Because life is a series of edits

Why “Priorities” Are Not Always Helpful

In Calling, Family, Health, Thought on July 30, 2012 at 7:28 am
Prosser Clock
Earlier last week, Megan and I were sitting at the dinner table talking about our family's fall schedule. One of the things we try to do before each school year is formulate what we call our "default schedule" – that elusive weekly calendar which, if not otherwise interrupted by life, represents our ideal "normal" state of existence. Perhaps you do a similar thing…or perhaps not.

All of us are called to be good stewards of the time God has given us, but when we get down to it, our struggle tends to be not as much a matter of time management as it is of priority management. This sounds simple enough, but our culture does us a disservice by pluralizing the word “priority,” confusing us as to what our “priorities” are. When we talk about our “priorities,” we’re talking about something that doesn’t make sense—the nature of priority is singular. We are only able to have one priority.

Is it really true what the commercials say, that we can have it all? Unfortunately, no, we can't; we have to choose. Theologian J. Oswald Sanders wrote, “We are as close to God as we choose to be, not as we want to be." How to choose wisely? The first step may be as simple as taking the time to ask the question (I'm currently considering this in a 2-part series, "Beating Busyness," at Docendo Discimus if you'd like to read more).

Megan and I end up having the time/priority management discussion multiple times a year…a quarter…a month…a week. Probably like you, we've wrestled with what we do (or should do) for 15 years now, but we've hardly perfected the process – life is just so complicated and messy. Still, we know it's an important discussion to have, so we try to give each other grace (again) in the midst of it; thankfully, God does as well.

As you think about the coming fall and your family's schedule, let me encourage you to consider your family's priority (singular) and how that influences your weekly calendar. Cull through your agendas, your expectations, and your guilt-trips and figure out what's really driving what you and your family do. You might be surprised by who's in charge…or Who isn't.

(Clock photo courtesy of Matthew Prosser; used by permission.)
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