In church this past Sunday, I got some confirmation on an idea that I'd been working through for a while. You see, when I became a Christian - my priorities were way out of wack... who's weren't, right?
The more I've walked in my faith - the more apparent commitments and their order of priority in your life matters... or at least sometimes the more clarity you get in the rank and order of where they should fall.
This doesn't mean that from time to time things won't move around, rightly so - and sometimes unrightly so... but this is how my priorities flush out. Yes, sometimes it's a struggle, but this is part of leading a spiritual life.
Priority #1 - God
Mark 12:30 (NLT) And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.
God needs to be the center of your entire world... the center by which you make all decisions. In my opinion, the closer you come in your walk with Christ - the closer you will come to hearing his guidance whenever you need it.
Priority #2 - Spouse
Genesis 2:24 (NKJV) Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
This one can be tough for some, because I know that it has to be extremely difficult for parents to let go of their children... and go forth on their own path. I don't claim to know how that feels, but it truly is the way of God. Your marriage becomes your primary relationship after your relationship with God.
I've watched people struggle with this from the other side as well - not being able to let go of their parents in order to have a healthy marriage... but I encourage you to do so. In order to become one flesh - you have to face the world together... and by together I mean just YOU and YOUR SPOUSE. Once you learn to depend on each other - and God... your relationship with change in ways you can't even imagine.
I don't speak from anything other than personal knowledge here friends - I've been there - and believe me this works. It wasn't until John and I both committed our lives to Christ - and then to our marriage that we ever started truly feeling the blessings that come from a healthy marriage.
Priority #3 - Family
1 Timothy 5:8 (NLT) But those who won't care for their own relatives, especially those living in the same household, have denied what we believe. Such people are worse than unbelievers.
At different points in our lives, different people occupy the roles of "relatives living in the same household" - for you this might be siblings, it might be children, it might be inlaws, it might be your parents...
The tough part here is when your relatives aren't believers - Did you know that family can make the deepest wounds we ever experience? Hurt that comes from a family member tends to always be worse than that of a complete stranger... why because we love them and expect more from them - but afterall they are just human.
We are called to love them regardless, and as I've been told (and have said before) all we can do is control our own actions. If we act out of love, control our thoughts... and rely on God... it will all fall into place.
This being said - I realize that again, it can't be easy for a parent to suddenly drop from being priority #2 in their child's life to priority #3, but that is the way of God - and we have to trust in him knowing that it is the right place for us in that season of our lives.
Priority #4 - Church
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT) Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.
You know, God also says that whenever two or more are gathered in his name... he will be there.
Matthew 18:20 (NLT) For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them.
My church family holds a near and dear place in my heart because they have been so wonderful to us - both churches we've been a part of have been fantastic. Our closest friends are people we've gotten to know in our church, and honestly - I'd do ANYTHING in the world to make their lives better.
Priority #5 - Friends
Proverbs 17:17 (NLT) A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.
I mentioned above that my dearest friends are members of our church, and I truly feel like they are a part of my family at times - they are a constant source of support, and I pray that I am able to support them when it is needed as well.
In addition to that - I truly feel like some of my bloggy friends are much more apart of my support system than some other people that I would typically expect to be within that part of my life. God truly gave me a gift when I started this blog shortly before my surgery - and each of you holds a dear place in my heart for the role you play in cheering me on everyday... and I hope that by commenting as often as I can on your blogs as well - I can share a little bit of me cheering you on in your life as well.
Priority #6 - Work
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT) Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God.
This is the priority that gets out of order most often in American society.
To me this one is the hardest because I mostly see my job as a means to an end... my life. My job affords me the ability to do the things that I want to do, but at the same time - I focus on doing my best in that job so that I can bring glory to God through me. If I am able to show others how God lives in me through my actions and words... if someone else is brought to Jesus... then doing a job that I don't truly enjoy is worth it.
I do believe that I am in this position for a reason - I don't always understand or know what those reasons are, and sometimes it's not for the benefit of others - it's for my own. It's sometimes part of my own spiritual journey - my own learning process to become the person that I will be tomorrow, next week, next year...and at the end of my life.
If you feel like something in your life is out of order - take a step back and look at what order your priorities are at the moment... maybe peace is only a simple priority adjustment away!