I’ve really been thinking about the concept of “firsts” and “giving the first fruits to God” lately.
Yes, we give the first of our income as a form of tithe to our church. (Basically, I write that check or pay that online first! Maybe a little legalistic, but I think the physical action of doing that before paying anything else is a good spiritual discipline.)
There are a lot of firsts in our daily lives though, aren’t they? First day of the week, first day of the month, first day of the year. First child, first kiss, first cup of coffee, first breaths and thoughts of the morning. Quite a lot of firsts! And if you really start to think about giving all of your first fruits to God, it can really change — everything.
Besides redeeming your all for the glory of God, I do believe there is another potential positive to come out of this practice – ORDER.
God is a God of order and not of chaos, right? So, when I began to think about making a conscious decision to give Him my firsts, I had to be a bit organized about it. And, even now, it IS a conscious action, and never an unconscious one. Kind of how God likes it, I guess. But what I’ve noticed is the act of giving God my firsts brings order through everything else.
Think about the joke, “you make all your mistakes on your first child.” Gosh, how many times I’ve thought that about myself, and my oldest is only five! How much more does that oldest and firstborn need the extra grace of God to cover all our many parental screwups! Being “the youngest” myself, I kind of bristle at the idea that just because of birth order, a child is not “given over to God” or that any one child “can redeem the rest.” Still kinda dealing with that concept to be honest. But I do know the fact the oldest is a role model for the younger ones is important, and older siblings have a large influence on younger ones. I see this reflected in our homeschooling right now as well, as our three-year-old is mainly along for the ride as I truly homeschool the older one, but it’s amazing how much she soaks in, just from observing and participating peripherally.
But back to my point. I think part of my spiritual discipline this year is to investigate this concept of “firsts” in my own life, and focus on how to give all of my “firsts” back to God.
“Redeeming everything we have and are and do so that everything can be redeemed and be fruitful back to God.” – Jan 3, 2011
To that end, for the rest of the year, I’m going to try to focus on my firsts – first day of the month, first day of the week, etc. I’ve been resisting too much structure mainly because my artsy-fartsy side just rebels with too much regimentation, but my possibly-ADHD/life-filled-with-chaos side of me really appreciates order! Sounds insane, right? I desperately need the order, but hate being told what to do exactly when. So, I’m trying not to take this overboard, because I’d never end up doing it anyway.
1. To begin – this blog. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and have finally come up with a routine (don’t say schedule! don’t say schedule!) that I think I can feel comfortable with AND actually accomplish.
Mondays – First Things First: All about Order, Priorities, and Living Life in God’s Will
Tuesdays – Reviews and Recommendations: My Opinions on Products, Books, and Just about Anything Else
Wednesdays – Walk with Him Wednesdays: Spiritual Musings link-up with A Holy Experience
Thursdays – Practical Tips: Whether It’s Organizational Or Whatever.
Fridays – Homeschool: Plus Link-ups with Homeschool Mother’s Journal and MFW Homeschool Highlights.
Weekends – Saturdays and Sundays Will Be Extra, or Possibly Random Topics That Fit Nowhere Else.
Whew! That felt good to write down! Of course, I don’t expect to have something every single day of the week, but at least having this ROUTINE will give my mind and this blog some semblance of order.
2. Next – the First Day of the Month.
I’ve always used the first day of each month as my kind of “check-in” date. I will update my goals journal and make my plan for the rest of the month. Update my calendar. Upload pictures, edit them, and upload them to share with family and friends. Except that’s not really working for me any more. I’m not using my “goals journal” this year, and am instead blogging about my experience here. And I’m no longer doing the “once a month massive email with 50 pictures to everyone I know.” Heck, most of those folks are on Facebook, and if they are not, they ought to be, LOL! (Mom, if you’re reading this, yes, I am talking about you!)
But still, I need my routine. I feel like I’m floundering without that 1st of the month anchor. So, on the first of the month, I’m not sure what it will look like, but I will take some time that day, and spend time in prayer for the month past and the month going forward. I will pray for God’s Will and continued movement in my life, and then and only then, review my calendar to update it and create my plan for the month. So that living my life for God, and giving him the first fruits will continue to be a conscious decision on my part each month.
3. First Day of the Week.
This is always in my Grand Plan That Never Seems to Happen. (You moms know exactly what I’m talking about, right?) In my ideal, dream-world, I would get ready effortlessly, the children would disappear for a few hours (through no work on my own part, LOL) and I could sit down with a cup of coffee alone in the perfectly clean house and quietly start my week with a non-rushed devotional and prayer-time, write my spiritual journalings down and then go on with the rest of my week in focus.
Did you get as much of a laugh out of that as I just did?
Even this morning, I tried my darndest to even keep the girls occupied so I could get my Bible Study notes in order so I could even begin! Sadly, what with computers malfunctioning, printers refusing to print, and all electronics just NOT LIKING ME TODAY, it took until 6pm for that to happen. And I know you can relate.
I always like to do the big homeschool work push on Monday mornings, so we can goof off later in the week, but I might have to change my natural impulses here. Because even school should not come before prayer time with God. And I really need that “getting set up for the week/starting my week off right time” or I flail about the rest of the week.
I have no idea how this is actually going to happen or what it’s going to look like, but here and now I make a conscious decision to give the first day of the week and especially some time that morning to alone time with God. And yes, I’m sure there will be many weeks where I will end up late at night on the computer, like I am tonight, trying to catch up!
I know there are more “firsts,” but that’s all I can handle for now! Thinking on it, I’m actually kind of excited to what this will end up being and how it will transform our family. May God use this year to bless and metamorphasize my family and yours!