First Things First
I don’t like to start negatively, but it’s time someone told you the truth. You are not accidentally going to live an amazing Godly life. As a matter of fact, (probably because we live in a sinful/fallen world) humans do not default in to greatness. The natural course of things is entropy, the gradual decline into disorder and chaos.If you are going to be the women and men God has called you to be, people who live in the fullness of grace and truth and love, who produce the fruit of the spirit, the only way that it is going to happen is if you do it on purpose.
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Steven Covey teaches habit #3 – putting first things first. In his illustration for the chapter, he shows us that if we prioritize the “big rocks” that everything else will fit around them. This is a really great illustration. You can Watch hime teaching this lesson at conference in the 1980’s by clicking play in the video above.
There are limits to this illustration though. Some might mistakenly believe if you prioritize the big rocks, magically everything else will get done. This is not true. Big rocks or not- there are still only 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week. Prioritizing your big rocks will give you the ability to not waste all your time doing things you don’t care about.
Imagine if you could make sure there was time every day, every week, every month for you to work on the things that are important to you. That’s what first things first means, that’s what big rocks is all about.
Defining The Big Rocks
Big Rocks are more than just important things that demand your attention right away. Big rocks are really about you living your values. For example; relationship with God is a value, family is a value, altruism, health, romance, beauty, intelligence, education, creativity, all these things are values. No one but you can determine what is important to you. You decide those things. The Key here is making sure every day you have set aside time to focus on these things.
Later this week we will teach you how these values work with your calendar, but for now let’s focus on determining what your values are.
First I want to tell you that your values have to be real. These should be things you actually care about not just things you think are a good idea. Don’t say you value exercise if you hate it. Don’t eat kale just because some hipster is trying to convince you its food and not a garnish. What are the things that you really respect and admire? Values are not things we think are good ideas, they are things that are so fundamental to our person that if we fail to live them our life is in chaos.
In order to help you focus I want you to think about people you respect. What is it that you respect about them? Is it integrity, is it creativity, talent, independence? You respect people because there are things about them that you desire and value. Write those things down somewhere.
What about things that you hate? What are issues that make you angry. Typically things make us angry because they violate something we value? Justice, freedom, order, cleanness, quiet.
This week write down at least 5 things that you value. Are you making those things your priority?
No Direction is a Problem
I cannot stress enough how important it is to live your values. I have seen it a thousand times ministers find themselves doing things that are not aligned with who they are (values), and what they are called to do. These are the ministers that burn out, that have marriage problems, and ultimately have to leave ministry. If you are not determining the vision for your life, your ministry, or even your schedule, someone else will. They will use your call and your time to accomplish their agenda. Most of them will not do it on purpose, but when you give that kind of control to someone else it will cost you big time.
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”
― Zig Ziglar