For some reason lately, I have been thinking about priorities--both, my personal priorities, and priorities in general. I am not sure what has led me to this topic, but I felt the spirit prodding me to blog about it. So, here I am.
The dictionary defines priorities, the adjective, as: highest or higher in importance, rank, or privilege. Basically, our priorities are the people or things that are most important to us in life. So, I ask you, “What are your top priorities?”
Even though I don’t necessarily know you, I am going to go out on a limb and guess that most of you would say that your family is the most important thing in your life. That is good. I get that. I certainly agree that family is important and it should be towards the top of your list.
But, if you are a Christian, I ask you to re-think your answer. I will give you a few seconds. Did it change? If your first answer was your family, and after re-thinking it, you still say family, I am respectfully here to tell you that your priorities are NOT straight. And, I am telling you this, mainly because I need to hear it for myself. This is something that I think most of us get wrong—at least some of the time.
As a Christian, your first priority should be God-- to seek God, follow Him, trust and obey Him. We desperately need to put Him first. The Bible tells us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). And, in the Bible the first commandment given on Mount Sinai is, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2-3).
This can be hard to do. At least, I know it can be for me. As I have said before, and will undoubtedly say again, I am only human. But, I am working on it. I make God a priority every morning by spending some time in prayer and by reading my Bible before I go to work each day. I am not where I want to be yet as a Christian, but I have come a long way from where I used to be. (Thank you, Lord!)
When we put God first, we can develop a godly character for ourselves. As Christians, we should always want to follow God’s lead and be as much like Him as we can. I would argue that this should be our second priority in life. Or, maybe you lump it in with putting God first. Either way, these two should be at the top of your list. For the purposes of this post, I am lumping them together.
The second priority in your life, in my humble opinion, should be yourself. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, when you have a family—a spouse and kids, and work—the last person you tend to think about is yourself. At least most females I know are like this. And, even though I don’t have kids, I have enough friends and family who do, to know that they take up an exorbitant amount of time and energy. Most of the moms I know let their kids be their top priority. Please don’t fall victim to this practice.
Taking care of yourself—spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally is of vital importance. How can you give of yourself in all (or any) other areas of your life if you are sick or tired? (Or, both?) Don’t think of this as taking away from your other priorities, but rather as the only way you can tackle all your other ones. This is the only way to keep doing the good work in every area of your life.
This makes me think of being on an airplane. If you fly a lot, you know what I am about to say. When you fly, your flight attendant will go over what you are to do in case of an emergency. If the oxygen masks drop down, they tell you to put your mask on FIRST, then help those around you. The reason for this is that if you can’t breathe, then how can you be of use to anyone else? The same principle applies to our everyday lives.
Your third priority should be your spouse. In Genesis 2:24 we learn, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh”. Even though, as a mom, you may still feel compelled to put your children next, I urge you to put your spouse ahead of them in your priority totem pole.
In the natural order of a marriage, you start with two people in love, and ultimately, end with two people. (Hopefully, still in love.) Children grow up, move out, and start their own families. Sure, it is necessary to love and take care of your kids, but not at the expense of your spouse. When you and your partner remain in a loving, committed relationship, it provides stability for your kids. And, it shows them how a marriage really works.
Do you want your marriage to last a lifetime? I hope certainly hope so. I know I want mine to. Marriage is hard work, even for those of us without kids. It you want it to last, you must work hard at it and put in a tremendous amount of effort. You should give it the proper amount of attention it deserves. Which, is a lot!
Plus, when you put your kids above your spouse, the kids become self-centered and grow up believing that everything should be handed to them on a silver platter. This is doing a huge disservice to both you and your kids. Don’t you want your kids to be able take care of themselves when you are no longer around? Because, unfortunately, sooner or later, you won’t be there anymore. If they can't wash their own clothes and at least make a sandwich, they are headed for a world of hurt.
The rest of your family comes next on your priority list. This includes your parents and siblings, and in our case, our pets--who are family in our household. Then aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. At least this is how it works in my life.
After that, well, that is up to you. Actually, since God gave us freewill, all of this is up to you. This list is my personal priority list and it is how I choose to live. But, I think it makes sense for all Christians to have some sort of guidelines to follow. (That is why spending time reading and studying your Bible is so paramount. That book has the answer to every question you will ever have.)
I firmly believe that if we put God first, then everything else falls into place. All it really takes is having your priorities straight!
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.