It seems sometimes like it’s just too much to juggle. How are you supposed to fit it all in?
You definitely want to spend quality time with your spouse. Your kids too. Family is a priority. You want to glorify God through your job, to provide for your family, and to work “as unto the Lord,” so your career is a priority.
You want to attend church, and perhaps you serve in a ministry in or outside of the church. That’s a priority. And, of course, don’t forget your own personal devotional walk with the Lord – so your quiet time is a priority.
Plus you want to regularly fellowship and maintain great friendships and relationships with people. That’s a priority. Oh yeah – and you want to exercise and take care of your physical health. That’s a priority.
As if that isn’t enough, you’re very aware of the importance of rest and rejuvenation. So that’s a priority too.
I can’t even read that list without feeling tension – as if I am being pulled in a million different directions at once. So imagine the feeling when we try to live this way.
An Ineffective Way to Deal with the Conflict
You may hear that the solution for all of this is to rank your priorities. God first, family second, career third, and so on. But that doesn’t seem to work.
It’s not really that clear cut, for one thing. It works if you were to have a small view of God as simply just someone you heard about in the pews on Sunday morning. But with an all-encompassing view of Jesus Christ as Lord of every facet of your life, where do you draw the lines? Is the ministry I volunteered for (which would fall under the “God” category) more important than my career? If I believe God called me to my career (so now that’s under the “God” category), is that more important than family?
Another issue is how does one go about reflecting these priorities in real life? Is it determined by the amount of time spent on each? So if I work at my job for 8 hours a day, that means I have to spend 9 hours with family and 10 hours with God?
Or is priority decided by how I resolve scheduling conflicts? If I’m at my son’s birthday party, I won’t respond to a work emergency – but if there were a church emergency, that’s a different thing?
As I was venting my frustrations with managing my priorities, a wise leader at my church told me the solution to my dilemma.
You should only have two priorities.
Two, that’s it.
The first priority is God.
The second priority is whatever God tells you should be the second priority at that moment.
This simple concept has helped bring clarity and peace to a situation that otherwise would inevitably lead to conflict and stress for me.
Instead of viewing my life as a group of neatly organized and mutually exclusive compartments, my existence is now defined as a free flowing and unrestricted obedience to Christ. The various areas of my life no longer compete with each other, pulling me this way and that, but instead all submit to Christ’s lordship.
This freedom allows me to wholeheartedly pour myself into whatever the Lord has laid on my heart to do in that moment. I don’t have to keep track of how much energy I’m spending so that I can make sure to spend the same energy on the other compartments in my life.
I’m not going to claim that this philosophy is an absolute must for everyone, but it does work for me. I’d be curious to hear from you all about what you think.
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