I suspect we’d be hard pressed to find more than a handful of people in the US who don’t have too much to do. We all have responsibilities, goals, and aspirations. We all have relationships we want to maintain. We all have “time vampires” (some might call them addictions) that suck the time out of our schedules. And there are always unexpected events or difficulties.
I know that I certainly fall into the category of “those who have too much to do.” You probably do as well. So I’m constantly trying to make sure that I’m putting time into those things that are the most important to me. Well, really, it starts before that.
What’s important to God
I want to make sure that I’m investing my time and energy into what is important to God. After all, deep down, God is what is most important to me. Thank God (no pun intended) that he has let us know what is most important.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (emphasis added)
Because God has made this so plain, I try to invest my life in loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. Of course, that’s easy to say, right?
How I live it
In fact, it’s quite easy to say that I should “invest my life in loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength…” but it’s a completely different matter to live it. Living our faith based on the word of God requires that we have the wisdom and the power of the Holy Spirit working actively in our lives. He helps us to understand what this looks like in our lives.
Because, outside of God, I am fundamentally flawed, I do my best to schedule my days so that the things that are most important to God are non-negotiable parts of my week. After much prayer, I have decided to put these things into my weeks first.
- I spend time in the Bible and in prayer (almost) every morning because I want to give God space to work in my life
- I am careful to give some quality time to my wife and marriage every day because I want to nurture that relationship
- I try to take care of my body because God gave it to me
- I am teaching a class for young boys at church because I want them to know about Jesus
- I intentionally invest time growing face-to-face relationships because I can’t love people I don’t know
- I work because God has commanded it and it glorifies him
- I blog because I want to glorify God
With a list that short, there are some things that don’t regularly make the cut. Some things that have been deprioritized for right now. They are things to which I’d love to give more time. But I only have the time I have. And maybe when I get better at killing the “time vampires” in my life I’ll be able to get to them.
Do I even mess this up?
Absolutely. There are days and sometimes even weeks when I get my priorities out of whack. When I invest my time poorly. When I get distracted and lose focus. There are times when I just get it all messed up.
But there are other times when I intentionally set down or drop a ball. There are times when I make a trade-off in my priorities to accomplish a goal. Or when something lower on the priority list gets bumped for what is more important.
For example, it’s been two weeks since I’ve posted to my blog. I want to do better than that. If my blog were my primary focus, I would have to do better than that. But for the past couple of weeks I’ve had more opportunities to invest in face-to-face relationships. And in taking advantage of those opportunities, I haven’t maintained my blog well.
I hope to do better than that in the future.
How about you?
What things are most important to you?
How do you make trade-offs?
What do you wish you did better?