I get overwhelmed sometimes.
Maybe you could call it existentialism, maybe you just call it overthinking, but I feel like there are so many things in this life that all seem to be so very important, but simultaneously not very important at all.
It’s so vitally important to maintain great health — eating well, exercising regularly, not ingesting stupid things. But at the same time, I’d eat Snickers all day for a week if it meant that I could do something that I absolutely love doing. It’s important to get a good amount of sleep each night… but when there’s a person in town that I won’t see for a long time, I’d quickly forsake my precious sleep to hang out as long as I possibly can. Its important to be safe… but it’s only the huge risk-takers that truly make the greatest innovations and have the greatest adventures in this life. It seems like everything kinda contradicts, right? Is there really anything at all that’s truly important?
I’m gonna quote a bit from a book I’m reading — It’s called “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown. Such incredible and practical wisdom, and I hope that maybe you can learn a bit from what I’m learning.
So you’re telling me, Mr. Smart Guy McKeown, that “prioritization” and “getting my priorities straight” are all a bunch baloney? That this idea of categorizing things by importance is actually all a fallacy that we’ve all fallen for under the guise of “productivity?” Yes, that’s what he’s saying. And it’s kinda true if you think about it. There’s no way to possibly have simultaneous, multiple “first” things in our lives if everything is at the same level of importance in our lives. That’s really where the whole premise of “keeping God first” gets misconstrued. He desires to be the most important, and requires the first of everything we have in this life… but what exactly does that mean? I’d like to propose a different way of looking at this…
Different areas of priority must live harmoniously, constantly overlapping… but never superseding.
Just as we read above from our friend, Mr. McKeown, we’re only really capable of having one thing of true priority — that thing that is most important. Just as with multi-tasking, we’ve made ourselves to believe that we can “focus” on multiple things at once… but in fact, we’re really just taking small glances at many things, and not really accomplishing much. With this in mind…
What’s most important in one area of life is likely not gonna be the most important in another.
For example…. your discipline of reading and bettering yourself personally isn’t necessarily the most important part of being a professional athlete. Or just how practicing guitar every day isn’t priority in the career of an accountant. Or how learning algebra isn't important in really anything at all in this life (can I get an amen?). There’s an endless list of things that seem to contradict in terms of importance that I’ll leave you to determine. But we’re complex creatures… we’re interested in and passionate about so many things, things that require being made priority to succeed in. How are we meant to go about this?
In a way there’s a hierarchy of priorities in our lives — of the important things, there must in fact, be one most important thing. Perhaps you’ve guessed, but that most important thing has to be following Jesus. But, pragmatically speaking, the goal is to have all of your most important things benefit and line up with all of the other most important things. Lemme explain.
There’s actually a term for this: vertical integration. The most massive example of that is Tesla Motors. Their greatest need is clearly batteries for their crazy, battery-powered, innovative vehicles… the process of making these batteries is very cost-inefficient, time consuming, and difficult when outsourced from another company. So, they decided to make their own batteries, gathering and processing all of the raw materials, creating new processes, hiring their own labor forces, and cutting out the middle man. So, they have their batteries… cool. But guess what. Now that they have the capability to process raw materials, they can then create the structure of their vehicles for much cheaper, therefore innovating the process.
By prioritizing innovation in one area, another area was also innovated.
When we make Jesus the most important priority of all, that innovation, that benefit will seep down into all of the other areas of priority in our lives. The priority of being a great parent will only benefit and thrive when Jesus is the prime focus. Our productivity as business people and creators and innovators will benefit from the most important priority of following Jesus. The simple habits, disciplines, and interests that we prioritize become suddenly SO useful when Jesus becomes the most important thing in our lives. It’s not that you must de-value the things that you care deeply about in order to realign these priorities… it’s simply about putting Jesus back in the place where He was always meant to be.
So, it is true — we truly can have one most important thing… what’s yours?
BIG IDEA: Align your most important things under the priority of the One who is most important.
I pray that in this day, you’ll take a hard look at what you prioritize in your life and really determine what matters most to you. It’s hard to wade through all of the things in this life that are begging to be our truly most important thing… if we’re not careful and intentional about it, there are many things that can easily take that position in our lives. We’re all guilty of letting that role be filled by something less than worthy. I pray that whatever that thing is, you’ll put it in it’s right place and allow the King to assume His rightful role as most important. There’s nothing you can lose from letting Him grow you, strengthen you, equip you, and lead you in every other priority in life… as long as you make Him the most important. You’re awesome, friend. You’re not as bad as you think. I hope you feel encouraged and motivated to make the changes in this life that would truly make Christ proud to call you His. Let His Word transform you by the way that you think, and allow His Holy Spirit to give you the power to make it happen. Keep moving forward, friend.