Asking for Understanding and Grace While Setting Priorities

Intentions may be good, but sometimes they become misguided.

Afternoon threatened to become evening as I continued to drop berries into the bucket that hung around my neck. My self-imposed quota hung heavy as the goal–at least one full bucket. No fewer. 

Sweat dripped down my back. The zipped jacket warded off mosquitoes that liked the later hour but created a sauna in the 80-degree temperatures. 

But no matter how uncomfortable I became, I couldn’t quite quit. Not until my goal had been met. There were still berries to pick and I needed to pick them. 

everything-permissible-but-not-under-control-

Too Driven?

I’m driven that way. In more areas of my life than I like to admit. Driven, sometimes beyond what is necessary or good. I see or create a goal and become near obsessed with obtaining it. Sometimes through time the goal shifts to a less healthy one and shades out the nobler mission. 

Have you ever experienced that? 

Lately I’m seeing it with my writing. Although I still rejoice in each person who is encouraged through the words I type, I’m becoming more focused on how many are reading it. I’m beginning to judge the worth of my message by the number of tweets it gets or the number of people who Like or follow me. 

I’m not apologizing for wanting to build my ministry platform. A larger following will  increase my ability to reach more of you with the encouragement of God.

I want to share God’s love and grace with everyone, so they know they are not alone in this journey called life. 

I want to reassure more people that there is life after a difficult diagnosis or a chaotic time or a sorrowful situation. That those of us who are strong can never do it all or carry it all–and we don’t have to nor should we try.

I want to proclaim the message of letting go and flying free in Christ. 

Enlarging my ministry is a worthy goal. Pursuing your work, outreach, and hobbies are worthy as well. So is raising your children, caring for the elderly, being with your spouse, even cultivating relationships on social media and in person.

But they all need to be pursued bathed in the light of Christ, not in the shadow of our driven natures. They need to be carried out in God’s timing not our’s. And not at the expense of other priorities in our lives.

We need to make sure we are focusing on the right One when we move in life.  

And if at times we see signs we need to leave the bucket only three-quarters full, then we must be willing to do so. [←Tweet this.]

I’m beginning to see the signs.

Asking for Understanding and Grace

So as I ask the Lord’s help in putting in proper context the Facebook Likes, Twitter tweets, Google Plus shares, and blog follows, I beg your grace and understanding. 

For as I take time to refocus, my blog posts may be a bit delayed. My social media posts may be more sporadic. 

As I try to balance the incredible blessings God has poured out on me this summer, including all of my children home again and you, my dear readers, I would appreciate your prayers. Please pray

  • That I take time to play my daughter’s favorite pretend-game “Lori”
  • That I spend a few extra minutes to prepare my college sons’ favorite foods
  • That I leave room to create precious memories of family togetherness 
  • That I would make space to just listen
  • That I would cultivate those things that are most important, not just the ones that create the most noise [←Tweet this.]

And while you’re praying for me and my priorities, I’ll be doing the same for you. 

May we all use our time with great wisdom as to the Lord not to men. 

“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

Reflection: What about you, are you the driven sort? What most often threatens to draw your focus off the most important priorities? 

I’m once again linking up with Ann Voskamp’s 2014 Joy Dare. Find the linkup at A Holy Experience. Beginning where I left off in 2013. And I’ve counted over 3,000 gifts!! What a blessing! #2987–3007, read the entire list by clicking here.

  • Smell of wildflowers in the meadow; Bike riding the trails with hubby and Joey; Danny arriving safely in Florida
  • Cottonwood puff floating on the breeze; Fawn racing around the apple trees; A visit from Mom
  • Manning our church booth at the fair and visiting with many wonderful people; Outdoor Francesca Battistelli concert; Freedom to let go–and recent recurring encouragement to do just that
  • Gems mixed in w/ the “coal” of the day; Welcoming purr of our kittens; Prepared meat in the freezer for quick meals!
  • Joey and Allison performing well in the piano contest–proud they were willing to stick with their commitment; Ice cream bucket full of black raspberries; Hanging lazily with my kids in the evening grass 
  • Daniel home from Florida and the #AllianceDefends Collegiate Academy; Day spent with Zach ending at Mom and Dad’s; Sleeping in this morning, lulled by the pattering of rain
  • The joy and love shared by our special kids at church this morning, even when they are strangers; Black raspberries bigger than my thumb; Another little one brought to the Lord in baptism today

 

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

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I am a blessed wife, mother of four, and follower of Jesus Christ, celebrating each messy day through His grace. I write, edit, and speak as God leads.

Posted in Daily Living, Ministry, Multitude Mondays, One Thousand (or more) Gifts, Perspective, Self-Control
  • http://www.jonstallings.com/ Jon Stallings

    Good stuff Julie, I did the same thing. That is the main reason I have been on a blog break since last year. (I hope to be back up in August) – You are doing well since you know the danger so you can always recognize the warning signs when things get out of balance.

    • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

      Thanks, Jon. I appreciate your support. I will try refocusing while still blogging some and maintaining some sort of social media presence, but it that doesn’t work, I have to take a complete sabbatical. It’s encouraging to know others have to do this as well. Blessings.

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Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's BLESSINGS to get lost in its HAPPENINGS. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 10:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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