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Friday, September 17, 2010


A challenge is issued. I make a list. This list stretches me in the best kind of way. It forces me to make hard decisions. It actually makes hard decisions easy if I heed its numbers.

It is a list of my priorities. Will you join me in making a list?

Take a piece of paper. Number it 1-10. List your priorities in order.

Here are mine:
1.     God
2.     Husband
3.     Children
4.     My health
5.     My home
6.     Extended family
7.     Close friends
8.     Building community (in new town & church)
9.     Writing/ Speaking
10. Physical training toward marathon

Cancer changes priorities. Number four, my health, now comes higher on my list. It’s rightly called my health instead of the former "diet/exercise" and includes taking the time to go to different grocery stores and health food stores and taking the time to prepare those foods. It includes exercising at least four times each week vigorously. It includes getting the proper amount of sleep each night and napping when I need to. It includes taking time to just do something for myself when I’m feeling extremely stressed or overwhelmed. Something for myself might be as simple as driving through Starbucks or sitting down to write for a few minutes and it might be as fun and indulgent as a pedicure or new blouse. Cancer makes me realize I’m the only wife my husband has and I’m the only mother my children have. If I’m not healthy spiritually, emotionally and physically, I can’t love and serve as well as I want.

Moving has placed building community up a bit higher on the list. Going to a new place means number eight is actually huge. It includes finding a niche in our new church, volunteering at the kids’ schools and supporting different organizations in our new town. It includes stepping outside of comfort zones, introducing ourselves to others and offering to do things for others all in an effort to make friends where we are. We want to be those who have deep friendships in close proximity so making the effort is important. While I had cut back on volunteering before I moved, I feel I need to step it up a little in this area to help the children become acclimated to their new community.

Number ten, the whole marathon thing, falls to number ten. It is still important to me as a personal goal, however; I am nowhere near ready to run 26.4 miles but I am trying to get closer everyday. I am pushing myself to get there just not at the expense of my health or my family's well-being.

My writing and speaking must be towards the bottom of my list because I have other responsibilities. Period. My goal is to have a book proposal completed by March and edited by May in order to start presenting it to publishers in June. Sometimes I get antsy and overwhelmed because I don’t see how it can happen. Other days it seems entirely possible. I’ve always wanted my ministry to have the testimony that God did it all. Every speaking engagement I’ve had, every person who’s stumbled onto my blog and every word I’ve written testifies of our God’s greatness and goodness. I have to believe that writing a book or any other thing He’s called me to will come as a result of His grace over my work.

I put a quote on Facebook yesterday from Marybeth Whalen’s book “For the Write Reason.”
“Ask Him to speak to you and give you grace to respond.”
That’s my simple prayer as I ponder and arrange my priorities.

There is freedom in this list. When you sit down to make a choice your mind’s eye will see your priorities and the number beside each. Just make a choice based on that. It’s as easy as 1 2 3.

I’d like to open a discussion here for the weekend. What are your priorities? Do you struggle with having to place some lower/higher than you’d like? How can I pray for you as you make your list? What suggestions do you have on the topic?

Next be sure to meet Karen for all kinds of time management tips including priorities.

Happy weekend and I look forward to hearing all your sage advice on setting priorities!

“Oh! Teach us to live well!
      Teach us to live wisely and well! “ Psalm 90:12 The Msg


Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

Lisa, I really like this because 1) it made me stop and think and 2) because something's been bugging me and this has helped me put it into perspective.

I've wondered why my blog doesn't grow. I've wondered what I don't have that others have. And you've helped me see, it's not high on my priority list. Mine would read just about like yours, with some tweaks, but the blog, to me, is a hobby. If people read it, great, and I hope God shines through, but if they don't, that just has to be O.K. with me because I want my husband and children and friends to get more time on the priority list than my blog.

Hmmmm. Eye opening. Thank you!!

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing this sis. It is really important to think about. My top five list would be:1)God 2)Husband 3) My health 4) Family and friends 5)Church.

Diana said...

Great post!!!!

Kimberly said...

Hmmm...Leave it to me to be different, lol...but, I think more circular than I do in "stair step" fashion. God is at the center and everything else kind of revolves around Him instead of going "up" and "down" on a list. If that makes sense. It's easier for me to see things that way, it feels more free to me...more "flowy". There are ebbs and flows to what comes to the forefront of my life on any given day at any given moment. If we are seeking Him first...His kingdom and His righteousness, He will make sure all things fall into their proper place at the proper time. I'm excited for you about your book! But just know that you may have a season where, as it is part of God's plan for your life, you may need to focus on that for a season while other things fall into the background. But only for a season. Sometimes things have to shift around, like you said in your post. Wake up in the morning and say "Ok, God...what do you want me to focus on today?" He'll show you. And if He is truly in control, He leaves nothing neglected...His spirit enables us to do ALL things well that He gives into our hand.

Sorry if that sounds totally disjointed...hope you get what I'm trying to say, lol! I should probably put "blogging" more at the top of my list so I can learn to be more articulate! :)

Cindy Bultema said...

Lisa, Thank you for sharing your priorities with us. I am excited to hear about your book proposal. I will add it to my prayer list ~ that God would lead, guide, protect your writing time, and surround you with persons to help you reach your goals ~ in God's perfect timing. How exciting for you! Promise you'll have a Michigan book signing :)
Love to you~
Cindy :)

Sonja said...

This is such an important post Lisa! For you, and for most of the rest of us as well... to really learn about out own priorities. Interesting that yours have changed numbers... you are in a new chapter.

Your top ones are still your top ones, and the others have shifted, which shows you have moved right into your new chapter... I love that! Also, I have found, as I know you have, that when He remains #1... we seem to be able to fit everyhing in and in the right order. He has a way of making it much more simple than I can ever figure out on my own. I wish I did that every time... I don't! I love your thinking here!


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Great encouragement, Lisa. As for my priorities, my life has been in an upside-down tailspin for the past 6 weeks. I think sitting down and making a list is a good thing to do. I've got too many responsibilities in this time of sickness, and I need to be OK with letting some of them go.

Thanks for leading the way...


Laura said...

These are all good priorities, Lisa...but you are right. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the good for the best.

I love you, lady. Thank you for your sweet words over at my place earlier. You know what? I will be praying for your book proposal. I think you have a lot to say. All good stuff.

Kimberly said...

I love this post...and what Shelly said. There are some things that I have to put lower on my list, like my blog and "networking", because there are just more important things right now in my life. And my blog is going to reflect that. I had not thought of it like that before...and it actually makes me feel a little better. :)

I can so easily get caught up in things that are not of true importance...not bad things...just not best things. I do need to make a list, a sweet reminder of what truly matters, a sweet reminder that I am indeed the only wife my husband has and the only mother my girls have.

Hugs to you, sweet Lisa.
K :)

LisaShaw said...

Hi Lisa,

Encouraged in the sharing of your heart and I'm praying for you.

I loved the quote:

"“Ask Him to speak to you and give you grace to respond.”"

That says it all doesn't it?!

Remain encouraged as you walk in the priorities GOD sets before you dear one. Much love!

Lora said...


Hey dear one. Your quote about grace was one I needed to read today. I like the way it was phrased because I have been asking the LORD to give me more grace in any situation I am in. He is faithful.

So encouraged to see you continuing to seek Him in every area of life.

Love and prayers,