You know that little voice that whispers so seductively in your ear.
They would be so happy if…
You’d be a hero if you only…
If you don’t do it, who will…
And you know what God says follows pride? A fall.
Pride always pushes me to do more. Nothing gets me closer to capacity than having a mile long To-Do list filled with things my pride decided I could do or should do.
Because pride pushes us to do more, we can easily lose our focus. When we stop focusing on what is eternally important, temporal requirements pile up and we end up falling out from the strain of it all.
Living chronically close to capacity increases the chance of collapse.
Priorities Not Pride
But when I use my priorities to decide, I’m reminded of what is most important. So, I take a pause and ask myself a few questions. Does the commitment I’m considering support my first priority of having a loving relationship with God? Will taking on this extra task positively or negatively effect my family? Will this one more thing on my To-Do List be the one that makes me fall out?
Usually the answers to these questions are fairly straight-forward. The tricky part comes when my pride argues that I’m loving others by adding that one more “good thing” to my list. And God wants me to be loving. Doesn’t He?
The key to discerning between pride and priorities lies in mining our motives.
Are we attempting to please others by our actions or are we loving them as an outflow from a pure heart filled by God?
When we choose with pride, we become so busy doing that we have no time to be. But when we choose with priorities, the overflow from our being enables us to accomplish all the doing.
What pride complicates, priorities untangle.
This is the gist of what Jesus told Martha when she became stressed out by all her doing. She was upset and worried tending to dinner preparations while her sister, Mary, sat at Jesus’ feet. Part of me wishes Jesus would have told Mary to get up off her butt and get to work, but that’s not what He did. Instead, He praised her choice. Mary chose being with Jesus, and it was not taken from her. What Martha was doing wasn’t bad, but it distracted her from what was best and left her stressed.
Making decisions based on our priorities ensures we will always give our best to those things which are eternally important. I have found that when I live my priorities, I suffer from the effects of stress far less. Being filled up by what is best, prepares me to accomplish the rest.
Deciding with priorities untangles the MESS of holiday stress.
“Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.”
For more insight on untangling the mess of holiday stress see these other posts:
Part 2: Fix Your Focus
Part 4: Fill Up Before You Fall Out
Part 5: Restore with Regular Rest