Day 2: Clear Priorities
Figuring Out Time
Decisions about the wise use of time begin with identifying your priorities in life. Ideally, the way you use time should reflect what you value most in life. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
One of the most powerful stories in the Bible about the relationship between priorities and time is found in Luke 10:38-42. The story involves two sisters, Mary and Martha. Lazarus, Jesus’ friend whom he would later raise from the dead, was their brother. Both sisters loved Jesus, but each demonstrated her love in her own way.
Read Luke 10:38-42.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he
came to a village where a woman named Martha opened
her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who
sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But
Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had
to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t
you care that my sister has left me to do the work by
myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are
worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things
are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen
what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
What was Martha doing during Jesus’ visit?
What was Mary doing?
Which sister did Jesus commend and why?
Martha had busied herself so much that she missed what was most important. Her desires were good, but the outcome fell short. While she was frenetically preparing for the feast of men, she was missing a feast for the heart.
Martha’s more became less.
Mary’s less became more.
Are you more like Mary or Martha? In what ways?
Moving Toward Clarity
Today you will follow a process to identify your priorities and then write a mission statement for your use of time.
Let’s start with a real-life example. Remember Evelyn? You read her story on Week 2, Day 1. She and her husband were having trouble balancing their careers and their family life. We asked Evelyn to sit down and record her activities in a typical day. They included her children’s sports, her and Jared’s jobs, church activities, exercise, and so on.
Evelyn then reflected on what she thought her priorities should be in life. She wrote those down and ranked them:
1. God 2. Family 3. Health
Then Evelyn compared her list of priorities to the way she was using her time each day. The two lists were not the same. Her day told a different story than her heart. Like many of us, Evelyn realized that the life she was living was causing dissatisfaction in her heart. So she decided she needed to make some modifications. She wrote this statement of change in regard to the way she used her time:
In order to make the day reflect my priorities, I will
work only a maximum of two hours overtime a week,
spend 30 minutes daily reading the Bible and praying,
allow my children to play only two sports a year and
have one date with my husband each week.
Let’s go through the same process Evelyn followed to identify your priorities, to evaluate your use of time, and to write a mission statement that reflects your goals for change.
First write what you consider to be the priorities in your life–what you consider to be most important.
Your priorities might look something like this:
1. God 2. Family 3. Health 4. Friends 5. Work
Take a few minutes to record your activities during a
typical 24-hour day, whether you work inside or outside
the home. Account for all 24 hours in 30-minute
increments, including sleeping and eating. For example, it you
work for four consecutive hours, record the time you
worked (8:00 to 12:00), the number of hours worked (4)
and the activity (work).
What does your time log reveal about your priorities in
life? How are you spending most of your time? What
defines your day?
Now compare your daily activities with the list of
priorities you recorded from above. How does your typical
day reflect or neglect your stated priorities?
If you are like most people, your priorities aren’t where you desire them to he. Your heart yearns for your time log to read differently. And that’s good. We were created to live differently. That yearning is your desire to live your life as you were meant to live it, to have your life reflect its proper priorities.
Next you will write a mission statement that reflects your desire to align your use of time with your priorities in life. A good mission statement has the following characteristics.
° Your mission statement should reflect your life
° Your mission statement must he clear and concise.
° Your mission statement should convey an intention to put
it into action.
° Your mission statement should he realistic and
With your priorities and the previous guidelines in mind,
write a mission statement for your use of time.
The simple life means rearranging your daily life in a way that reflects the priorities of your heart. Tomorrow you will identify barriers you need to eliminate to achieve your goals for using your time.