So excited to be at my first Christian women’s conference, I literally sat on the edge of my seat. Pen in hand and packet in lap, I felt like my ears were particularly tuned to hear the gold that would drip from the speaker’s mouth.
I was a new follower of Jesus. Recently I had declared, “I no longer want to be at the center of my life. Jesus, I want you to be the center.”
I jumped into the Christian life with whole-hearted abandon. I read the book of John watching this “God with us” and praying for the printed word, the living Word, to penetrate my heart and transform me from the inside-out.
I sat in an auditorium with hundreds, maybe thousands, of women and listened. What I came away with was a message I would hear repeated over the years. The message was one of the importance of having your priorities in the right order. And here’s the right order:
- Husband, if you’re married
- Children, if you have them
- Parents and extended family
- School or job
For some reason this list of priorities bothered me.
I was also learning about how to have a quiet time. Putting God as my top priority meant that I would set aside daily time to intentionally read the Bible and pray. So, God gets 30 minutes to an hour every day of time that I set aside to spend with him
But, if God was my #1 priority, wouldn’t that mean that he gets more time than every other relationship, every other task? This just wasn’t possible.
The math’s not hard. If I was giving God 30 minutes to an hour of my day and then working and taking classes 8-12 hours each day, God clearly was clearly not my #1 priority. Work and school got the most time.
And then, once I got married, practically speaking, there was less time for God.
Once children entered the equation, six children within seven years (our seventh came later), it seemed that there was no way that the math could work.
This message of God being the #1 priority had absolutely no relevance in my life. Because if God was my #1 priority, that means that when I’ve checked my obligatory quiet time off your list, I’m on to my #2 priority, and then #3, and so on. Here’s what I learned …
God doesn’t want to be your #1 priority. He wants to be your only priority.
- He wants to permeate your whole life.
- He wants to indwell your marriage.
- He wants to lead you as you parent.
- He wants to show you how to love your parents and extended family
- He wants to guide you in your neighborhood.
- He wants to go with you to work or to class.
- He wants to equip you for the ministry he has prepared for you.
I’m all for having a daily quiet time. I believe that this set-aside time is vital for cultivating an intimate relationship with God. But it’s just the beginning.
Real intimacy with God is cultivated when you stop making God your #1 priority and bring him into every responsibility, every relationship. God doesn’t want to be your #1 priority. He wants to be your only priority.
Have you heard this message of making God your #1 priority at women’s conferences, in Bible study, or in church? How does it sit with you? For me, it wasn’t helpful. It caused me to see myself as a failure because I equated priority with time. And I knew that life would not allow me to spend more time with God than with any other relationship or responsibility in my life. Seeing God as my only priority helped me learn that I can eat, drink, change diapers, do laundry, study, eat, sleep … all to the glory of God. What about you? I’d love to hear! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with me on Facebook, or leave a message right below to start a conversation.