No one attains a successful life without intentional living. When we set goals according to things that matter, our lives reflect consistency and character that set us apart as followers of Christ. But how do you determine what those priorities should be?
It’s easy to list things we think are important, things we’ve been told should matter. But even good things like God and family become abstract concepts if we aren’t intentional. To live a life of impact, we need to be specific about our priorities.
If you struggle to determine what should come first in your life, here are some steps to achieve clarity.
1. Know yourself.
We like to compare our lives to the lives of others; we look to the left and right, checking our priorities against those of our friends. But God’s call differs for each person, and no two people will have the exact same priorities. Recognize who God made you to be—not who you wish you were or who you are compared to others. You have a unique call on your life—unique gifts, skills and community. Take an honest look at the life God has given you and set your priorities accordingly.
What might these priorities be? If you’re a musician, you might start by prioritizing your personal worship time with the Lord. Other priorities might look like better time management so you can manage practice and family; a certain number of practice hours a week; or regularly exposing yourself to new artists in your genre. Your priorities are as individual as you are!
2. Think about what you loved as a child.
One great way to determine what should top your list of priorities is to think about what you loved as a child. Did you used to spend hours writing in a diary, but now rarely write in the midst of your busy schedule? Put writing back at the top of your list. Perhaps you loved to work with your mom in the kitchen, but haven’t cooked in ages. Make cooking a priority again and you’ll infiltrate your life with joy.
God places passions in our hearts, but the busyness of life in high school and college tends to consume our time and energy. We let the things we once loved fall to the wayside, and start putting urgent things ahead of the important ones. We accomplish what we prioritize. Pursuing your passions won’t happen by accident!
3. Determine who matters most.
When people mention priorities, most people immediately respond with “God and family come first.” We know this should be true, but what does that look like in real life? It’s very important to determine not just what matters most, but who matters most. Yet simply saying “God and family come first” isn’t enough to make lasting changes to our relationships.
Be specific about your relationship priorities. How will you put God first? What will happen if you do? What will you do each day to worship the Lord?
How will you honor your parents? In what ways will you love your siblings and friends? When will you make time for the people who matter?
Answering these questions will help you determine real relationship priorities. As you put “first things first,” your life will fall into a rhythm of order that honors God, blesses people and gives you purpose in each day.