How To Narrow Down Your Priority List

How many of us can resist when the rankings for something comes out? Hubs love to watch the Team of the Year rankings for BBQ (yes, this is a thing. I promise.). Top 10 places to visit, 10 best restaurants in your town, even in the school yearbook, the Best Smile and Most Athletic are impossible to not want to look at.

We are all about ranking things and enjoying the ones listed as the best. But have you ever thought to rank your own life? No, not as in how is it better than your BFF’s life. That’s all based off Facebook, and Facebook lies, folks. Facebook lies. Anyway, thanks to my awesome husband, I’ve read many non-fiction books by some great authors. (I’m naturally more of a fiction reader. I enjoy being whisked away to the imaginations of J K Rowling more than reading about the real world.) But from finance to faith, I’ve now read some really good non-fiction books. From them, more than one of the writers have taught that you can only be really good at a few things at a time. As in, you can only put your focus on, and do your best at, 3-5 things at once.

While reading this, I was in the middle of trying to build a business from home, start homeschooling, had just had a baby plus our 2 & 4 year old kiddos, the day to day task of keeping up the house, my marriage and my walk with Christ. Count that up and it’s a whopping 6.

Outside the set number, right?

I initially didn’t think it was a big deal, but it was. Was I doing anything well? I honestly felt stressed out and if I got ahead on one thing, the house was behind and the kids were missing me. And vice versa. I didn’t know what to do. So I decided to sit down and rank these things. How important did I want to make all of it?

So this is what it looked like:

  1.  God, my relationship. I want to grow and be used by God.
  2. Hubs– my marriage is incredibly important. I want to keep that relationship as the second most important one in my life, and grow closer to him and work constantly on it.
  3. My kids– these little crazies are our life. We work hard to live a faith filled life, to teach them to serve and give and love on others. We are very involved, and are also outnumbered by the little wildlings. So we have to be on point with them!
  4. Our home- God blessed us with a great house. We prayed in the first few months, that God would use the house to love on others. To be a place that people feel welcome and that they can be themselves and grow in Christ. That he would use us in the lives of others in this place we’ve made into a home. So I want to take care of it.
  5. Homeschool- a part of our lives that we never expected, but God called us into. We take it one year at a time, but see it as a part of our lives for the long run at the moment.
  6.  A business- So here’s the kicker. I love to work. LOVE to work. I know that sounds crazy, especially on top of our crazy kids and all that. But seriously, I love it. So I wanted to grow the business. It was important to me to have this business that I could call MINE.

There’s my list.

I sat looking at it for a long time. #6, that business, seemed so important. But here’s the thing….God gave Hubs a great job. One with a great company, who takes incredible care of him. And that great job brought in a great paycheck, that more than took care of our family. So here I am, stressing out our family, feeling like a failure because someone and something is always left unfinished, when God was very obviously taking care of us.What did I do in that moment?

I made a tough decision. I decided it wasn’t worth it. God did not call me to that business. Not right now. Yes, I enjoyed it.

But my pride, PRIDE in what I built, what I had done, kept me doing a business for myself that was causing trouble for my family.

So I took a step back. I honestly thought it would be harder than it was. But I got to catch up on everything and be with my husband and kids in a way that I hadn’t for over 18 months. I got to start running again and get back into my art and writing. It was quickly obvious that I was on the right track.

Then God brought Hubs a promotion, very unexpectedly. Into a job he was excited about, that offered a change of pace. It was a pretty big smack in the face reminder that God has it all under control, if I would suck it up and be patient.

Life isn’t supposed to be easy. We all juggle different hats and titles, hoping we can handle it well enough. But after sitting down to make the list, I could see that I wasn’t just juggling the things I needed to be. I was adding in extra things, just for the sake of myself, my pride. We all do that. Find reasons to hold on to things that are better let go of. So here’s what you should do, just like I did.

  1. Sit down and make a list of all the things in your life. Your marriage, job, kids, side business or hobby…. whatever you are rushing around to. List it out.
  2. Pray over it. Talk to God about what’s most important for the life He has planned for you. Is it that hobby or the kids sports? What makes you happy and what do you do because you feel is just a hassle that has to happen?
  3. Rank it. 1- whatever number of items you have. Remember, you can only do your best at 5. So what are you willing to put in those places?

Why do you need to do this? Because we are all the absolute best at over booking. Running ragged. Being crazy about doing all that is asked of us, never pausing for a breathe. It leaves us too tired to put our full selves into anything and too worn out to realize that we’re not happy. Our purpose in life isn’t to live up to society’s rankings. It’s to decide our own ranks and live them out.

What do you have in your life that falls below the #5 spot? What are you willing to rank out of your life?
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