The Tenth Part of a Ten Part Series on Anxiety and Stress Which Began on February 23, 2016
In my previous blog, I wrote that while we can’t control everything, there are four things that we can do to find more balance and peace in our lives. The first was living by faith in Jesus Christ, the second was living by the Word of God, and the next two are related . . .
Third, we need to live according to our priorities.
A balanced life requires priorities in keeping with the Word of God. A priority is defined as something that goes ahead of, or takes precedence over something else. So when we refer to something as being first priority, we mean that it takes precedence over all that we do.
Priority does not mean a measure of time. We should make personal prayer and Bible study a priority, but not many of us are able to spend eight hours a day in Bible reading and prayer. We need to work, and carry out our daily responsibilities and commitments to others. On top of that, most of us need approximately eight hours of sleep. Priority means this will get done, no matter what else has to wait.
Several years ago I made a decision to put electronics aside each morning until after I had a chance to read my Bible, consider how the passage related to my life, and pray. At the risk of over-impressing, or under-impressing anyone, that takes me around 15-20 minutes. Next, I check my emails, pay a bill or two, catch up on the news, and move on to the rest of my day. Most of which takes a lot longer than the 15 or 20 minutes I just spent with God,! But that is still my top priority. It organizes my life. It gives me courage.
We all experience times when we neglect the most important things and give attention to the more trivial and unimportant issues. So while seeking to organize your time and your life, choose the order of priorities that successful people have followed for years: time with God, time with family and friends, time for work, time for ministry, and time for personal recreation/renewal.
Fourth, We need to live according to our Goals.
No person determines or arrives at the important priorities in life quickly or easily. We need to set specific goals that, when followed over a period of time, accomplish our life priorities. Goals represent specific plans we intend to carry out. When setting individual goals or helping others to do so, remember the three simple tests of a good goal.
A goal should be Brief enough to be remembered – Is my goal simple enough that I can discuss it with a friend without referring to notes?
A goal should be Specific enough to be written down – Can I write it down in one sentence?
Clear enough to be achieved – Will I know when I’ve accomplished my goal?
So, a smart person embraces the fact that God is ultimately in control, but also understands that one of the gifts that He has given us, is the ability to lay out a course for our lives. One that brings glory to God, elevates other people, and brings us the satisfaction of success.
Dr James P Porowski Licensed Psychologist Raleigh NC March 17, 2016