As John is getting older, he’s 4 and a half now, he is starting to figure out just how to ask for things. I’ve found myself having to correct him a few times a day, saying “John, you don’t need to have that race car/cookie/blanket/etc., you want it. We don’t ask for things that way, can you please try again.” With Lent starting tomorrow – yikes!, all this talk about needs and wants has me thinking – What do I want vs. What do I need, especially when it comes to how I spend my time while the kids are sleeping or napping – my “me” time.
Let’s start with the “Wants” list, because it has all the fun stuff on it =)
I Want to:
- Knit/crochet/craft – I just taught myself how to knit and have thrown myself into a project. I also have sitting in the wings a crochet project, 2 cross stitch projects and a new chaplet project for my moms group/bible study.
- Write – I’ve got all these ideas for blog posts and lengthier ideas that need development, evolution and most importantly, time to hash out. I’m discerning if God is calling me to a bigger writing project, more articles, etc. All I want to do is write.
- Read – I am in the middle of 3 books right now. Yes, 3. And I just volunteered to read a 4th and write a review of it that has to be posted during Lent (not sure I got this gig yet, more to come, maybe God will take care of my craziness for me because let’s face it, that may not have been my best impulsive move of the day).
- Go to Mass daily
Now the Needs:
- Pray daily – in a calm, collected, designated time that isn’t while I’m talking to all 3 kids at once.
- To go to confession, even though I don’t particularly enjoy it (because I don’t do it often enough. I know that if I dedicated myself to the habit, my attitude would change.)
- Clean the house, at least minimally, to maintain my sanity.
Breaking down the lists between wants and needs threw into sharp perspective the difference between the two. For my survival, sanity and overall physical and spiritual health, there are things on my needs list that no amount of the wants can fulfill. I could spend every available moment knitting, but it won’t repair my relationship with God. I can read many books, fiction or spiritual, but unless I talk about my day, my experiences, my trials, and even those books with God, I won’t deepen my relationship with Him. And, no amount of griping, complaining or avoidance will clean the bathroom or vacuum the floors.
Think about it like this: in the Bible, God asks for sacrifices that are of the first-fruits, the cream of the crop, the unblemished lamb. The Israelites were to give to God first, then to themselves. In this way, God’s blessings would return to them 10-fold because by offering their best to God, it returned to them increased. Today, we can think about it by considering what we give to support our churches, charitable organizations and other worthy causes. A true biblical tithe is 10% – before taxes. Give to God, then give to Caesar. It is interesting to take a hard look at your finances and see where your money goes, especially percentage-wise. Take that lesson and look at your day. Are you giving God the first-fruits of your time, or is He getting what’s leftover? This is tough friends, and I am as guilty as anyone of giving to God what’s left, instead of what is first.
As Lent starts, I am going to be taking an honest look at how I am spending my time, making sure to prioritize my needs over my wants. I need God to come first, to prioritize my relationship with Him before anything else. For me, this means that before doing anything else during naptime, I will prioritize my God time. I expect most days I will still have time for my wants and hopefully, they will bring me even greater pleasure because I have taken care of my needs first.