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:
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