Sunday, January 29, 2012

We're (Not) Number 1!

by Susanne Dietze shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. Mark 12:30

What a night. I had Bible study in the morning, but I hadn’t yet finished my homework. I slumped at the dining room table, trying to make myself finish it but learn something at the same time. Meanwhile, the questions seemed impossible, and the words of 1 Thessalonians hurt my head, as if they were difficult math problems. I almost cried.

My husband said, “I think you’ve hit the wall.”

Of course I had. It had been a Week with a capital “W.”

We all have them. Stuff gets packed into the calendar, but, of course, other things happen to complicate matters. That week, I didn’t write at all. Or do Bible study. Or clean anything. My days were crammed with appointments and events, interspersed with unforeseen, desperate errands to find cream-colored footless tights, spherical beads of a particular shade of orange, and floral wire.

I even hiked around a bulk yard bagging dirt for my son’s science fair project … which, of course, didn’t work out right.

Frustrated and filthy one evening from working with all that science project dirt, I sent my frustrated and filthy kid off to the shower before bed. Three minutes later, he called me in to look at something weird on his leg.

Which turned out to be a black widow spider bite.

He was fine (antibiotics and a tetanus booster did the trick), but the experience was jolting and scary. I was a bit of a wreck, even the following night when I tried to do my Bible study. So yes, my husband was right. I had hit the wall.

I decided I wouldn’t go to Bible study the next day.

The following morning, I was praying before I got out of bed. Feeling a little guilty about skipping Bible study, I moaned something like, “I don’t know what to do, God. I know I should go, but I have so much to do.”

And God spoke to my heart. “Put me first.”

Three words. Totally Biblical ones, too.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness... Matthew 6:33

Lately, I’d not put God first. And I'd been wrong to do so. I decided to go to Bible study, to delve into His precious word, to worship Him, and to learn about Him, even though I didn't feel like it. I was able to complete most of my study homework and get to class on time.

I also repented of not making God my highest priority. It’s easy for me to put Him on hold while I dash about, running myself ragged. But how can I expect to be the wife, mom, friend, and servant He wants me to be if I don’t make Him the most important thing in my life? How can I write a novel that pleases Him if I don’t show He means more to me than the other desires of my heart?

You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3

Sometimes we can’t go to church, Bible study, or something else God has called us to, due to illness or travel or special events. But I’ve recognized I don’t always pray first about my priorities before making choices, big or small.
And the truth is, life will never be smooth, simple, or ordered. At least, not for long. Life gets messy, scary, obnoxious, hectic, and troublesome. Regardless of circumstances, events, or schedules, God is #1--whether we acknowledge His rightful place or not. He deserves to be our #1 no matter what's going on with us or how we feel. I often fall short here, but I’m working on it.

In the meantime, we tease my kid that maybe it was a radioactive spider that bit him, ala Spiderman, even though privately, I’m still scared by the experience. The event will always be tied in my memory to the lesson that I’ve failed to make God my #1.

Isn’t He good, keeping us in His arms, no matter what we do or don’t do?

Question: Are you thankful for something you don’t deserve?

Susanne Dietze has written love stories since she was in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and spending time with family and friends. Her work has finaled in the Genesis, Gotcha!, Phoenix Rattler, and Touched By Love Contests.


  1. What came to my mind when I read the title was that it's not about us, our family, our team, our political party, or even our country. Often we apply this to ourselves, maybe our family, but then think its okay to decide that we're number one on a larger level. We're all the apple of God's eye.

  2. I agree that "It" isn't about us, our politics, etc etc. My natural tendency is to wonder why God isn't conforming to my little list of needs for my family or myself--snort. I forget with embarrassing regularity that I'm supposed to be the one conforming to His Perfect Will! He's the Lord!

    That particular day I wrote about was a strong reminder that it's my job to worship, no matter how I feel. He's the King of kings and Lord of lords!

  3. Oh, goodness? Am I thankful for things I don't deserve?


    If I got what I deserved, I'd be in BIG trouble.

    Thank God I don't!


  4. Yeah, it is sort of a silly question, DeAnna. My experience really knocked it home (yet again) for me.

    If I got what I deserved, I'd be in BIG trouble too!

  5. So glad your son will be okay and that you can now joke about it.

    Thank you for the reminder that it isn't all about me. That first of the 10 Commandment (no other gods) looks a lot like the greatest commandment (love the Lord your God with all your heart/soul/strength), doesn't it?

  6. Ouch, Susie, as one whose had lots of weeks with a capital "W" lately, this hit me right where I live. Thank you for this reminder.

    I'm so thankful your son is recovered. Spiders are not my friends...

  7. You're so right about the commandments, CJ. They definitely go together!

    I'm glad I can joke about the spider, too...when the doctor said it was a black widow bite, I was shocked. Didn't my kid need anti-venom or something so he wouldn't DIE? I was amazed that antibiotics were all that were necessary in our case. And grateful.

    Too bad the spider wasn't radioactive... :)

  8. Suzie, you have had a handful of Weeks, haven't you? I wish I could bring you a casserole and a hug.

    When I struggle, I put God on the back burner, so I was writing to myself. Maybe others do the same. But I definitely don't always treat God like He's my #1.


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