Let’s play a little game. Take out a pen and paper (or just do it in your head) and write down the five most important things to you, in order of importance.
Have your list written down? Good. Now make a second list listing the five things in your life you spend the most time on, in order of time spent per day or week.
Do your lists match up? If they do, I am highly impressed and am offering you a congratulatory (albeit virtual) high-five. You rock!
It is likely, however, that your lists do not match up. In fact, there may even be things on your importance list that do not even show up in your “time spent” list and vice versa.
Are you surprised at the outcome? I am going to venture a guess and say probably not. We all have things in our minds which we make a priority but in application / reality we oftentimes just cannot seem to make the time or effort. It is a problem that plagues the best of us no matter our best intentions.
I recently found myself doing a self assessment like the one above. My order of importance was and always is: God, my wife, my son (soon to be plural), my family, and running. Then, as per the exercise above, I did a list of the things I spend the most time on, and they did not match up. In full disclosure, it was something like my wife, my son, running, social media, and entertainment. While not surprised at the list, it really did make me take a moment to reflect on how this mismatch has an effect on my life. The number one thing on my priority list did not even crack the top five of my time-spent list.
I have a very bad track record when it comes to putting time into my relationship with God. I do a poor job at finding time to read my bible, I am not involved at all in any kinds of fellowship at the church (outside of Sunday mornings), and my prayer life, while somewhat consistent still leaves something to be desired. If I neglected my wife the way I tend to neglect my relationship with God, I would have been a divorcee long ago. Thankfully God is much more forgiving than any human being ever would be; otherwise I would be kicked to the eternal curb.
Am I writing this as some sort of way to tell you that it is important to place a high priority on your relationship with God? No. While I believe it is, the reason I am writing this is to say we all have something we place number one on our priority list, whether it be God or our children or our health, that we oftentimes neglect. We all have our excuses, our reasons, for why this happens, but at the end of the day we need to ask ourselves, “Is this really important to me or is it just lip service?”
So I am challenging myself, and challenging you, to make what we say is important to us actually be important to us. The only thing that is getting in the way of doing that is ourselves. If it is important, we will find the time. If it is important, we will give it our focus. If it is important, we will find a way.
For the rest of the year, despite the business of the holidays, our jobs, and whatever responsibilities (real or imagined) that we might have, lets band together and make it a point to make it important.
Together we can do this!