I was sitting in the airport in Amarillo, Texas, waiting to board the flight home to Dallas. Trying to shut out Oprah’s interviews on the TV, I attempted to focus on reading The Red Badge of Courage that I had assigned my American history class to finish by Thursday. A young lady sat down beside me, smiled, and asked what Oprah was talking about. I said I had not been listening to the show very closely, but it seemed to be a program aimed at women who were over committed. About that time the schedule of one of the “over committed women” flashed on the screen. The studio audience groaned as they sympathized with the woman’s plight. Her schedule consisted of overseeing three children, attending her daughter’s volleyball games, and serving in five volunteer organizations. I waited for the screen to roll over and list the rest of her obligations, but that was it!!
Stunned, I moved toward the gate to board the plane.
Once seated, I drew out my legal pad and began to list my obligations:
- Teaching home school as well as overseeing a ten-year-old and a sixteen-year old.
- Writing a 200-page book for the third KONOS-In-A-Box, due at the end of February (I had just finished the second book in November.)
- Teaching an American history class one day a week to eight students, ages ten to sixteen, which included all their history, writing, literature, and art.
- Teaching a KONOS “Cooperation” unit on the systems of the body once a week to seventeen students, ages six to twelve (True, I had great helpers, but I was in charge of all the teaching and planning.)
- Writing three 750-word articles within the next two weeks.
- Designing a new brochure for KONOS by the first of February.
- Planning my menu for our KONOS Rep weekend and beginning to prepare in that direction (We have 20 reps who come to our home in February for a weekend and eight meals, which I prepare with help.)
- Helping my mother in Amarillo, who was going through trials following the death of her husband.
- Being available for my two older sons, who are in college, as well as for my mother-in-law, who had just buried her 100-year-old mother.
I did not bother to list the givens, such as the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the driving, the gardening, the preparing for Y2K!! Then, of course, I had to replant the pansies that the four dogs had dug up and paint the back hall before the reps came. Also, my speaking engagements begin early this year, in April. Never mind that I had had my gall bladder out three weeks ago, had gone right into having Christmas dinner for thirty, and had entertained 150 kids on New Year’s Eve! Did I qualify for being over committed? No, I qualified for being committed!!
I got off the plane at 5:30 p.m. Wade met me, and, while we ate at La Madeline’s, amid tears I resolved to carve away at my obligations. By 9 p.m., Wade and I had called all my students and canceled the second semester of both my classes. It was a very difficult thing to do, since I love the children and love teaching them, yet Oprah’s show–of all things–had convinced me that I needed to cut back!
My encouragement to each of you is, not to watch Oprah, but to reevaluate your personal obligations as you begin the new year. As I was canceling my classes, one of my friends, who had helped me with my little kids’ class, commented, “I cannot believe you are actually taking your own advice.” She was referring to the seven-hour KONOS Creating the Balance video where I enumerated a wife’s and mother’s priorities, in order.
As women, our first priority is to the Lord, second to our husbands, third to our children, and then to our extended family and friends. One would think that if I had taught a principle to home schooling moms for seventeen years, I would certainly practice it myself! Not so. The Christian walk is a constant struggle to stay in His will, keeping His priorities, not ours.
Talk show TV is seldom an encouragement to do the Lord’s will, but maybe whales and burning bushes are communication tools of the past. If Oprah knowingly or unknowingly touts principles concurrent with biblical truth, maybe we should hear the message and act.