Who sets your priorities each day?
Is it your emails? Your texts? An overwhelming to-do list filled with tasks that probably should be done by someone else?
I can relate. For so long (and honestly, sometimes still do), I felt helpless to take control over my schedule. It seemed I moved from one task to the next, wondering if I was making the best use of my time.
In a world where so many people have access to us, with so many requests, it can be hard to identify the priorities God has assigned us.
Today in my Encouragement for Today devotion, I promised to share some questions that help me decide God’s priorities for me at any given time. These questions must be asked prayerfully, and the answers must line up with God’s Word.
As you’ve probably figured out, priorities change. So my answers these questions have changed over the years.
These would be good questions to write in a journal or notebook and answer during the next week. To answer these effectively, take time to pray before you start. Open your heart to hear the Lord and His voice. Quiet your heart and just listen. Then ask yourself:
1) What can only I do? There are some jobs in my life no one else can do. For example, no one else can nurture my personal faith in God. I am the only wife my husband has. God has given me five children to mother. Plus, no one else can eat the right foods or exercise for me. Those four areas of life (plus a few others) are no-brainers to me, and will always be at the top of my priority list.
2) What has God entrusted to me? We’ve all been entrusted with something – a certain amount of money, a home, talents and intelligence. God has given us spiritual gifts and natural talents. Some of us have paid jobs and volunteer responsibilities. The Bible calls us “stewards” of what we have been given. It’s good to make a list of what God has given me to manage.
3) Am I a good steward of what I already have? This is where I do a painful assessment of reality. How am I doing with what God has already given me? Are my finances a wreck? Have I neglected my husband? Have I honored my parents? God is always watching to see how I’m doing with what He’s already given me. When He sees I manage things well, He entrusts me with more. When I’m neglectful, the opposite happens.
4) What passion (or dream) has God put in my heart? Perhaps this dream is buried in your heart, but it’s there. When we are submitted to God’s plans for our lives, and those dreams don’t contradict His Word or character, we can be confident God placed those dreams in our hearts for a reason. For years my dream was to write a book. Now God has put a desire in my heart to reach out to my sisters in the UK. I don’t know what this looks like now as God is still refining this dream. It might be writing. It might be traveling and speaking. The dream is still in its infancy.
5) What has God asked me to do that I haven’t done yet? Ouch. This is a hard one. It’s likely there are things we’ve put off that God has called us to do. My guess is you know in your heart what this might be. It might be calling someone you’ve offended and apologizing. Sharing your faith with a neighbor. Or writing that book you said you’d write. (Even though God gave me the dream to write a book, I procrastinated on it for years.)
I once heard this statement, “Old orders are standing orders.” Meaning, if God asked you to do something years ago, and didn’t revise the directions, He still expects you to do it. It’s never too late to be obedient.
These questions have helped me identify God’s priorities for my life. The next step is to determine if my schedule is in alignment with these priorities. But that’s another blog post.
Thanks so much for joining me. And if you haven’t signed up to join me for the free Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study of my book, Taming the To-Do List, I hope you’ll do so today. It starts September 8th. Click here for more information.