Life, Thinking Biblically

Packing, Panic, & Priorities

We leave for our vacation to Texas tomorrow. However, the word “tomorrow” needs some clarification. For the past several weeks, I have been under the (mistaken) impression that we were to leave late Friday night (technically, Saturday morning). But, as I was looking at the e-ticket last night, something in the wording just didn’t look right. This morning, I was still more than a little concerned, so I called a very helpful ticket agent (and probably gave him and his co-workers a good laugh), who verified my suspicions…Yes, we do in fact leave tonight. So, of course, I did what anyone would do…I panicked. I went into hyper-drive, and began running around like a crazy person trying to get the laundry finished, the house cleaned, the boarding passes printed, our rental car reservations changed…all while keeping Hannah semi-entertained — and I was beginning to lose it. I found myself getting frustrated with Hannah, with the process of packing, with the lack of time… And as I looked around at the chaos I began to think of our girls Bible study last night. What was the topic? Priorities.

We are reading Lies Women Believe, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and last night’s chapter was on priorities. It was full of great insights, and encouragements as I read through it a few days ago in preparation for our meeting. As we sat at Starbucks last night, and talked about what we had learned, I was once again reminded how important it is for me to start out my day with time spent in God’s Word and prayer. But, just overnight I had forgotten – again. DeMoss says,

“I know the great value and importance of spending time alone with God in His Word and prayer each day….But far too often I find myself turning my attention to the details and tasks of the day without first taking adequate time to “inquire of the Lord.” When I do so, what I am really saying (though I’d never actually say it) is that I can handle that day on my own – apart from the presence, wisdom, and grace of God. I am saying I can do my work, keep my home, handle my relationships, and deal with my circumstances without Him. That independent, self-sufficient spirit is an expression of pride.” (p. 123)

As I looked at the mess I had created, both in my home and in my mind, I realized that while my to-do for the next few hours list had to be reorganized, there is one item that can never change. My time with the Lord must remain a consistent priority – regardless of my circumstances. It is only through time with the Lord, seeking His grace and strength that I can face all that the day holds. Without that time, my words, my reactions to circumstances, my thoughts are going to be self-centered, and far from honoring the Lord. So, after about an hour or two of running around like crazy complaining about how little time I had, and all that I had to do, and accomplishing absolutely nothing, I sat down with my Bible, and did what I should have done at the start.

Of course the conviction was immediate as I began reading in Ephesians 4:1-2,

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in
a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love…”

Well, I certainly was not behaving in a way worthy of someone called to serve Christ. I was impatient, complaining, frustrated, selfish…all over a simple misunderstanding. Later in this same chapter, in verses 23-24 we are told to:

“…be renewed in the spirit of your
mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been
created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

The only way to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind” is to spend time in the Word! Only then can we be convicted of our sin and selfishness (”put off”), and understand what needs to replace those wrong attitudes and behaviors (”put on”).

I am so thankful that the Lord used this time in His word to refocus my mind and my thoughts. After seeking His forgiveness for my sinful behavior, I was able to begin the day again. But, this time I had a new perspective — a biblical perspective. The tasks ahead no longer seemed so daunting, Hannah didn’t seem as clingy…Did my circumstances change? No. We still have to be at the airport tonight, and I still had to pack and get the house cleaned, and keep Hannah entertained. But, I was very vividly reminded that my time with the Lord has to be a priority. I can’t just say that it is a priority, but live as though it doesn’t matter when circumstances become busy or stressful. I have to make it a priority. It has to stay at the top of my “to-do list” regardless of what other tasks or people are demanding my attention. If I am going to “walk worthy of the calling” on a daily basis, I have to remember that I cannot do it on my own strength.