If I were to ask you to put in order from most to least priority, the following aspects of your life, how would you arrange them?
1) Friends 2) Faith 3) Hobby 4) Family 5) Work 6) Significant lover (spouse etc)
Please take a moment now to complete this little exercise. Many of us with a religious upbringing would say that our faith is number one. Or maybe we know that this is the answer we are supposed to give, but aren’t . If we have a significant lover in our life, (spouse, boyfriend etc.) most of us would place them somewhere at the top of our list.
Now draw up a simple weekly timetable and sketch in the time you would devote each day in a usual week for all of these things. Highlight them or colour them in, but be sure you can see a pattern clearly and obviously from a glance. Do this on your own, and be honest with yourself.
I don’t know how your weekly timetable looks, but when I did this in my own life, the priorities I had weren’t really my priorities. I found myself spending more time at work and enjoying my hobbies more frequently and more easily than I made time for my wife Madeleine or for God! Although my work is my ministry, it can never replace the time I give to God in prayer and personal spiritual development. As an evangelist, I lose my credibility if I stop seeing myself first as a child of God and student.
When I did this little exercise I realized that I “say” and “think” that God is my priority, but my schedule didn’t match this idea in my head. Recently I have been making the effort to get up early and go to the gym, or for a run, or a hike. It’s easy to prioritise exercise when that’s my personal passion and interest. However, do I jump out of bed with the same enthusiasm to go to an early morning mass, to spend time after mass reading scripture, or praying the rosary? Do I get home with the same enthusiasm to encounter my wife with loving interest after a day at the office or trip away? Again, although she is what I “say and think” is priority, my life fails to always adequately express this on the outside.
Talk is meaningless unless it is perfected through our actions. We make time for the things in our life that are important to us. We move things around our schedule to ensure we have time for those things. We all seem to have time for the things we truly love. Very often we use the excuse that we don’t have time to do the things we know we should do, like prayer, or a date with my spouse or quality time with my siblings. Instead of saying I don’t have the time, we should be more honest and admit that we lack the love to do what we know we should do. Let us all take an honest look at your weekly schedule. Do not despair over its possible inconsistencies, but rather ask how you can place the things at the top of your mental list, to the top of your daily life!
What are your priorities? They are what you choose to make time for each day!