As I was walking to church a few Sundays ago I looked down at my pant legs and realized just how wrinkled they were. I mean it was pretty clear I had pulled them out of a draw, thrown them on, and headed over to the church for Worship. I remember chuckling out loud at myself. Oops! I guess I am getting up in front of 150 plus people this morning with wrinkled pants. Truth be told, I can’t even say it was the first time.
There is a question I get asked frequently, probably multiple times a week: How do you do it? (sometimes in the form of a statement: I don’t know how you do it). Of course this is in reference to the fact that I am a mother to four young girls (7 and under), the two youngest being twins, as well as a full time Pastor, Head of Staff, at Woodstown Presbyterian Church. This question is often paired with a concerned face – almost as if to express the very feeling of overwhelm that fills one’s head just trying to imagine “how it is done”. My response is pretty simple and direct: I just do it!
And that is the absolute truth – I don’t have a formula or a specific methodology – I just get it done. But really, what is “it”? It is balancing my kids and my church, my family and my work, my marriage and my other relationships – “it” is balancing life. And what is at the core of my balancing act? Prioritization! You see, I have the same amount of hours in the day as any hard-working Mama (those who work in and out of the home) and all the pressures and burdens that come with any pastorate. Be mindful that I also have all the beautiful blessings that come in being both Mom to my girls and Pastor to my church family. And while those blessings keep me going, they don’t get “it” done.
It gets done when I learn (often the hard way) what to let go of and what to pour into, what matters and what does not, what is meaningful and what can be sacrificed , what needs immediate attention and what can wait. It gets done when my priorities are clearly defined and attended to. Priorities being God, Family, Church – other stuff.
So that is correct, I don’t iron my pants. And oops, my hair is not always perfect. My outfits are rarely new, but are from last season (and sometimes 3 or 4 seasons ago if they still fit). I don’t dust often or vacuum regularly. I won’t be winning any fashion awards or finishing in any clean house competitions victoriously. My girls sometimes leave the house with the same hairdo they woke up with. Maisie, our 4-year old, chooses her outfits and her shoes are almost always on the wrong feet. Adeline, our 7 year old, helps to herd the twins down the steps and into the car for me. I am the Mom who forgets permission slips, is last in the carpool line, and I almost always forget a detail or confuse a scheduled appointment or dance class. I am that Mom at Target with four kids, one cart, one stroller, and utter chaos happening. And this once type A, anal-retentive, obsessive- compulsive gal, who was on time to everything – is consistently 5 minutes late (and it kills me!)
But my girls are loved, most nights I am there to put them to bed and to watch The Greatest Showman for the 15th time. My husband and I manage date nights once in awhile, and we take time away when family can stay with the girls. I set aside time every morning to read the Word and to pray, often with my husband. My family of 6 is at church every week. I invest in my relationships with friends and with family. Priorities. They are what matters in my life, and that is how I do It.
It is the things that matter most, those I love. Jesus. My husband. My kids. My Family. My friends. My church. It is the things that matter, the things that will last. I don’t want to spend time chasing after the meaningless things in this world, and then allowing those meaningless things to dictate my time, my mood, my mind, my life — my priorities.
I don’t iron my pants. Not because I don’t want to, but because for me it would mean giving up something else more important in order to accomplish it. Less prayer time, less time with my kids, less time to prepare Sunday morning for church, less time to talk with Robert, less time on the phone with my friend from seminary that I haven’t talked to in months. Nope – the pants are staying wrinkled and the people are getting my attention. Priorities.
That extra hour of sleep would be nice in the morning but I won’t sacrifice my time in God’s Word or the beauty that comes in sipping my coffee in the presence of His silence. Priorities.
How do I do it? Priorities. I just do it. It being what I love, It being the most important things to me. It being God, family, church, relationships – all of those blessings God has showered upon me. The ones that come in the form of responsibilities and commitments, the ones I love. When Paul tells us to have the same mindset as Christ in our relationships, is he not telling us just that: to prioritize the people we love and treat them as Jesus would.
So I don’t apologize for wrinkled pants, or out of date outfits, or kids with crazy curly hair – as long as it means I am loving them well and making them my priority – I am okay with it. Let me encourage you to be okay with it too – put first what matters most and let go of the rest. In your relationships, take on the mind of Christ and love the people he has given you to love – love them well! Love what matters most and make your priorities those very things you love.