Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
When I was in school, our professor asked us to write down our top five priorities on sheets of paper. One by one, we had to drop those sheets of paper to the floor, forming a priority ranking starting with what was least important. What we were left with was what was most important to us. It was odd for me to be holding a piece of paper that said spirituality on it. Why? Because I really wondered if my life was a reflection of that.
I am incredibly guilty of being caught in what I’ve wanted to achieve instead of focusing on what’s actually important to me. Goals are important, but they’re also easy to get lost in and we begin to lose sight of the bigger picture. As I continue to grow, I’ve found three important questions to ask as it pertains to my true priorities:
- Are these really my priorities? I need to be 100% sure.
- Am I willing to abort current plans to take hold of more meaningful ones?
- Am I willing to allow others to see those changes?
Living Life with More Intention.
So how do I take all of my self-assessments and make them actionable? Here’s how: Know your priorities. Form your goals. Develop your tactics. Check in on your progress. Repeat. Once you have taken the time to establish your priorities, it’s time to start forming your goals. I’ve put together a small snapshot of what goal setting begins to look like below (click photo to enlarge). It’s important to start with your priorities, and believe in those priorities. If you need to tape them to a wall, then place them there. Personally, I have sheets of paper on a cork board by my desk. Every day when I walk out of the house, I see those priorities. It helps me to double check that my goals and subsequent activities mirror what is most important to me.
When it doesn’t add up.
What does it mean when our actions don’t match our priorities or our goals? As of late, I’ve really started to ponder why my actions aren’t more in line with what is most important to me. My devotion provided some insight.
I happened to read James 2:14-26 and realized something very important to my spiritual development. A lack of faith has a major impact on what I’m willing to focus on because it allows fear to be the motivating factor for what I choose to get done. Faith just isn’t a problem between me and God; it permeates to every crevice of my life.
Here’s an example.
I say that my number one priority is my spirituality… but if I focus on my website, I’m afraid I won’t get my schoolwork done. So instead, I focus on my schoolwork. But why? If my spirituality is truly most important to me, wouldn’t God help me to manage that and the rest? I know He would, but living that out takes the type of faith that is manifested in works. It can’t just be a feeling; I have to put it into action.
Unfortunately, too often we know our priorities, but we don’t have enough courage to carry them out. All is not lost however, because Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. When we actively place God at the center of everything we do, His strength becomes our strength. Our limits begin to fade away as we explore exactly how much we can endure while finding out exactly how far we can go.
But what about the outcomes?
So what happens when we feel like our priorities are right, our goals are right, our tactics are well thought out, but our outcomes are lacking? Whenever this begins to happen, it’s time to take inventory. You have to find the leak to understand why the water is draining. That means you have to step back and seek spiritual wisdom about your current situation. Is God pushing you to endure or to change course? Are your tactics where they really need to be or is there room for improvement?
Our best by human standards barely scratches the surface of what God can do so make sure that He is a major component in the development process. God wants the best for us, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t without challenges. Remember, for every problem therein lies the opportunity. Search for the opportunity and be open to see where God is going to take you next. Paul tells us in Philippians 3:12, Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. When all else fails, keep pressing forward. With God, that will always be enough.Print This Devotional