Sunday, June 23, 2013

Keeping Priorities in Balance

One of the struggles I have while striving to live a balanced life is keeping my priorities in the right order.  I have many responsibilities to my family, at church, at work and within other groups I choose to be involved in.  Each of these responsibilities uses part of the the time I have each day.  Jon Acuff in his book Start says that we need to make sure to "disappoint the right people".  Who are the right people?  To know the answer to this question, we must know the priority order of our responsibilities. This will help us know who we should be disappointing when we are faced with a a decision with conflicting priorities.

Here is the order I believe our priorities should be and I will give some reasons why.  You can think about them and pray to help set your own order.

Priority 1: God
I believe that God should be our number one priority.  All other decisions and parts of my life are impacted on my relationship with God. This does not necessarily mean that your church activities come first, but your relationship with God should.  You need to make time to be in prayer and to study God's Word so that you can listen for what he is calling you to do in other areas of your life.

Priority 2: Spouse
If you are married, your spouse should be right below God and above everything else.  You need to continue to work on strengthening your relationship with each other.  God calls us to be one and you cannot do that without investing time into your relationship to communicate with one another about life.  If you have children it is important so that they can fill security of a strong marriage/family and have a model for relationships in the future.

Priority 3: Children
If you have children, we are called to take care of our own household or we are worse than unbelievers.  Not only does this mean providing for them financially, but being there to lead them spiritually, emotional, etc.  As a father I believe it is my job to help my son be the best version of himself he can be.  I want to help raise him to love God and to be a person of good character.  In order to do this we need to invest your time into our children.  Also, in order to take care of your family you need to take care of yourself, so I include my own physical/emotional needs under priorities 2 and 3.

Priority 4: Other Family Members
After you take care of your immediate family it is important to continue to strengthen your relationship with parents, siblings, grandchildren, etc.  This means spending time with them and helping them when needs arise.  You may even include close friendships into this priority level.

Priority 5: Work 
Whether we work outside the home or stay-at-home with the children we have responsibilities that take up time.  In Colossians 3:23-24 we are called to do everything we do as if we are doing it for God and that includes our work.  It is important to do the best we can at our jobs to be able to provide for our family, but also to represent our faith in the work environment.   We are called to be honest and be hard workers.

Priority 6: Friendships and Other Activities 
I include extra friendship time in priority 6.  I build friendships in throughout my life in the other priorities, but don't do as good of a job scheduling time to really build on these relationships as I would like.  Many times it friendship compete or are partnered with the activities I choose to prioritize.  To help prioritize the other activities in your life, you could make a list of the activities you participate in.  This list may include extra responsibilities at work, church activities or the clubs/associations you are a member of. When you finish compiling this list put the activities in order of highest priority for you.  By doing this, you will be able to know which ones are the most important.  Some strategies I use to rank my list include:

  • the difference I can make in people's lives by doing the activity.
  • the time the activity will realistically take away from my other priorities.
  • the difficulty of getting someone else to take the role instead of me.
  • the relationships (family and friends) that I could build on while doing the activity. 
I hope this helps you as you think about making a list of priorities in your own life.  What did I miss?  How would you rank your priorities? 

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