After sharing one way of deciding what to do with our time, I wanted to share a second way that works for me. JOY stands for Jesus, Others, and Yourself.
We know from Jesus' example that we are to put others before ourselves. If I have done what I know the Lord would have me do, then I can ask myself what my husband would have me do. I can even ask him directly! Fortunately, my husband and I are on the same page about what needs to be done for the most part. Some days, however, I must admit that he would rather have me do laundry when I'd rather be reading. You single ladies, take note!
After doing things that would please my husband, I can decide if my children are in need or would be particularly blessed by something I could do. Some mornings, breakfast is all the blessing I can muster! But on other days, I may decide that I've put off doing a craft or just playing with them long enough. I have a large family, but I need to consider the needs of other family members, friends, and co-workers as well. Any commitments I have made to others should come before my to-do's.
Finally, we can think about ourselves. You might be wondering how on earth we can be all things to everyone who needs us and still have time to do anything for ourselves! Some days that's a real challenge for me. But here is the blessing.
First, spending time with the Lord and giving to others is the best thing I can do for me. My energy and mood are renewed. Second, God can guide us in what to do for others and when. He doesn't expect us to run around serving everyone. Sometimes the best way to serve others is to allow them to depend on God or learn to meet their own needs. He gives us the discernment we need when we need it. Third, some seemingly selfish activities are actually serving the Lord and others, too. For example, my husband loves it when I exercise and the kids love having an energetic, less-stressed mom as a result.
How can we use TODAY, TOMORROW, and TOWARD together with JOY for deciding what to do on any given day? Here's how your to-do list might look:
- What would Jesus have me do today?
- What do my husband, kids, friends, co-workers/boss need me to do for them today?
- What do I need to do for me today?
- What would Jesus have me do today to prepare for tomorrow, next week, or next month?
- What would my husband, kids, friends, co-workers have me do to prepare for tomorrow, next week, or next month?
- Who do I need to do for myself today in advance of tomorrow, next week, or next month?
- What goals or dreams would Jesus have me work toward today?
- What goals or dreams would the people I love and work with want me to help them work toward today?
- What goals or dreams do I want to work toward today?
Some days, you may spend all day on #1, but you won't be sorry like you would be if you just web surfed the day away. Give the JOY method a try!