Today ends Week 3 on Melissa Taylor’s online study of my book, “I Used to Be So Organized.” A warm welcome to those of you who are reading today as part of your Friday assignment.
This week you read chapters six and seven, covering the topics of setting priorities and understanding the whys of disorganization. I’m sure some of you are itching to get into your closets and start organizing, and you are wondering why I spent so much time in the early chapters of this book on theory. And there’s a good reason why.
If I spend a day organizing my closet and don’t deal with the reasons why it got overloaded, I’ll be back where I started in six months (or less). The same is true with my schedule. If I’m overwhelmed and start slashing responsibilities to get some relief, but I don’t deal with my skewed priorities, I’ll start saying “yes” to the wrong things as soon as I feel better.
I don’t want a quick fix – for me or you. I want a foundational restructuring. My core thinking needs to be right. I’ve got to get honest with myself about why I say “yes” to too much and why I can’t get rid of things I no longer need. This is why I did a 15-day Clutter-Free Challenge earlier this year. Why spend even a minute of our valuable time “organizing” stuff that shouldn’t be there?
So let’s talk about priorities. Knowing your priorities enables you to make right decisions. Most times there are multiple levels to priorities. Let me give you a recent example from my own life. Although I serve God through a national ministry, serving in my local church is a high priority for me. But how I serve is based on my other priorities – mainly making sure my family is my first line of ministry.
We changed churches about two years ago, and rather than jumping right into service, I held back. I needed to make sure I could serve at church and still honor my first commitment to my family. It took a year of faithfully attending discipleship classes (aka Sunday school) and Sunday morning worship before God opened a door for how I was to serve. And it’s a perfect fit for me as I was invited to write a church-wide four-week study to go along with the pastor’s sermons.
In order for me to make good decisions, I have to be clear on my top priorities. Then I have to weigh significant decisions based on how they affect ALL my priorities.
This weekend, I’d like to challenge you to think about your current priorities. What do you value most? What’s important to you? What has God asked you to do?
Is there an area of your life that’s out of serious alignment with your priorities? If so, it’s possible getting that area back into alignment might be one of your priorities. (For example, if being a good money manager is a priority but you are deep in dept, then getting out of debt is your priority now.)
Now, write down all your current priorities. As you write them out, don’t worry about any order. But once you have them in one place, try to list them according to importance. Finally, compare this list with how much time you give each week or month to what’s most important.
Making sure my schedule reflects my priorities is an ongoing challenge for me. And please know, it’s never perfect. I often find myself having to pull back and reevaluate. I’ve also had the experience where I’ve gotten myself so off-course that it takes time to get back to a place of living according to my priorities. That’s okay too. I’m convinced God cares more about my heart to obey than my mistakes. He knows I’m not perfect.
If you’d like to share your thoughts on this week’s assignments, I’d love to hear them. And thank you for joining me today. I’m delighted you’ve made it this far in Melissa’s study. I hope you will keep going. In some respects, it gets easier from here.
Grace & Peace,
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