Prioritizing Priorities

I went on a silent retreat at the start of the year, with the benefit of spiritual direction from a wise priest. I shared my struggle with comfort-zone fears and temptations, and my desire to serve my family better. Super noble, right? In response, the biggest resolution that came out of the entire conversation:

An earlier, consistent, bedtime.

Definitely not the heroic challenge I imagined. Yet when I resisted it a few nights later, the next day I promptly fell asleep in prayer, grumpily pushed off some of my responsibilities onto my husband, and was not the model of motherhood I’d been working toward.

Twas a humbling reminder that whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, there’s a real order of priority written into our natural and spiritual being:

1) God – investing in relationship with Him, aka daily personal prayer, so you can come to truly know and love Him/yourself
2) Self – caring for your mind and body as a sacred temple of the Holy Spirit. In food/sleep, activity, and dignity—so you can learn to love body and soul as He does
3) Spouse – investing in relationship with your spouse in a way that points you both to God and heaven (i.e. priority No. 1) – so you can learn to love your spouse, body and soul, as God does.
4) Parenting – parenting and forming your kids to help them become Saints through teaching and modeling priority No. 1
5) Provision – approaching your job/volunteering as a means to help you and others reach the most important end (heaven, priority #1 ) instead of an end itself.

My bedtime resolution is not for everyone—it’s tied to my season in life, health, and other factors. Yours might look very different… but will be tied directly to what you’re allowing to creep in and bump (or maybe outright steamroll) the order of those first and second priorities of God and self as a Temple of the Holy Spirit. Literally nothing else in life matters more. Salvation depends upon it.

We may deceive ourselves that we’ve found a good ‘balance’ or fulfillment on our own, but if one priority is out of whack, we will eventually spin out. Only when we make necessary changes to seek these priorities—in their proper order—will we discover the lasting fulfillment, joy, security, and peace that we crave and are made for, body and soul.