Last week while I was busy doing chores around the house, my first feelings of doubt crept into my mind and heart. I kept on with the laundry and vacuuming, until those thoughts brought me to a halt. What am I thinking? I can’t do all of this and remain sane! I can’t be in school again! I’m not even smart! I should just settle for where I am until we have babies. I can’t take tests for 3 more years. I’m not equipped to be a nursing student… it was endless.
I probably looked like a deer in the headlights when I dropped my scrubber and sat down at the table where my journal and Bible were laying. I slowly opened my journal and wrote down everything that was flooding my brain. I had to fight this off. It was time for battle whether I was ready or not. I listened to a teaching on anxiety and disbelief, prayed, claimed truths about the strength I have in God, gained my stability and then spent a couple more hours organizing my thoughts. The most prominent mind-consumer was priorities.
Before I share what I came up with, here’s a few things to take note of:
→ When: I came up with this list while I was still feeling a little bit vulnerable. It was the perfect time to do this type of processing. When you’re holding onto a heavy heart, you have a clear mind about what is important.
→ Why: You can’t be a blind goal-setter or dreamer. Processing all of these things is showing honesty with yourself. I am not superwoman, and I’m not going to be perfect at this — but if I can remind myself everyday of what is most important to me, I won’t find myself sacrificing those things… I will never sacrifice Mallory.
→ How: I started writing as if these things were in categories, or tiers. Without pressure to put a number value on each one, it was easy for me to get my thoughts out on paper. I ended up easily putting them in order from 1-10 as they poured out.
→ Keep in mind: This list is personalized. I’m sharing it with you to give you an idea of what to think about – but I am in no way claiming that this is an exclusively correct way to prioritize. Everybody is different in what they value, and everybody is at a different stage in life and need to prioritize uniquely. Even my own list is subject to change as life changes. It’s not written in stone. I can think of a myriad of ways this would look differently if it was written 3 years ago.
Without further ado, here’s what I’m prioritizing this coming year, and tidbits on how to follow through.
- My faith – As a christian, I value the growth of my relationship with God above everything else. Daily reading of the Bible & prayer is vital to my mental and spiritual health
- Marriage – investing time in my husband, pouring out love, making sacrifices, constant communication.
- Health and Fitness – Daily exercising, nutrition, meal planning. Without taking care of myself, I cannot expect excellence to be manifested in my areas of influence.
- Education – Studying with an undistracted mind, being focused, making time sacrifices.
- Work – Educating my students well, having energy daily, working well with co-workers, having intentional respect for superiors.
- Homemaking – i.e. chores & keeping the house clean. An organized environment keeps my mind at peace while I work. But it’s not the end of the world if the laundry doesn’t get done on time. (Though I may hear from Michael about it)
- Friendships (And family relationships) – Being intentional with a few people; but recognizing that I won’t be spending a lot of time & energy investing in them during this season of my life. This category does not include Social Media.
- Scholarships – Approximately 5-10 hours per month. Using my application time wisely, staying organized.
- Income – Right now, it’s important to be making as much money as I can before I go into school full time and we operate on one income. This includes taking extra jobs/opportunities as they arise.
- Blog and Social Media – I have to recognize that this is a true time-consumer in my life. Not putting it on this list is fooling myself. Keeping it at the bottom is being honest and helping me prioritize.
I printed this list out on card stock and put a copy in my Bible, one on my mirror, and one in my planner. Based on this list, I have outlined what my 5am morning routine will entail, and I’ve had a lot of peace in my heart ever since. As I enter this crazy time in my life, not only do I want to be the same me, I want to be constantly improving as a Christian, a wife, a student, an educator, friend, etc. Notice how many of these things require daily habits and sacrifices.
Believe it or not, your priorities are what make you who you are. Your priorities help you make momentary, daily, weekly, and yearly decisions. They can either ground you or send you on a roller-coaster. When was the last time you sat down and thought about your priorities? If you’re even slightly uneasy about what the future may bring, I urge you to take some time and process what is most important to you. Find ways to remind yourself of these things every day. Priorities require attention, time, and sacrifice, but they are what matter in the long run. And you never want to sacrifice your future.
For the sake of brevity (hah), I’ll leave you with that. Please leave a comment or send me a message if you have questions or concerns, or need a jumpstart to setting yourself straight. I’m happy to help.
Until next time,
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