Putting First Things First

By Leslie Bertucci

The winter holidays are over, and the spring holidays are starting to gear up. And I’m just over here trying to catch my breath.

Once again I am reminding myself to put first things first. Not only as a practical method of survival, but in order to accomplish what God asks of me in each season.

During our 33 years of marriage, our family has always been busy, but we’ve somehow found a way to make time for what’s most important.

My husband and I have been doing volunteer ministry with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal since we met at a retreat 35 years ago. As each of our five children has come of age, they have joined us in ministry.

It just so happens that the most time-intensive events take place during the winter and spring holidays. So, in addition to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, we had national conferences and a local retreat to prepare for.

The biggest regional conference we help lead takes place during Lent, so we’re getting ready for that now. Meanwhile, we’re getting the kids to band practice, literary rally, ACT testing, youth group and after-school jobs. And trying to stay on top of homework and graduation timelines.

Quite frankly, I’m exhausted.

The silver lining in this great big cloud of busyness is that it forces me to stop and ask myself if I’m really putting first things first. Maybe you’ve heard the expression: “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”

If, in all the activity of my day, I am constantly being “poured out like a libation,” as St. Paul says, so that there’s nothing of me left for my husband, my children or my Lord, then maybe it’s time to rethink my priorities. I’m asking the Holy Spirit to help me discern how I should spend my time.

I am happy to report that, in answer to this prayer, I am finding myself spending more time snuggling with my children, playing board games with family and friends and just sitting and soaking in God’s presence.

And, I can finally breathe again.

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