I want my life, my thoughts, my time, and my energy to be spent on things that matter. Yes, we all have varied interests and opinions on what those things are, but for the most part, many people arrive at the same conclusion of what matters most: People. Others. Those we love and care about. Then, perhaps, the causes, concerns, and work we care about; but really, people are behind those things as well.
I’ve been reminded of this during the “40 Days of Love” sermon series at my church as we look at 1Corinthians 13 and really get into what it means to love others and to live in “continual view of heaven,” as my pastor, David George, puts it.
For me, faith is the connective tissue between all the joints in my life. My relationship with God is active in how I relate to my husband, my kids, and my work – like a well-trained athlete’s body that moves with agile grace, or like an integrated web that binds and connects me to all that truly matters in my life.
So what do we do about the plethora of opportunities in this world that we are bombarded with that don’t really matter, or are not aligned with your life’s mission? If only there was a simple litmus test for each new thing that crosses our path in order to conserve our time and resources from the get-go. And where does fun fit in? Vacations, useless movies, shopping for things we don’t need? What about relationships with people that don’t add to, but perhaps even take away from our lives?
I guess that’s why setting boundaries for ourselves (and others) is so critical. If we don’t shore up and protect what things we value most, it’s far too easy to get sucked into that vast dark void that is a wasted day, week, month or even life. Often this waste comes not from underperforming, but in over-achieving and being over-committed.
What matters most to you, or what do you think should matter most but doesn’t because you are being selfish (sometimes this is hard to admit, but oh so true)? When was the last time you took stock?
Here are 3 steps to help you on your path to creating a life that matters:
1) Write a short, but clear, mission statement for your life that includes caring for the people that matter most to you.
2) Make a list of the 3-5 things you want to be doing every day (this should include caring for people, like your family) – you may or may not be doing them now.
3) Make a list of all the commitments you have right now.
Now, compare the two lists and see where they match up, and where they don’t.
Then, evaluate how to reconcile these two lists: You can choose to cross off commitments that are currently on your list and put together a plan to delegate these items to someone else, or simply bow out of them altogether.
Once you’ve done this, put a plan together to follow through with changing your priorities to be in line with your ideal commitment list. Schedule personal prayer time; schedule a date with your spouse; make a point to talk to your children face-to-face; call that friend that you’ve been meaning to connect with.
Whatever your priorities are, actions always speak louder than to-do lists; if you say your relationship with your spouse always comes first, but you always work late, are you being true to your word? If you say your kids are your top priority, but you’re constantly irritated by them, there’s a gap in your two lists somewhere – I can attest to this.
Lastly, in yesterday’s sermon, Pastor George talked about being the type of person that others enjoy being around. He gave an example of someone who knows it all and has no humility – this person is not affable. But the person that has something to learn and is humble, is the person that has many friends.
“Stand in between the humility of what you DO know and the humility of what you DON’T know – this make you a pleasant person to be around.” – Pastor David George, Valley Springs Church
I hope that today, you make the choice to spend your time being the person you know God wants you to be and that you aim your life to be someone who positions yourself to do “something that matters.”