I find it amazing, the older I get, how much my priorities change over time. From the superfluous priorities of my early twenties and late-teens to even the ever-changing day-to-day priorities of today. What does it mean to really value something or someone?
I’ve come to realize that it means radical commitment. It means dedicating yourself, your time, your thoughts and just about anything else to one thing. Or two things. Or three, whatever. The point is, you can’t physically prioritize everything. And I’ve come to realize that we prioritize orally quite different than we do practically.
If you asked me what my priorities were, off the cuff, I would probably give you a list that went something like: My relationship with God, school, my community, my
friends family back in Jersey, blood and otherwise.
But am I being really honest here? Are these for real my priorities? Dr. Christopher Hall, a professor (among other things) at Eastern University, would tell us to look at our last 10 days to find out what our habits are. What we really value. Don’t think about what we want to say they are or what we believe them to be, but look at how we’ve spent our time in the last 10 days. Here is where you will find that which you truly treasure.
So what are my real priorities? Looking at the last 10 days I would say what immediately comes right to mind are school, sleep, convenient meals, iced coffee, NPR, & internet tv streaming to name a few. Probably also family & friends in a compartmentalized fashion.
And some of that’s appropriate. I mean, my semester started on the 14th and week 1 I’ve already found myself behind, missing some message board postings and journal entries. I need to remove myself from just about the rest of my life because I am just way too easily distracted. I need the note on my door that says “If closed please do not disturb.” I need to not spend my entire night on the phone calling all of my closest friends, as much as I’d like to.
But on the other hand, I need to add a dash (or seven) of intentionality to my life. I am not pursuing God the way that I want to. I’m doing a sub-par job at the closest thing I had to a resolution, which was to talk with my best friend once a week. My real priorities and my assumed priorities are all out-of-whack.
But knowing is half the battle, right? Knowing that to find my treasures, I look at the last 10 days, and that’s where change can seep in. That’s where we can take a moment and be honest, at least with ourselves, about who we are.
I am a girl who values comfort, ease, convenience, things that work the way I expect them to, people who respond in a way I expect them to.
I want to be a girl who values time, people, and God. That is who I want to be. I think some of that list I initially wrote is not mutually exclusive to this one. But some of it is. I cannot complacently attempt to change my priorities.
I have to radically change my inherent value system.
I have to be willing to commit to my values in a way that is indicative of the way I supposedly value them. I have to, in effect, marry that which I value. I cannot casually date them from time to time and hope that one day it turns into what I want it to be. I have to radically commit my time, energy, thoughts and comfort to this reality. I have to offer up my own ideas of how things should or could be and I have to openly receive the truth of how things must be. I have to unplug. Turn off Twitter. Stop thinking about tall boys to marry. Stop pinning. Stop obsessively watching seasons of The Office. Stop putting off assignments ’til the last 24-36 hour period. Just stop. I’m going to make myself sick if I procrastinate this semester. Next week starts the THIRD week of class and I’ve already gone to school before 7am to do work that was due that day. That’s crazy.
I am committed to my studies. But I need to commit all the way, not just mentally. Because it’s no good for me to do things last minute and hand in a paper that gets me the grade but isn’t the best I can do. I need my experiences to be nutritionally sound. Fast food is no good for me and neither is fast work.
So I must change. I must be different. I must radically commit to the things I love. I must put others before me, my writing and research before me, others’ comfort before mine. I must make space for God to speak into my life, to encourage me, to teach me. It is not a given experience. Like a marriage, it will only truly benefit me if I give it everything I’ve got. It is not something that happens through osmosis.
I didn’t really have an outline for this post and it went in a different direction than I originally intended but I’m going with it.
I’ve been listening to Dr. Hall’s lectures this week and am excited to go through them. It’s been a year since i’ve taken the class and I’m excited to revisit his wisdom with new ears and a willing heart for commitment. I’d encourage EVERYONE to listen to them. They are truly a gift from Eastern University to the rest of the world.