The Struggle with Choosing What Matters Most

Photo and artwork belong to

This is a continuation of a previous post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating. 

Better one hand with tranquility
than two handfuls with toil
and chasing after the wind.
~ Ecclesiastes 4:6

The Comparison Trap:  Week One, Day Four… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the devotional include:

I’m totally guilty of having two handfuls with toil and feeling as though I am chasing after the wind. Totally guilty. I have a lot of tranquility in many areas of my life, but I’ve been guilty of compartmentalizing certain segments of my life, too.

In today’s devotional, Sandra Stanley asks a few questions based on the childhood game, “Would You Rather?” The first question really made me think. It’s not that I haven’t thought about it before… this time, though, I think I was supposed to think about it in the context of today’s Scripture verse. That is something I’ve consciously avoided doing before today.

Sandra writes, “Would you rather get the promotion that everyone in the office is vying for or have consistent nights of dinner around the table with your family?”

I don’t think a promotion like that exists at my job, and if it did, it probably wouldn’t take me away from dinner with my family, but the concept of increasing my work time and realizing how that could impact my family did hit me square in the head when Sandra asked that question.

I was an at-home momma for 18 years. I’ve homeschooled all three of my kids, volunteered as a team mom in every sport or activity in which they’ve participated, have enjoyed serving at my church, have helped my husband with a home-based business, and I’ve found fulfillment in cooking great meals for my family and caring for my home. A few years ago, circumstances with my husband’s career changed, and I knew the time was coming when I’d need to consider re-entering the outside-the-home work force. Sixteen months ago a door opened to that possibility, and fifteen months ago I walked through that door.

I enjoy it, but almost too much. Other than now having only one child left to homeschool through high school, none of my family responsibilities have been lessened over the last year or so, even though I do now work outside of the home, too. If I’m really honest with myself, my home-based responsibilities have actually increased in this timeframe.

But I like my work. I work in an aspect of ministry, and being able to do so does my mind and soul some real good! I really cherish the opportunity to help people build personal relationships with God and with others. It’s hard for me to look at what’s written on the photo above, because my job in ministry does contribute to that which lasts… those relationships and bridges I’m helping to build really could last well into eternity.

In this season of my life, there’s another ministry to which I’ve been called:  I’ve been called to care for and minister to my family as the primary caretaker, teacher, and source of income. The ministry of lovingly caring for my husband and my children is important, and I need to make sure I’m focused and available to meet those needs. The relationships and bridges I help to build here are also an investment which will last well into eternity. It’s just not time for me to be spending more mental and physical time at my job than I do in my home-based job.

Based on the Scripture verse for today, the photo with the artistically-crafted reminder, and the insight-filled Challenge of today’s devotional, I really do need to focus upon and dwell upon more of what matters most, because one has a shorter season left than the other. Even though my work time and my home time are both spent “ministering” to how I’ve been called, my primary ministry is to my family. It won’t be long before my youngest child graduates from high school. It won’t be long before my husband will, once again, be able to help to support our family.

My “someday” for whatever is to come will be here soon enough, and when it does come, I can trust that God will open the right doors through which I can walk. In the meantime, it’s important for me to stop toiling in my mind, worrying about the money I need to support my family, and chasing the wind that challenges my contentment in the ministry of being fully present for them.

It’s a season, and soon enough, the wind will change. For now, I need to focus on the tranquility of that one open hand, find a way to help to open up the clenched fist in the other one, and breathe in the peace and satisfaction of knowing that finding balance for all of us is what matters most. The “more of what matters most” is them, and today’s devotional has been a reminder for me.






Finding Hope above the Clouds

Heaven Photo

A quick glance at this photo makes me think of Heaven.

I know the third Heaven looks nothing like this, but flying above the clouds and seeing such a distinct separation of the levels within the first Heaven just makes me think about the second Heaven (where the planets and stars dwell) and then the third Heaven (the beyond-it-all where our Lord dwells). Therefore, I think of Heaven when I see an image like this.

Someone I know recently passed away. I know her soul was caught up into the Heavenly realms.

She was a Believer, but she wasn’t the kind who just believed; she was the kind who lived life in such a way that others wanted to know from where her strength came. She didn’t hesitate to share the answer with others. She was even doing it in her final moments here on this Earth. She knew — with absolute certainty — where she was headed when she took her last breath.

Her passing was sad for so many who had been impacted by her life, but her passing was also a celebration for the many who knew her and the many more who knew of her. When one lives their life in such a way that others want to know from where strength comes, one is living out loud. She lived and loved out loud.

I want to live that way.

I feel part of being able to live that way is knowing about eternity. There is a peace and a calm knowing where eternity will be spent. I feel that peace and calm about my eternity. Do you?

You can know, for sure. You can KNOW — with absolute certainty — where you will spend your eternity.

When I fly, I love the moment in which the airplane breaks through the dismal, grey clouds to reach the sunshine that waits above them. Sometimes it’s a bumpy ride to the other side, but what is waiting is nearly always the same. I love the times when I can look down and see a fluffy, white carpet of clouds, then look across and see the place where the clouds meet the bright, blue sky. It doesn’t matter what is going on down there underneath the grey clouds, because there, above them, is a different view. It’s a peace and a calm.

I am sure some of that was what my friend experienced in her final moments. She had a bumpy ride, but she knew the peace and calm of the other side. She knew the place to which she was headed to spend her eternity.