Dan taught me a very handy word several years ago, back in medical school, during his ER rotation: “triage.” He explained how the ER docs needed to triage all the patient’s problems to handle the most urgent first, then work down the line to the others. It’s partly about priorities, partly about doing the most beneficial work with your limited time. And that concept has come in very handy with having a baby. But it’s also showed me where my priorities lie.
When Lizzy wasn’t sleeping and was screaming her head off most of the time, colic style, I learned that the rare moments when she would fall asleep, I needed to take advantage of the baby free time to do stuff. By stuff, I’m not talking about reading a book for fun or blogging. No, it was more about what food I could stuff in my mouth to give me the most calories the fastest (yes, you can live off nuts and seeds, or so I learned), a quick trip to the bathroom, and maybe, if I was super lucky, a chance to change my spit up covered clothes.
So, for the first few months of her life, that’s about all I could get done. But, she slowly started napping, and I could add different things to the triage list. But I never knew when she was going to wake up, so I always had to start with the most important thing, which was always getting her next bottle ready to go. Then, I worked down the line to food, bathroom, etc.
Now that I have a child who naps regularly and fairly predictably, my triage isn’t so frantic. I have time to examine what makes the triage cut and what doesn’t, and I’m realizing that God wasn’t making the cut.
I’m not saying that I should have put devotions in front of getting Lizzy’s food ready, but prayer time wasn’t even figuring into the equation. I would fit it in whenever I remembered it, but mostly, I prayed when I was at the end of my rope, begging for help…which happened quite frequently. But of course, when I need it most, it was the thing that got literally put at the bottom of the triage list.
God was giving me some gentle nudges a couple weeks ago to get my act together, and to make sure he gets put at the top of my triage list. So, sleep got a little bump down, and I get up before Lizzy wakes up to eat some breakfast and read the Bible. It’s still behind getting Lizzy’s food and medicine ready, but that’s probably not going to change for awhile.
I’m still no expert in how to put God first when one has a demanding baby/schedule, but at least now, I’m making an effort. And no, I can’t say that my quiet time is fabulous, but it’s something, and I’m conscientiously taking the time to connect with him. If anything, it’s at least symbolic of my priorities improving.
So what about you? If you have so many minutes of each day, how do you prioritize them? If you only had a few minutes to yourself each day, how would you use them?