“What matters most to you?” When someone asks me this question, I give the answer: “my relationships with God, my husband and my children.” Now, doesn’t that sound sweet? Isn’t that the “right” answer? I now imagine what would happen if that person then asked me to prove it. How do I prove that these relationships are the most important things to me…my greatest priorities in life??
A priority is a thing that is regarded as more important than another (or so my helpful little dictionary tells me!) So, in my mind, I consider that my relationships are more important than, say, being on time for my weekly bible study or doing the laundry or, even sleep, ouch! In my thoughts, this is what is true. But, do my actions prove it?
My actions may actually prove the exact opposite if I’m not intentional about prioritizing my priorities! Sleep may take priority over my time with God in the mornings. Obsessing over the laundry and the “need to clean” may take priority over spending time with my hubby at the end of a long day. Rushing my kids in a tense, no-nonsense voice places my desire for punctuality over my relationship with my kiddos. (Feeling the conviction over here!)
What do your actions reveal about your true priorities? And what does that say about who you are?
And here’s another thought to toss in the mix: do your priorities line up with God’s priorities for you? God has priorities for your life, specific responsibilities that are yours…that He has designed and equipped you for uniquely!
Paul told the Corinthians “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
So, God won’t give us more than we are able to handle…AND…He will give us a way of escape from the temptation to go down the wrong path. Great! Then why do so many of us end up with more than we can handle? If God didn’t give a task to us, that means we just went and picked up something on our own. Somewhere along the way, we decided something looked too good to resist, or we felt obligated to take on a new responsibility. We didn’t stop to ask God His thoughts on the matter…we just figured we could handle it.
Part of the difficulty of living within our priorities is that we take on things because they seem urgent, interesting or required. We feel guilted into making a decision, or fearful that we’ll miss our chance. But God doesn’t work via guilt-trips or fear. He just doesn’t! He does, however, happily and freely give direction and wisdom when we ask for it.
So, if you give prioritized time to things that are on your plate due to fear or a sense of guilt, talk to God about His plan of escape for you. Ask Him what His priorities are for your life right now. What can you let go of that will make more room in your life for your actual priorities?
* This is the first post of the Right Priorities series. Keep watching for more on what challenges we face and must overcome in getting our priorities right!