Ok, so we have looked at the myth of a balanced life in Part I of this blog. Instead of pursuing balance I have decided to pursue my priorities and keep them. It is God aligned priorities and making room for them that will make the biggest impact on our daily life and relationships. If my only priority is to self, I will risk losing all other relationships of value in my life.
When I think about it, there was not much that was balanced in the life of Jesus as we read in the pages of scripture. Jesus, was not only single minded about his purpose on earth, he challenged the priorities of others in hopes of drawing people’s attention heaven-ward. Jesus asked Matthew to leave his job behind… he asked another person to leave their family (even dead relatives behind) and even asked a rich dude to give up all his wealth and follow him. Doesn’t sound very “balanced.”
So I am resolving myself to the goal of living an imbalanced life. My goal is to prioritize. Here are the priorities that I have decided for myself as are of the highest value and importance.
NOTE: Priorities are not proportional to the allocation of time. If I have 168 hours in a week and 5 main priorties, I cannot possibly allocate 33.6 hours per priority. If I was a monk I might be able to work out 33.6 hours a week with the Lord – fortunately I have been blessed with a wife and 3 kids so that just won’t work. Additionally, these priorities will adjust with time, seasons of life and most importantly the condition of my heart day to day.
- Relationship with God: This is honestly the most important priority for me to keep and cultivate. Not only is it the most important for me but when my life gets out of control… I feel impatient, angry, depressed, lost and scattered, there seems to be a direct correlation to the quality time invested in my relationship with Jesus. When this priority is intact, all others seem to fall into place. I love the way The Message translates Matthew 6:33, “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” Making God and His Kingdom your primary concern has so much benefit for our lives that if we truly lived life that way we would be amazed at the outcome.
- Relationship with myself: The second priority is myself. This might be a turn off to some of you but let me explain. For so many years (as a pastor) I put the needs of others ahead of my own and in so doing created a monster (ME). I would give and give and then become bitter and resentful to those I gave (not healthy). To prioritize myself means to care about what I want in life and to be who I’ve been created to be. This means I do things for myself that promote health – exercise, enjoy life/fun (golf) and to live out the calling God has placed on my life.
- Relationship with my wife: This priority is sadly the most painful failure of my life these days. I can remember the love and passion for which I pursued my wife in the early days of our relationship. I could not wait to spend time with her, and usually at the expense of all other priorities (like college or work). 11 years and 3 kids later, I need to pursue her with that same passion in the midst of the chaos. My wife is a gift from God and I need to make margin in my life in order to show her that she is my priority and I lover her deeply.
- Relationships with my kids: This is one of those fun but challenging priorities. My kids are so much fun and yet it is not all about having fun. Like my wife, my kids are a gift from God (a blessing) and deserve intentional investment and sacrifice from me. The same type of sacrifice and investment that my heavenly Father makes for me. This doesn’t mean I will be at every soccer game but when I am there I will be fully there and attentive. I will make time to invest in each of my kids individually.
- Career Dreams and Goals: This is the one that I spend most time thinking about during this this season of my life. This is also the one priority that most easily draws my attention away from the priorities listed above. God is all for our dreams and career goals, just not when they are at the expense of our families and our relationship with Him.
My hope is to make imbalance my priority. So much so that the people around me look at me with an odd look and wonder, “what’s wrong with that guy?” So how about you? What does “imbalance” look like for you these days? How do you prioritize your life? Leave a comment and let me know!