Where do your priorities REALLY stand?
If someone were to ask me what my priorities are, my answers would be fairly altruistic. I would probably rattled off a list that included my faith, my family, my work and my friends. I’d imagine your list would be pretty similar.
Now, what if, instead of asking for your self-reported list of priorities, I looked at where your money goes and where you spend your time. Would the two lists look different? I know mine would.
A pastor at our church shared this idea with our home group one day and suggested that we could gauge our true priorities by following the money and looking at our schedule. I might say that faith is my number one priority but is that where the majority of my money and time go? I would have to say no. The majority of my money goes to rent, food costs, and debt repayment. The majority of my time is spent working or watching TV with my husband. Those are not easy things to admit. I would love to be able to write that we give more than we spend on any other category in our finances and that I spend more time deep in the Word than I do watching the Bachelor. Unfortunately, I can’t say that and I imagine I’m not alone.
Truly looking at your priorities can be a painful process but it is an absolutely necessary one. It helps you refocus and recenter on God and His plan for you. If you want to assess where your priorities lie, consider these ideas:
- Identify your priorities – What are those ideal priorities you would like to have? Setting goals for the short-term and long-term can help you develop these priorities as habit. And don’t forget to pray over these! God will direct you in what He wants you to do.
- Track it – If you do a monthly budget and/or are a meticulous calendar organizer, this will be pretty easy. The idea is to take an actual look at where your money goes and where your time goes. The first time my husband and I did this, specifically with our finances, I felt like the wind was knocked out of me when I realized we were barely tithing 1% but making all sorts of unnecessary purchases. The goal is not to feel guilty. The goal is to create awareness.
- Create a plan – Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t go from not tithing to 10% overnight either. Create a plan for how to refocus your time and resources to fit the priorities you want to achieve. Look at your long-term and short-term goals and decide what steps you can put in place to start moving in that direction.
Your priorities may not be where you want them to be. But that doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. Once you have recognized where you currently are, you can then start moving toward where you want to be.
Rebecca Huron is the Director of Development and Community Management for Body & Soul Fitness.