“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I want to be healthy.
I want to write.
I want to serve in my church.
I want to spend more time with the people I love.
I want to save up for a home.
I’m realizing quickly that we can tell ourselves: these are the things we value in life, but it’s what we actually do that determines our priorities. It’s so easy to let the demands of life: food, shelter, your boss–knock out what you most value in life.
This year now that I’m working and really able to decide what I do with my time and money (a luxury when you’re a full time student) I want to set my priorities straight. As always at the top of my list is serving God with my life, this can be a variety of things, setting aside time to pray, saying no to things that interfere with church, spending time in Christian community. When the rhythms of my life support this it’s clear that serving God is a priority and more importantly a reality.
And sometimes you have moments where you have diverging, but equally good priorities. Like the other day my fiance and I decided to watch Once Upon a Time while talking on the phone.
It’s not something we normally do, because he gets home from work around 11 and I’m asleep because getting good consistent sleep is a priority for me. But I hadn’t see him that day and our hearts we’re both aching for each other so getting up and watching an episode with him was a higher priority than staying on my sleep schedule.
It was worth it.
And writing! I am always going on about how I want to prioritize writing, but then I let the other demands eat up all my writing time. So I joined a writing group in my hometown, they give me bi-weekly prompts, a community I can learn from, and an opportunity to have my work read and critiqued. Plus my commitment to blogging at least once a week.
Priorities are so important right now, the habits I form now could result in good health, happiness, savings, and having relationships that are fulfilling on both sides. So every day I have to decide how I use my time, if I’m going to exercise, write, and pray, and who I will spend that time with.
The wonderful thing is that life shifts. Right now I am focused on really establishing myself as a writer, later it will be planning a wedding. Different seasons have different priorities.
I am thankful though whatever season of my life I always have a choice. I am not forced into anything. If I don’t want that horrible job I don’t have to take it. If I want good health in the future I can say yes to a walk today. If I want to serve more I can find opportunities that fit my passions and go for it. If a friendship is draining me I can cut them out of my life. Maybe it means a lot less time on Facebook. It can result in so many ways.
Priorities aren’t simply taking what we’re given and shifting them around, if you have a job with crazy hours that you work to support your family (a great priority) you can still take 5 minutes a day and value the artist within you. Sometimes we have a lot of demands on us, but the thing is when we have priorities we can still choose each day the things that really matter to us. Maybe sleep is important, but at the end of the day you realize having some time with your partner is more important, sleep be damned.
It’s always our choice, what are your priorities today? How are you creating the life you are meant for each and every day?