by Joy Martin, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
It’s official—summer vacation has arrived. And even though school is out for a few short months, the lessons just keep on coming.
My first lesson of the summer came the morning after school let out—quite early that morning, in fact. We were having a garage sale at my in-laws’ house that weekend and had been busy preparing for the entire week. My 7-year-old son Justice had been anxiously awaiting opening the concession stand that Grandma Martin had helped him prepare. He was going to be selling water, lemonade, cookies, granola bars, and peanuts. And he was excited!
My morning had started with an unwelcome, obnoxiously early wake-up call from my 14-month-old daughter Julie. After nursing her and getting her back to sleep in her crib, I flopped back into bed looking forward to being able to sleep in for a little bit. After all, I didn’t have to worry about getting Justice to school, and we didn’t have to be at the garage sale until a little later that morning. But Justice had other plans.
I heard him wake up at about 6:30 but didn’t think much of it because it’s not unusual for him to get up to use the bathroom and then go back to sleep. So I rolled back over and quickly fell asleep. But 30 minutes later, Justice walked into my room and cheerily said, “Good morning, Mom!” After I cleared the sleep from my eyes and looked up at him, he added, “I woke up, got myself breakfast, took my inhaler, brushed my teeth, and got dressed. I’m all ready, and you’re still in bed!” (So much for my sleeping in.)
Now, to understand the lesson of that morning, you need to know something about Justice. Generally speaking, Justice takes after me—he isn’t a big fan of mornings. It takes him awhile to get going after he wakes up. And as anyone who has ever been at our house on a school morning or had the misfortune of being on the phone with me during school-prep time can testify, getting Justice ready for school is more than a little frustrating. More often than not, I spend an hour asking him repeatedly to do things—get out of bed, eat your breakfast, take your medicine, brush your teeth, go get dressed. I don’t think I can remember a morning where I haven’t had to repeat myself at least three times for at least some aspect of our morning routine. Needless to say, getting Justice ready for school can be an exhausting experience.
Yet, that particular morning, Justice jumped out of bed and got ready all by himself, without a word of prompting, and he did it 90 minutes earlier than he’s required to on a school morning. So what changed in that 24-hour period between the last day of school and the first day of summer break? Did Justice mature suddenly and learn the value of starting your day early? Was he bitten my some sort of mysterious bug that changed his morning disposition? Although I would say that option B is more likely than option A, the truth is that neither of those things happened. No, Justice bounced out of bed that morning because he was excited about going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the garage sale. And because of his uncontrollable excitement, he made getting ready for the day a priority.
The first few times I told this story to family and friends, I was simply sharing a funny story about Justice—yet another thing he did that made me smile and reminded me how lucky I am to be his mom. But as I was telling my sister the same story, something suddenly struck me, and I realized that this funny little story doubled as a valuable and poignant life lesson.
I was taken back to a sermon I’d recently heard where my pastor talked about the need to make reading your Bible a priority. So often, people say that they don’t read their Bibles because they don’t have time. Yet, we have time to watch our favorite hour-long show each week. We have time to check our email and/or Facebook page 12 times a day. We have time to go play golf every other Saturday. So how is it that we have time to do all of those things and more when we can’t find even fifteen minutes to read the Bible? Truth be told, it’s because we make those things priorities, and we don’t give the same level of respect and importance to reading the Word of God. I am saddened and ashamed to admit that I have been guilty as charged.
I have heard it said that you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes that he wears. I would say that the same is true about a person’s priorities. I fear that often my priorities reveal an unflattering side of me—that I can be a selfish woman who is sometimes simply too lazy to do what she knows needs to be done. But that’s not who I want to be, and that’s not who God wants me to be. So I am going to begin re-examining my priorities. When all is said and done, I want my priorities to scream that I was a strong Christian woman who lived a selfless life, loved her family with all of her heart, and loved her Savior even more.
What do your priorities say about you?