How to Figure out What’s Really Important

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February 18, 2013 by Will Ray

What’s really important to you?  This may seem like a rather simple question.  It is, ultimately, but life gets in the way sometimes and clouds those priorities.

How do you put it all in perspective, so you can realign your priorities with what you really care about?

Soon after I started work at church directing the youth ministry, I had to take on the task of “vision casting” and planning a long-term strategy for our group.  What kind of ministry did I want this to be?  More importantly, what kind of ministry does God want this to be?  What should this ministry look like, and be about?  Balancing competing programming demands became a real challenge.

I had several discussions with friends and mentors about it along the way as I was wrestling internally with this question.  One helped me put it in perspective by asking a simple question:

What if all of it was taken away?

What if all the “stuff” in your life – money, possessions, toys, gadgets, homes, clothes, and even some relationships – were suddenly gone?  What would you have left?  What would you do?

When I really asked myself that question about our youth ministry, I came to the answer of what matters – What would we do if we didn’t have this gym, youth cafe, these leaders, this sound system, these video projectors, etc. etc.? – What if all of it was taken away?

Answer: If it was all gone, we would still sit at the feet of Jesus.  Being with Him, learning from Him, growing in Him.

That very revelation guided how we developed our programming.  That’s how we said “yes” and “no” to various things; that’s how we determined our priorities and where we were going to put our time, effort, energy, and money.

But this isn’t just specific to ministry.  Ask yourself this in your own life.  What if all of it was taken away?  What would I have left?  What would I do?

You might have a revelation of how shallow your life is – it’s happened to me before.  But that question will burn away all the extra junk that’s clouding your priorities, and help you see more clearly what’s really important.

Try it sometime.

Question:  What’s some of the “stuff” that has clouded your priorities (now or in the past)?  Feel free to comment!


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About me…

Youth minister, financial coach and part-time wedding photographer, based in Raleigh, NC

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