Putting God back in the center again

Some time back I ran across a totally different concept of prioritizing that stuck with me. I couldn’t find the original post or graphic, so I created my own to share with you. (If you are the original creator of this type of graph, please feel free to share a link in the comments with your name so I can give credit where credit is due.)

I’ve read many times that priorities should not be entailed by a lengthy list. I’ve seen quite a few people state that when they sat down to determine their top priorities, they kept it to a maximum of three or four. Anything more than that and things tend to become muddled. Or so they say.

I personally find it difficult to narrow my priorities down to so few. How can I, when I have so many responsibilities? (And could this be the reason why I can’t seem to find balance so much of the time?)

My priorities should look something like this:

image

Except the problem is that I get so scattered and focused more on one thing than others. And it becomes a jumbled up mess.

image

God gets pushed to the back burner. Sometimes He even gets stuffed in the fridge, like cold leftovers. So sad, but so very true. Priorities start to overlap each other. Little things become big. Big things become miniscule. Important matters are forgotten.

I keep God at bay. Tell Him I’ll be back for communion later. Not now, God. Later.

I lose myself in the process, too. So busy with other things, I neglect self-care. Then I become frustrated. I wonder why nobody values me as much as I think they should. Perhaps this is because I stopped valuing myself as much as I should.

All because I lose my balance.

So how do we keep God in the center of everything else? Where does that balance come? How can we make sure He is Lord of all and above all else? Here’s what I think, and what I’m working on for myself right now:

Step 1: Begin the day with God.

When I open my eyes to greet the dawning of a new day, God must come first. The best way I’ve found to do this is wake up before everyone else in my home. These first moments of a new day are the most precious time I’ve found. Sometimes I’ve simply meditated on His word before I even get out of bed. Other times I get up and pray while the coffee brews. No matter what way I find to do it, I must start each day with God.

Step 2: Seek His guidance. In everything. Before every decision.

This one is tough for me. I’ve always been the kind of person to research, ruminate, and determine the best way to go on a decision. Not the wisest method. I must fully place my trust in Him, always seeking direction from Him before I step out in action.

Step 3: Keep God first in all things. All day. Every day.

Fact is, I have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to keeping God first in everything I say and do. Staying in tune with God means being in tune with Him at all times. Not just first thing in the morning. Not just a quick breath of thanks before a meal. Always. On my way to the grocery store. As I discipline my children. While I’m sorting laundry. He is everywhere and if He is to be everything to me, then I must put Him first in all things.

Other interesting & informative articles on setting priorities:

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Comments

  1. OK, WHY won’t your Like button work? FIX IT so I can share with others!!! :D

    Anyway, I love this, not like it. I’ve made such a habit of beginning my day with God that it feels weird when I don’t. Like today, in a hurry, no time, and then I felt off. So, time to be with God!

    • Sorry! I don’t know what’s wrong with it. I’ve had to upgrade that plugin several times so maybe that’s what’s wrong. :( I’ll see if I can figure it out. At any rate….thanks! :)

  2. I had one that was totally wonked. Had to go find another and install it. It works great.

  3. So true. If we keep God first and start the day with Him first, everything else falls into place where it should. It really is an all day relationship. :)

  4. I happened upon your site by following a FB link Angela shared.

    I’m a 64-year-old woman, and I wanted to share something with you, Dear.

    I often read or hear people speak about not putting God at the center of their lives, as you’ve demonstrated in your chart above. And I find myself shaking my head because the point is being missed.

    Let me tell you, Hon, you ARE putting God first! You just don’t see it. We have this image in our head of what ‘putting God first’ is, but we miss it. We think we’re supposed to be sitting around meditating and praying and reading God’s Word all the time and beat ourselves up because we aren’t.

    Hon, you are LIVING God’s Word and don’t even recognize it! Look at that chart! You think you are putting your family before God. But look…you are taking care of your family, doing things for them, providing for them, nurturing them. Church…you are contributing your energy to the needs of the church. Others…again, doing for them, encouraging them, being a friend to them, probably helping them when they’re sick, filling in some of the lonely times… School…preparing for a career to help others…to teach…to make a difference in the lives of others…to be a positive influence.

    Heaven is where we’re going to spend all eternity worshipping at God’s feet. But now, there are needs to be met, and we have been delegated as God’s hands and feet. We care for the sick. We tend to others’ needs. We do things in our church to help promote its work to a lost and dying world. We encourage one another. We provide companionship. And, yes, washing clothes, cleaning house, reprimanding children, spending time with them. Teaching children and setting positive examples for them.

    Are not these things a necessary part of this life God has placed us in? What is love? We know God is love, and we know that God PROVIDES OUR NEEDS. He is our companion, our encouragement, our hope, the filler of our lonely days, our healer, our comforter, our teacher… And look at how Jesus spent His time here on earth! Yes, He did take some time to be alone with His Heavenly Father, but He actually went about doing good MORE than kneeling in prayer. He went about and spent His time tending to the needs of those whose paths crossed His. If you think about the four Gospels, consider exactly how Jesus spent His time here!

    God created us to worship and GLORIFY Him. He created us to love Him and to love OTHERS as well. What is love? it is caring about the well-being and needs of others! It is using the God-given talent and ability we have to meet the needs of others, whether it is ministering to them spiritually or to their physical needs. Washing your family’s clothes IS, when all is said and done, a means of glorifying God. You are taking care of…meeting needs of…those God has placed in your life to love. Cooking a meal. Running errands for your family. Baking a cake for a family who has lost a loved one. The list is endless.

    The problem is, we don’t see it. We want grander things to do for God. We even feel guilty doing them, as if we are taking time from God. Yet, he placed all these people in your path TO TAKE CARE OF…TO SHOW LOVE TO…TO CARE ABOUT and FOR.

    Spending quality time with loved ones or friends or even a stranger IS meeting needs. God created us to need one another and the companionship of one another. We are supposed to be interacting with one another. In so doing, we are helping HIM because He has promised to meet our needs. We forget that He uses the hands and feet of His creation to do it! Yes, He could supernaturally place dinner on the table, since eating is a need we have. He could supernaturally clean the house or wash clothes or such. But then He would deprive us the experience of expressing our love to our family by doing these things for them.

    Yes, pray. Yes, read and meditate on God’s Word. We do these things not for God but for ourselves and for our relationship with Him. Yes, in these ways, we do express a measure of love toward Him, but He also desires that we love one another. Love is more than an affectionate feeling. It is caring for and meeting the needs of others.

    As a parent, we love the time our children spend with us, but does it not bless us to see them expressing love toward each other as well? If we see one of our children doing something good and helping a sibling, does that not bless us to tears!

    Satan has deprived us of the joy we can gain from expressing love through the things we do…things he has told us are mundane and wasting time.

    I recall one time becoming so frustrated that my husband asked if I could run an errand for him one afternoon. I was employed then and only worked 1/2 day on Fridays. The afternoon was ‘my’ time. And there he was imposing on it! God straightened me out about that. My husband had no time to run the errand. He was working to support his family…an expression of love toward us. By running the errand, I was being given the opportunity to express love toward him as well. When I realized that, I did it joyfully because I was meeting a need he had. Satan wanted to deprive me of that by lying to me about it.

    And when we are doing these things (dishes, cleaning house, running errands, etc.) do we not have the time to meditate to God as we do them. As we do dishes, do we not have the time to say a quick prayer of gratitude that we have dishes to wash? That we had food to eat? A roof over our head? As we do clothes, are there not prayers we can offer up then as well? Are these not times when we can offer up God’s Word and meditate on it? We have a roof over our head…thank you, God, that you shelter us. We wash clothes…thank you, God, that you have given our children strong bodies.

    We just have mindsets that things are supposed to be so formal. I rarely just sit and pray, but rather throughout the day, I offer up a quick prayer. As someone pops in my mind, I might offer up a prayer for them. And then I might turn around and call them or drop an email to them.

    So, you see, Dear, all those circles you think are smothering God on your chart are actually an extension of His love…not smothering Him out. As I read them, I saw that you are blessing Him and honoring Him and glorifying Him and worshiping Him because you are extending His love to others and simply going about your life being His hands and feet and mouth… Just as Jesus did. He turned water into wine for a wedding. He healed. He spoke words of encouragement and hope. He provided food and other needs.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I hope you don’t mind an old woman offering another vision of your life as she saw it.

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