Older and (Hopefully) Wiser

I’ve heard it said that if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. I suppose the belief is that those who are busy are organized enough to take on the tough tasks. I used to be one of those people. Years ago, when I went back to school full-time at the age of 34, I was raising two kids, had a part-time cleaning business, headed up our community’s 4-H program and taught Sunday school every week. On top of that, I maintained the cooking and cleaning and yard work and a million other tasks that cropped up on a regular basis.

What happened to that person? I must have gone soft over the last several years working from home. I’ve been able to put my writing “career” on the back burner when other things needed to get done—like the cooking and cleaning and yard work. I don’t have kids at home that need attention (although their phone conversations can be quite lengthy) and I’ve had no set schedule. It’s been a pretty easy life.

And now? There is an expectation, even if it’s my expectation, that I’ll produce a certain number of words each week because I now have an agent waiting for the completion of work. I find that I’m constantly juggling the duties of a housewife with the duties of a writer, and I’m not doing a bang up job of either. My husband tells me that I’m harder on myself than anyone else will be, and that’s probably true. Is it because I look back on what I used to accomplish and feel as if I’m failing now?

I’ve been contemplating this lately—in my spare time. Usually about 2:00 a.m. when I can’t sleep for all the thoughts swirling around in my fevered brain. And I’ve come to this conclusion: I’m not the same person now as I was then. I hear a collective “duh” out there in cyberspace, so let me clarify. I don’t think my age has anything to do with it, nor is it that I’m less organized now.

I’m actually not the same person now as I was then.

Although I spent time reading to my children, I didn’t spend any time reading God’s Word. I threw meals together for dinner and helped the kids with their homework, but I wasn’t mentoring any young women, nor was I spending Wednesday nights at church fellowshipping with other believers. I’d get up before the crack of dawn and have a dozen tasks completed before heading off to work. Now, I get up before the crack of dawn and spend some quiet time with the Lord.

And I don’t want to presume that my busyness back then played a significant part in the eventual destruction of my first marriage, but I won’t take the marriage God’s blessed me with now for granted by making it a lesser priority than it deserves—second only to God. Relationships take time, whether that relationship is with a spouse, a friend, a relative or a neighbor. God calls us to be relational. And yes, I believe God also calls me to write, but not at the expense of those relationships.

So my house isn’t getting a thorough cleaning every week as was my habit, and the dogs, in need of a bath, look a bit scraggly. I might not get my goal of 10,000 words written this week, but somehow, I don’t think those things are all that important to God. But if I can remember to put Him first, everything else will fall into place eventually. Every season takes a little getting used to—learning how to work within the confines of life while maintaining God-honoring priorities. But I know that my priorities back in the day had nothing to do with God and everything to do with pride. Although it appears I’m getting slower in my “old” age, I pray I’m getting wiser, too.

“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16

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