One of the greatest joys of my Christian walk is getting to share tips that might encourage you in your own journey. With that, the most powerful gut-check exercise passed to me has to be the Godly ABCs.
Queue the flashback scene.
My life boiled down to two things, working and sleeping. Oh, I had other goals and priorities in life, hundreds actually, but work always edged everything else out. Most days I didn’t even get a full eight hours away from the office. I saw my husband in passing and everything else I tried to squeeze in – God, ministry duties, friends, and chores around the edges. It all left my pulse racing but I did not know any other way to do life.
I’m sure everyone can relate. Even if it’s not work, there’s something you can put in that slot – kids who have what feel like twenty different places to be simultaneously; an all-consuming passion to master – guitar, video game, chess; or you have homework sitting on the desk that could rival the height of Mount Kilimanjaro.
A name comes to mind …
You know the story, two sisters, one sits at the feet of Jesus and the other rushes around with endless to-dos. Spoiler, it isn’t the first that gets rebuked. Luke 10:38-42.
In speaking to many women over the last several years I am convinced we’re all Marthas. But Mary, now there was a lady that knew her ABCs! Her Godly ABCs that is and I was soon going to learn them for myself.
I was sitting at a women’s ministry meeting, another one of the many things filling my calendar to overflow, but I loved it. It was a breath of fresh air. A chance to spend my time serving God and the ladies at my church. I was happy to make time for this. Laundry could wait …
Queue ominous music.
While I truly loved the ministry and the meetings, this night I was grumpy, hungry, and tired. Work had been long and I’d had to rush to get to the next town over where the meeting was. I wasn’t all smiles, even if it was for God.
The leader of our group noticed. She, in true sistership fashion, called me out on it. Gently. Lovingly. She saw through my crass joke about chucking my life into the nearest river and leaving to join the Amish. Asking me to stay late, she discussed her concern privately.
Apparently, my 70-hour work weeks and extracurriculars were not spelling success as God would have it … I just wanted Jesus to be proud and, more importantly at the time, I wanted to feel like my life mattered beyond the time clock. All of this was twisted up and tangled until it was hard to catch a breath.
You know on planes how they teach you to put on your own oxygen mask first … well I wasn’t. Who had time to breathe? I digress.
While I was parsing through metaphors to come up with another deflection joke, she changed tactics abruptly. “Do you know your ABCs?”
Caught off guard my mouth could only open and close … I’m a writer after all. The answer was obvious.
Pencil in hand, she was not swayed, as she carefully wrote out each letter. Then the mic drop. While the letters are the same as we’ve been copying since kindergarten, the meanings are very, very different for those that profess Christ as the Lord of their life.
The ABCs of Christ-centered living are designed to keep us in right relationship with God, the World, and our passing through it. It varies slightly from woman to woman based on the season of life someone is in, but to use an example – me –
A is God. Always.
B is my Husband.
C, since we do not have children, is then moved to my next highest Biblical priority – Home.
D is Ministry.
E is Career.
I was so focused on E that A through D was choked off and in danger of withering. Not something I wanted to see happen!
I took the paper she handed me and stared at it. She explained that of course it’s not just me, we all do this. It’s part of the human condition. Business help books call it the urgent overtaking the important.
Sometimes it’s urgency and sometimes it’s how we value certain things above others. Often we as Christians feel ready to fly to a war-torn country and preach the Word, putting our lives in danger, but prompted by the Holy Spirit to do the dishes … no thank you.
She was quick to clarify, the seemingly diametrically opposed actions aren’t important. Obedience is. This hit deep. I hope it hits you just as deeply.
The Bible tells us, as women, what our priorities should be, we only need to be obedient.
Try it out!
I encourage you to sit down with a pen and paper. Write each letter out. On a separate sheet write all of your to-dos, then bucket them into categories, and look at how many are filling each one. Chances are your D, E, F, etc. are more packed than your A, B, C. It’s okay or will be; take this time to really evaluate each of the to-dos. Are there some you need to add in A-C? Are there some you need to delete D down? If you’re having a hard time, connect with a Biblically sound sister you trust or your preacher.
Now I do this every time I begin to notice the clock spinning faster and my day planner feeling heavier. Pen in hand I begin to think –
Have I prayed today? A
Read any scripture? A
Have I said more than a passing hello to my husband? B
Have I done anything to reduce the laundry mountain? C
And so forth.
When stress is at an all-time high I always find the answers to these and similar questions are a resounding no, so I start back at the beginning, listing out letters and evaluating everything I’ve said yes to over the last several weeks.
In the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What letter do you find hardest to keep in line? Are there tasks you can completely eliminate?
Together let’s say (write out at least) our ABCs, God’s way.