“Listing My Priorities”
By Amy Carroll
Hi. I’m Amy, and I’m an obsessive list-maker. ￼
Recently I did an inventory of all the lists I had around my house.
There was a list of people to call back on the whiteboard attached to my refrigerator. A list of movies I’ve missed and want to watch lay on the kitchen counter. Still in the kitchen, I found a menu list, and stuffed in my purse was the grocery list.
Upstairs, next to my bed, was a list of books I hope to read some day. Heading up to my loft office, I found 3 lists on 3 separate legal pads of to-dos for each hat I wear in my job.
When you add the inventory of my lists as a list of my lists, you can see…
I’m such a sick list-maker that I write tasks on my lists I’ve already accomplished just for the pure joy of checking them off.
Can I get a witness?
I’m truly a task-driven girl. If people fall into categories of “be-ers” and “do-ers”, I fall definitively into the “do-er” group. Finishing a task gives me a little rush … but it’s just temporary. Almost any task you can list—laundry, blogging, cooking, cleaning the toilet—must be done and redone. As soon as one list of tasks is finished, another list begins.
Completed tasks hype me up, but they don’t fill me up. People fill me up.
If I’m not very careful, I begin to believe the opposite, and my people get reduce to obstacles to my tasks. Instead, I want to be more like Jesus, our Jesus who connected with people wherever He went.
In Jesus’ economy, people always take priority over tasks.
On the way, Jesus stopped to touch lepers, to dine with tax collectors and to teach women. He was an extraordinary example of accomplishing His mission while prioritizing the people He came to serve.
I have people in my life I’m called to serve too. There’s my husband who needs me to close my computer and give him a true welcome when he returns home. There are my boys who still need their mama to listen to their stories of the day at school even though they tower over me now instead of sitting on my lap. My friends need my full attention as we walk through the hard days of parenting teens together.
So I want to let Jesus set my priorities, and He’s made them really clear.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus says to us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
There will never be enough hours in the day to complete all our tasks, but we’re all given the same 24/7. The question becomes how we’ll prioritize those seconds, minutes, hours, days and years. It’s easy to throw out, “But I just don’t have time to … sit and listen, stop to play, pause to put on a band aid, love….”
The truth is that the way we spend our time reveals our true priorities.
In the end, I don’t want to be known for completing my lists. I want to be known for loving God and others well. So I set time aside for needed tasks, but following Jesus, I’m learning to prioritize people. That’s the most satisfying “Check!” there is.
Amy Carroll’s passion is living the untied life. She loves to see women freed into the matchless pleasure of deep relationship with God and others. Amy is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ speaker team and the blissful director of Next Step Speaker Services. She lives in NC with her 3 favorite guys and a little, red dachshund. You can find her on any given day typing at her computer, reading a book or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner. Visit Amy at www.amycarroll.org and find out more about her speaker coaching at www.nextstepspeakerservices.org.