Put in order the top five priorities in your life. Who or What is on top of that list? Is it your job? Your kids? Spouse? God? If that #1 priority was taken away, how would it affect you? It’s easy to get so wrapped up into the materialistic ideals of our culture. It’s easy to get addicted to making more and more money. You want to be the best at your job and sacrifice precious time. When I wrote my list of priorities, I realized I wasn’t living by them. Here’s my list:
- Other Family & Friends
So if God was my top priority in life, then why am I missing Sunday services? I’m too tired. There’s too much laundry to do. There’s housecleaning to be done. The baby makes church difficult. Why do I have all the excuses? Answer: My job.
If children are my second priority in life, then why am I always trying to figure out if someone can pick up the kids at school? Why do I miss field trips and how did my toddler get so addicted to Dora the Explorer? Answer: My job. I have an important meeting that I can’t miss. I have a project to finish that needs to be done today. Here, watch television so I can clean quickly.
My husband is #3 on the list. We barely have sex because I’m too tired. It’s almost to the point where I “pencil” him into my schedule. I rarely cook a dinner at home and I forget to do his laundry. He works just as hard as I do and yet manages to cook most the time and do the yard work. Who wants a wife that doesn’t cook, clean, have sex, or does yard work? Why am I failing him? Answer: My job.
I never drive to see my parents who only live two hours away. It would take up a whole Saturday! I have to clean on Saturdays and start Mt. Laundry, plus spend some actual quality time with my children. Why do I not make time to see my aging parents? Answer: My job.
Yes, my job causes everything else in my life to be more difficult. It takes away time but that’s because I made it that way. I am responsible for this mess. I created it and I will fix it.
So after much thought, and believe me this was hard to admit, I redid my top five priorities to what reality says they are:
- Other Family & Friends
My job has consumed me and affected the life of those I love dearly. If my job was taken away from me, would I die? Would my children and husband die? No! Then why is it #1 on my list! If God is #1 on my list, then he will provide for the rest of the priorities on my list. He must be first in my life. God has provided all the loves in my life: My husband, my children, my parents, my dear friends. And what do I do? I put him last on my top five. How messed up is that?
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV
So here’s my game plan to turn my “dream” top five priorities into my “reality” top five. Every morning I’m going to start with devotion. I’m going to put a devotion app on my tablet and read it every morning. It takes all but five to ten minutes. Then every night I’m going to end in prayer. A prayer of thanks for all the blessings and love He has given me, a prayer of protectiveness from evil and harm for my family, and a prayer for forgiveness.
Next I’m going to be there for my children. I’m going to not fret over having to choose between a late work meeting or picking them up from an after-school activity. I know I’m a good employee and I get my work done on time, all the time. If my employer has a fit over me leaving a little early to pick my kids, then I need to find an employer who doesn’t. And here’s the kicker – there are companies out there that do let parents be there for their children. I am fortunate to have a little flexibility in my current employment.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6 ESV
Then there’s my husband. He’s a huge team player at home but I know I can make at least three meals a week. I will make use of my crock-pot and pre-plan as many dinners as possible. I will do a load of laundry every day so I’m not wasting time all weekend doing that. I’m going to employ my children to do more chores around the house. Not only will they learn how to pitch in but also make an allowance. I’m going to give more attention to my husband. Why is he always pushed aside and why do I “pencil” him in? He shouldn’t be. Bless his precious heart – he never complains. A huge part of my happiness is his happiness.
Lastly, I’m going to dedicate at least one Saturday every month where I drive to see my family who only live two hours away. My parents’ time on this great Earth is limited and I want my children to learn from them. I’m getting excited thinking of all the fun we will have together! Grandma will have fun going to the zoo, museums, and shopping. The kids will have a blast learning how to hunt and fish with Grandpa.
When I think of all the time I’ve wasted by putting my job #1, it saddens me. It almost sends me into a bit of depression. The good news: I AM CHANGING IT NOW! Tears come to my eyes knowing I have awaken from a miserable dream that evolved around a job. I’m awake in time to make memories filled with love and laughter for myself and my family. I can rebound and live with losing a job, but losing the rest of the list…not so much. With this revelation, starts my journey.
The Challenge: Putting God first. The more we try, the better we get.