“The way to do a great deal is to keep on doing a little. The way to do nothing at all is to be continually resolving that you will do everything.” – Spurgeon

Last week, I met up with a few friends. Over scoops of delicious durian, hazelnut and teh tarik ice-cream (not all together) we got to sharing how “growing up” has changed our priorities. Eventually, four pairs of eyes were looking eagerly at me as they asked, “How about you? How has marriage changed your priorities?”

I stumbled through an answer – a decent one, I’d add, which had everyone nodding in agreement and understanding. But as it is with me, I felt like I didn’t explain myself as well as I would on paper. So here I am, sharing the longer version of my changed priorities.

It started with birthdays: my birthdays.  

When I was turning 25, I felt accomplished. Teenage-hood, high school, college, and the first day of work all behind me, I thought, “Yes, I’m officially an adult!” But when 26 neared, I became disheartened to see so little of my youthful aspirations fulfilled. Have I really done so little? Have I only this much to show?

It’s not that I’ve been bumming around all this time. I was doing much, actually – planning camps, volunteering, serving in worship teams, teaching, chauffeuring, working, studying, and fulfilling the many miscellaneous. But all has blurred together into one big memory, with little recollection of the significance behind those things.

I don’t assume this to be a bad experience for everyone. But for me, it is a sign of my weakness. As a person who struggles with saying, “No,” I constantly found myself in the same predicament: doing 101 things in a 1,000 directions. It’s in being helpful that I find my worth, because people need me. It’s nice that people need me and think me capable.

But in pleasing people, I’ve often neglected the real things that matter – seeking God, praying for His kingdom to come, building relationships, resting. “I’ve been busy” becomes the go-to phrase. I’ve been answering everyone’s call but God’s.

So how has marriage help change this?

Marriage is God’s gift to me in more ways than one, but I'll just focus on one. Because of marriage, I’ve had to narrow my commitments significantly since the beginning of this year. It was the push that I needed, to stop being the headless chicken.

It’s okay to lose out
Because of the volatile nature of my husband’s work, my career options are limited.

“Wait, I don’t understand. Can’t you still pursue your career?”

Yes, I can. My husband supports me in whatever I want to do, actually. But that’s the thing. As fulfilling as working or serving fulltime might be to me, it will not be fulfilling to our marriage. We spend months apart already; when he comes back, I don't wish to waste our time on other pursuits, just because I'm afraid of losing out. I’m not saying that I can’t do anything at all. What I’m saying is that I have to be wise with what I say “Yes” to.

It’s okay that you’re replaceable
Those roles that I was afraid of letting go because I didn’t think there’d be anyone to take over? Well, I'm wrong. There are so many capable persons out there, more capable than I ever can be. I am not irreplaceable. I’m not the Saviour. In the end, there are only the few who truly need me, and these are those who need my all.

It’s okay to simply be
Oftentimes this year, it appears that I’m doing nothing. And, yes, sometimes, I get really restless because I haven't been "useful". But when I properly reflect on the first half of the year, I realize there’s nothing I want to change. Spending time with family, sorting my life out (It’s amazing what one accumulates over years of scattered-ness), and settling into marriage – as “slow” as these pursuits are, I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m happier and healthier than I’ve been in a long while.

So this is what marriage has done to me. It's made me understand the meaning of redeeming time. It's given me the rest to settle the fizzed mind I didn't even know I had. It's provided the space to finally pursue the dreams that's always been on my heart. It's taught me the lesson of having faith by letting go.