Editor's Note: I am not claiming, by writing this today, that I do all these things. This is a list of things I WISH I could get right daily.
When you get your priorities REALLY straight you realize:
2. Family (your spouse, kids, and your parents/in-laws. Period. Family beyond that has their OWN family to support them--love them like crazy, but tend to your own.)
Anything you plan that involves all three groups is likely a blessed event. When you seek love, by spending time with those in this world who love you best, you are better able to spread that love around.
Make an extra effort to spend time with God every day and you will find Him showing up in the daily activities you do. Spend less time and see if the Devil doesn't find his foothold.
When you find yourself grumpy about doing something like laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, or carpooling, remember WHO benefits from your efforts. Your actions show love to those around you. That is true, even if you never hear a "thank you" from those who benefit. If you don't believe this, try NOT DOING your chores for a couple of days!
When your to-do list fills with things that don't seem to matter, put them up against the list. Do they benefit God, your family or your friends? If yes, proceed. If no, are they taking beneficial time away from God, your family or your friends? If so, dump those activities off your list.
Learn to say "no". Say it often. Practice in front of the mirror, if you have to. Remember, by saying "no", you are giving someone else the opportunity to say "yes".
If someone refuses to hear your "no", do what is right for God, your family, and your friends. Don't be pressured into doing something because someone else thinks it is a good idea. But, balance that with trying to love people who can't, won't, or don't understand your priorities.
When you have a chance to say "yes" to God, pray and proceed. Again, an opportunity to do good doesn't mean that opportunity was meant for YOU. That's what prayer is for.
Attend church weekly. Or more often, if you can. You live 168 hours every week. God asks for less than 2 hours of that time in his house and for one, 24-hour-day, of your week to REST. Do your best to rest.
It's all about the time. Not about the color of the decorations, or the weight of the invitation, or the perfect cake. It's about talking, sharing, and being together. Just being is all that matters. Because being together communicates love.
Learn to communicate with those you love. Figure out how to talk politics or religion or parenting skills without offense. Accept differing opinions and attitudes. But NEVER compromise on what you believe is right by God. Listening and trying to understand those we love communicates love, not acceptance of their opinions as your own.
When in doubt, err on God's side, as you see it. If you have doubts, see if scripture backs up your thoughts. If it doesn't, don't hesitate to reexamine what you believe. Prayerfully.
Ask for forgiveness. From anyone and everyone you offend or hurt. So many people will never know what it means to be asked for forgiveness in this world. It is a humbling experience to ask and a humbling experience to respond. If you are brought to tears by asking, you probably needed to ask in the first place.
When it comes time to go home, you aren't going to be worried about who will get the retirement account or the fur coat or the collection of comic books. You will be doing a mental checklist of the PEOPLE. And being sure they know you loved them. And being sure you were loved by them and by God.
If you don't believe love is all that really matters, talk with anyone who has been with someone who is dying. Time and time again, love is all that matters.