I am either really, really good at priorities, or really, really bad. I can't decide. Even after all these years of being a Christian, I struggle.
Why can't God just send me a "to-do" list. I would gladly follow it. But instead, I have an aisle, like in the grocery store, that I must walk down and make decisions. Do I pick canned beans and canned corn. Once I decide on beans, what type do I get--green, wax, pinto, black-eyed? Once I decide on what type, what brand should I get?
And that's what my priority choices feel like every day!
Do I spend time with grandsons, and if I do, what kind of activity do I do with them? Read books, draw pictures, do puzzles?
Then there are the folks who read my books. Should I spend time with them? Answer reader mail, work on website, write in this blog, write the next book (that one would make my publisher happy!)
And then there is me. Should I take a nap? (I've been ill and naps are essential. I nap as often as a cat and curled up in the sunshine is best.) Should I straighten my mess? Really, I am a happier, more productive person when I don't have to wade through clutter. Should I diet and exercise? (Nah, surely diet and exercise aren't on my priority list!)
Okay, so everyday, I'm making all these decisions. Did I mention I don't like to make decisions? I procrastinate.
Now, here's the thing, as Detective Monk would say.
I don't have to make decisions daily. I can set up my priorities based on what God has told me and then follow that guideline.
In Jane Eyre, Rochester asks Jane to go travel through Europe with him, pretending to be his wife. She loves him, but he has a crazy wife locked in the attic. Honest! I'm not making this up. Charlotte Bronte (or her sister) made it up. Anyway, her answer to him is that she won't. (You go, girl.) Because, she decided when she was not under pressure by temptation to do the right thing. And since she had already made up her mind, she didn't have to make up her mind again. She didn't have to decide daily what her priorities are. She only had to act on what she already decided.
Isn't that great? You can decide today, when there is no pressure, that you don't do drugs, you don't have sex with your boyfriend, you don't shoplift, you don't lie to your parents, -- oh you know the list. Then when the temptation comes up, you can say with confidence "I know my priorities and I .. . "
As to my priorities, family, work, and self, I juggle. All of them are at the top and I devote myself to each priority based on that day's needs. After all, God has ordered my days.