About a year and a half ago I became a stay at home mom for the first time. With that came some unexpected challenges in balancing my priorities. I finally had all the time in the world to sit and suck myself into the video games I loved, but behind me sat a dirty house and, more importantly, my family. I had spent many years filled with anxiety over providing for my family, keeping the house tidy, putting food on the table, and now, I thought, I could finally take a breath and enjoy myself! But after some time I realized just how upside down my priorities were. The clutter increased, my family felt neglected, and it was harder and harder to pull myself from my games. My anxiety grew and I felt lost.
There are definitely days I would still prefer to sit and do my thing all day long, but what I now understand is that God actually gave us a priority list that is intended to help us do life better, enjoy experiences more, and be at peace even in the every-day chaos. Since I started refocusing my routines to align with His plan, I find so much more peace and joy in my days - AND, yes, I still have time to play games and snag some me-time. When I focus on living out His selfless design I gain more self fulfillment in all I do.
What is God’s priority list?
When God created man, they were created in His own image. God set man just below the angels and above everything else He created. He then created woman as a helper for man, and their children to be in obedience to the parents.
What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet. Psalm 8:4-6
Our first focus should always be on God; on His plan and instruction, on the things of Heaven. Only when we put God at the center and uppermost focus of our lives can we take the best care of our family and ourselves. Period. Building a relationship with Christ should be our first priority in all we do. This sets the strongest foundation for our life.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2
Next, we focus on our spouse. In this deep and personal relationship it can be all too easy to put our significant other on the highest pedestal. What they want, desire, or even dislike often becomes precedence. The other side of that, though, is when we put our own needs above our spouse’s. Both are dangerous territory and will throw your relationship into disorder. Your marriage is compared in scripture to Jesus and His church. Jesus, who is God in the flesh, is head of the Church. The Church submits to Jesus as the wife submits to the husband. Wow, wow, wow - not this whole “submit” thing again! Hold on a second and let’s discuss the true meaning of the word “submit”.
'Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. ' Ephesians 5:21-24
This use of “submit” does not mean you are a servant, are inferior, are weak. Submission in marriage is a sign of strength, respect, and acknowledgement that God set the husband to be the head of the family. This “submission” means a wife is a true helper to her husband. It is to have the heart of respect, humility, strength, and helpfulness. Proverbs 31 is an amazing reference to dive in further.
' A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. ' Proverbs 31:10-12
On the other hand, husbands are called to love their wives. God even tells us exactly how we should love each other throughout scripture. In 1 Corinthians we learn that love is patient and kind, does not dishonor, and is not selfish or prideful. Husbands should not hold anything over their wife, guilt them, demean or shame them. We see the purest example of love in Jesus sacrificing himself for the Church, an incredible and powerful example of a marriage relationship.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:25-28
A husband is to be his wife's caregiver, her best friend, her protector. A wife is meant to he her husband's helper and confidant. She is called to honor and respect his position as protector and head of the family. Remember what I said about a 100/100 contribution? We should be ready to give 100% of ourselves to God, and also to, and for, our spouse.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Being a submissive wife and a loving husband is about a balanced relationship where each side understands the role God has placed them in. A marriage relationship should always honor both people. It is not a 50/50 split; it is a 100/100 contribution on both sides. You are responsible for your side of the relationship. You cannot control anyone but yourself. Focus first on Christ and constantly pray for your relationship, ask for guidance and let God fill and guide your relationship.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
A solid marriage relationship is found when the first priority is God, and the relationship is built on His foundation. When we have a solid Christ foundation, and strive for a healthy, Biblical marriage, we are then better equipped for healthy relationships with our children. I took a class a couple of years ago called “Women Aware and Choosing” that really helped me understand God’s design for prioritizing our children.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
Your spouse is the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with. They will be there even after your children leave home to make their own lives. Of course your kids are important and you need to nurture them, love them, play, pray, laugh, and grow with them. Yes, you need to make your kids a priority. Key word there is “a” - not “the”. Your kids will learn to put God first and learn about healthy relationships by watching you live out His design for relationships, which will better equip them and give you all a much more fulfilling life. Will it always be easy? NOPE! But God is always there to help and guide you in His will.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34
So, where am I on this list?
When we choose to balance our relationships on God’s design, we are putting ourselves directly into God’s hands. By living in His design, we are actually putting ourselves first after God because when we trust God with our lives we trust Him to provide for all of our needs. By trusting in His plan we are taking care of ourselves. We love others better when we seek God first because we are feeding our soul with Jesus before anything else. Having a relationship with Christ helps us find our identity, helps us be better versions of ourselves, and better equips us for the rest of our relationships. God blesses and provides for those who seek Him first.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33
In striving to build relationships by God’s priorities I have found so much more joy, peace, love and fulfillment in my life. I take better care of myself and am able to love my family better. I live by a simple principle that often times the hardest thing and the right thing are the same thing. We will never grow if we don’t struggle. Just because something is challenging does not mean it is the wrong path. The struggle to live in God’s intended balance is a struggle worth facing so that you can build the most beautiful and satisfying, God-honoring relationships.