|| A WORD FROM MIKE SMITH
As spring approaches and the longer days invite us to squeeze in additional activities, many of us are looking at all of our responsibilities and wondering how we will accomplish it all.
|J. Michael Smith, President of Home School Legal Defense Association|
Juggling experts tell us that most people can juggle three balls, but four are nearly impossible. Homeschoolers often try to juggle many more than four balls. The hardest ball of all to keep in the air is homeschooling. It's like trying to juggle a medicine ball. (I know I'm dating myself there. If this is a new term to you, it's a good research project.) Some of us have even added an additional ball called support group leadership.
If I were to ask you if there is any activity to which you feel you're giving enough attention, my guess is that most of you would say no. We're involved in so many good, valuable activities, but still feel that we are not doing enough. In addition to ordinary parenting responsibilities, we're involved in serving our local church, and we need to spend time on our marriage, our spiritual life, our parents, our extracurricular activities, our health, and our friends. The list goes on and on.
The key to juggling these responsibilities is establishing proper priorities. The Bible teaches the importance of living by priorities. The greatest commandment, Jesus explained, is to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength. In Matthew 5:24, Christ places a high value on human relationships, commanding us to be reconciled to our brother (or sister). Finally, Jesus said if we seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, all the things that we worry about needing will be added unto us (Matthew 5:33).
There are two reasons for establishing priorities. First, order does not occur spontaneously. We have to make it happen! Second, it is much less painful to establish priorities than to go through life haphazardly. God wants us to avoid the traps of the enemy so that we can have the abundant life here and be prepared for the abundant life hereafter.
Our ultimate success in being an outstanding wife, husband, child, or homeschooling parent is dependent upon being successful in this one activity—nourishing our own soul. This is the one priority that will lead to abundant life.
We all know this is true, but why is it so hard to keep this priority? Because the cares of our own soul do not scream, "Feed me!" "Fix me!" On the other hand, our kids, spouse, support group, finances, friends, relatives, health, job, church all scream out to be fixed, attended to, nourished, noticed, loved, and comforted.
Meanwhile, the soul can always wait until tomorrow.
Little by little, the cares of the world squeeze out our time for Jesus Christ. If we're not careful, our love for Jesus can disappear. Although we continue to try to obey God and do what's right, we're running on empty in our ability to do good.
How do we nourish our souls? We must continually feast on the Bread of Life from heaven. God is always speaking and always feeding through his Word. We will not be able to feast, nor hear from God, unless we're involved in daily Bible reading, meditation, prayer. The Word of God is to us like the manna from heaven was to the Israelites in the wilderness. We must collect and use it on a daily basis; otherwise we cannot benefit from its power and nourishment.
This neglect of our soul is not a conscious choice, but it is a result of many decisions over long periods of time. We fail to remember how beneficial this time can be each day. We must come to the banquet table; room service is not an option.
My beloved homeschoolers, our first duty to our spouse, our children, and everyone else is to set before them an example of someone who seeks first the Kingdom of God and loves God with all of his heart, mind, and strength. When we care for our own souls, we are nourishing the souls of others.
As homeschoolers and as Christian parents, we face many challenges. We have many cares, fears, and insecurities in this life. But Jesus said, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." In other words, God will take care of our cares if we seek him with all of our heart.
God bless your efforts to seek him daily through his Word.