and lunches, I simply have a nutritious set of foods that I rotate.
At the end of the day, I want to lay my head on my pillow knowing that I served my family joyfully and healthily. I begin my day with the end in mind (actually my plan usually starts the night before but that's another post)."Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope." Psalm 16:9
To be intentional we will be faced with the decision to cave in to our desires or deny ourselves and press on to reach our goals. Luke 9:23-24 says, "And he said to them all, If any will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
We are called to deny ourselves. We are not to be weary in well doing for we are promised to reap in due season if we press on as promised in Galatians 6:9.
There is a glaring difference between writing goals, making a plan and actually following through and putting that plan into action. Believe me, this momma struggles to sit and indulge my flesh, to linger too long with a book or exploring a new blog. "I discipline my body and make it my slave," as 1 Corinthians 9:27 says. If I begin with the end in mind it will be easier for me to push myself to put the dishes away when I would rather snuggle up and watch "I Love Lucy" or deny myself something to eat that I know will make me feel sluggish and instead, opt for the healthy treat that energizes.
I believe as parents
we are called consider others' needs before our own.
Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."
This calls for self denial. I am to serve my family as a whole before I serve myself. This does not mean I neglect my own needs but I must plan carefully to ensure all of our needs are met. The hard reality is, during this short season, I may have to deny myself little luxuries in order to provide for the needs of my family. If I focus on the end result, I do not mourn the loss of a few missed experiences or anything material that is fleeting anyway.
There are times when the last thing I want to do is sit on the floor and engage my little ones in play. Sometimes it is hard to trade what I want to do for what they want to do. But I look to the end result and deny myself. I view playing blocks with my children as an eternal relationship builder. They know they are important to me when I take time to show them that their interests are my interests. This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. So we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
Deny yourself. Be faithful in the little things. Be steadfast, abound in the work of the Lord and know that your labor is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10)!
Please understand, there is balance in all things. This doesn't mean we never have down time or enjoy an occasional Crème Brûlée. We merely understand that in order to achieve our desired results, we must face life with intention, self discipline and a preference for others. I hope my husband's wisdom is impressed upon your heart today and that you find the same value and inspiration in his words as I do.
Grace and peace,