By Denae Jones –
It is sometimes so difficult to find the balance between what we have to do and what we get to do. It’s such a juggling act. It seems like the ‘have to’ list is always longer than the ‘get to’ list, so it all ends up transferring to another list called ‘what I should be doing’. Unfortunately, that list tends to get extremely exaggerated. No matter how proficient we are, we always feel like we should be doing it better.
It reminded me of how a ‘worthy woman’ is described in Proverbs 31. This woman happily gets up early, while everyone else is still sleeping, and goes out to gather things in order to have food ready for her family (and even for the servants) before they get up. She earns money by making and selling clothes and belts, so she buys a field and plants a vineyard. In the planting season, she works in the field with delight, she becomes strong and beautiful. She’s not afraid of the cold months, because she has prepared beautiful winter clothing for her family to wear out in public. She helps the poor and needy in her village. She praises God, her husband adores her, and she teaches kindness to her children, who rise up and call her blessed. Joyce Meyer was teaching about his passage one time and jokingly said, “I used to hate that woman!”
When I breezed through that passage, I knew exactly what Joyce Meyer meant. This lady works inside and outside the home, and spends all of her time serving other people. She makes most of us look bad. I mean, it says nothing at all about going out for a massage or a night with her friends. Nothing is mentioned about free time or vacations, yet she still seems happy to do it. I wondered what was on her ‘have to, get to, and what I should be doing’ lists?
I read through it again and some different parts jumped out at me. She is described as having a noble character, fearing the Lord, working with eagerness, speaking with wisdom. I realized that she probably only had one list. It was probably a ‘get to’ list, and it was a list of things she was going to do for others. It probably didn’t seem like work to her because she was doing it for all of the right reasons. She ‘got to’ provide for her family. She ‘got to’ use the gifts and talents that God gave her in order to work in the field and make clothing to sell. She ‘got to’ use that money to give back to her community. She ‘got to’ witness her husband, finely dressed as an elder, because she took care to make his clothing out of the best material. She served God by serving others and not herself, and she was happy to see them happy. She was honored by others because she honored them first.
It made me think about why I do what I do, and what my attitude is when I’m doing it. I must say, I’m guilty of hurrying through the ‘have to’ list, and ignoring the ‘what I should be doing’ list, in order to jump to the ‘get to’ list. My line of thinking is usually more like, ‘If I finish the things I have to get done by 7pm, I will get to sit on the deck and have a glass of wine with my husband.’ Then, when things I have to do take too long and the things I wanted to do get bumped off, I get really grumpy. But maybe at times like that, my attitude is self-serving. I always taught my kids to put God first, others second, and themselves last. Maybe I need to listen to my own advice.
When I go about my days this week, I’m going to try and look at my ‘have to’ list differently. Instead of listening to the inner critic and shifting it all to the ‘what I should be doing’ list, I’m going to shift it all to the ‘get to’ list. I get to wake up to a healthy family and a good job. I get to put food on our table and mow the grass in our yard. I get to read books with my kids in a country that provides an education. I get to attend ball games and watch them excel in their sport. I get to serve our community. I get to tuck my kids into bed and bow our heads to pray. I get to honor God by serving others.
And if I’m lucky, I still get to sit on the deck with my husband and enjoy a glass of wine. All of the things we try to juggle could make us so much happier with the right attitude! I challenge you to try it too.
Have a blessed week, friends!