How can it be possible that we are already half way through January 2015? It seems like it was not too long ago that I was making plans for Christmas and the New Year was still a month away.
By this time in January, either the new habits, goals, or plans I have made for the New Year are going well or I’ve abandoned them completely. I’m happy to say that so far the habits I am trying to adopt are working out. And, I am seeking peace and pursuing it like never before.
That’s not to say that I’ve had it easy these last few weeks, though. It has been difficult at times to stay focused and to be diligent in what I have set out to do for myself this year.
I have decided I need a concrete plan to help me live out my priorities this year. Even though I’m doing much better in staying focused on my goals and priorities, I do get sidetracked and need to be reigned back in.
Maybe you are in the same situation. You had great plans to accomplish a lot this year, however you are already distracted by many other things that are taking your eyes off of what is most important.
I’ve come up with a three step plan to help me live out my priorities this year. Maybe it will help you, too.
Before we can live out our priorities, we have to decide what those priorities are. When I’m trying to decide what should be most important in my life, I check these three sources:
- Communication with God through prayer and studying the Bible
- Communication with my husband to understand his thoughts for his own priorities and our family’s priorities
- Communication with my calendar to see what I’ve already committed to for the year
I know that if I don’t first communicate with God, nothing is going to work out well. Or, at least as well as it could. Seeking His will for my life should be the most important thing.
Also, knowing what Steven has planned for his life and what he thinks our family should focus on helps me to plan and take care of what needs to be done for our family.
I have some commitments that are made months in advance such as serving on a committee or board, being involved with an event, or attending events I’ve signed up for.
Beyond the habits that I’m trying to adopt and pursuing peace in my life, I’ve decided my priorities this year are serving and encouraging women through this blog and other writing opportunities, participating in distance races, helping my family through the process of building a new home, being actively involved with the committees or boards I’ve committed my time to, and taking care of my family.
Once we know our priorities, we have to commit to them. It does us no good to say we have priorities when we don’t take the time and discipline to protect them.
I have a great example to share about this. Just this morning I received a call from someone asking my mother and me if we would be available to help decorate tables for an upcoming fundraiser. My mom is great at this and is known in our church for decorating tables for different groups and events. I, however, am not. It’s not that I can’t do it, it’s just not my thing. So, I told the lady I would speak to my mom about it but that she is not in good health at the moment and may not feel up to it. (This is the truth. It’s not an excuse!)
After I got off the phone I began to process the conversation. Even though this might be fun to do, I knew I needed to run this through my mind to see if it made sense for me to agree to it at this time. Immediately I discovered that the date she had given for the event was in conflict with another commitment I had made months ago. Then I realized that my mom’s health would probably preclude her from helping. Finally, the event would be happening the week I return from the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I knew that I would probably be in no shape to decorate that week.
So, after processing all of the realities, I came to the conclusion that this is not something I need to take on at this time. In the past, I most likely would have said “yes” without thinking through all of these things. Now that I have a standard for determining my priorities, I have a safe guard and an easy way to say “no.”
Living out our priorities is a daily thing. We are given many opportunities to stray from our priorities each day. It is up to us to know our priorities and commit to living them out.
For instance, the Disney Princess Half Marathon is a little over four weeks away. I have to be diligent to mark out time to work out enough so I will be prepared to finish the race successfully. This means writing my workout times on my calendar and sticking to them. When I get a request for my time, I need to make sure it does not interfere with my workout.
Also, just like the example of decorating tables, I need to be ready to say “no” to requests for my time that just don’t fit in with my priorities as a whole.
CAUTION: Sometimes God brings “interruptions” in our lives to stretch us or move us in a new direction. Make sure you have prayed things through before you completely close the door on and opportunity.
I’m excited about 2015. I know God is going to do big things in my life, and I know that He is willing to do big things in your life if you will let Him.
What are your priorities for the year?