One of the biggest lessons I have learned recently is to be mindful of what my priorities are. What is it that I put first as the bearer of my happiness? What do I put before other things that are important?
Think of all the times we think: if I could just get that car, or job, or house, or relationship or here’s a big one, money, then I’d be happy. We often seek happiness in things and people. We are human and it is normal to want better things for ourselves. However, be aware of your priorities.
I’ve definitely been guilty of this. I’ve been known to put relationships or my significant other above even myself at times. By putting my significant other on a pedestal, I often am blinded by other things that I need in my life to be happy. Women, especially, do this. We tend to put our boyfriends, husbands and even kids before our own needs.
Another example of something that often takes priority over our lives is money. We think if we can make more money and buy more things we will have freedom and happiness. To an extent this is true, but to another effect this can be self-defeating. I understand we need money to survive and provide for our families and ourselves, but loving money over our self and even our creator is a recipe for disaster.
When I started to pay attention to these types of things I was putting first in my life, I started to realize that by shifting my priorities, I was able to make some pretty radical changes in my life. When I moved from material things and other people to fill me with happiness, I realized they were only filling a tiny portion of what I really needed to be happy.
Instead, I started to put God, my higher power, before all. I started to read the Bible more often, pray more often and really set aside time to learn more about Him. Then I started to practice thankfulness for all the things I already had instead of focusing on the things I wanted. I mindfully made notice everyday of everything I had to be thankful for. These two shifts in priority and perspective have created profound changes in my habits, thoughts as well as in my attitude overall.
I have found that I am happier by focusing on these two things, which actually fill me with more happiness than any relationship or material thing ever could. I’ve also noticed that once I started to focus on God and practicing gratitude, the other things I “wanted” just started to come naturally. Instead of focusing all my energy and thoughts on things I thought I was missing, I focused on what I already had to be happy about.
I know for some of you, when I talk about God, it scares you. I get it. I used to be in your shoes. I didn’t understand what it all meant. I thought it was overwhelming to try to read the Bible. I didn’t understand how these stories could possibly be true and questioned if I even believed in someone who created the entire universe one day by breathing it into life. I understand that you may feel uneasy or turned off by these parts of my writing. I want you to know that I appreciate your opinion and in no way am I trying to force anything on you. I just want to share what has worked so miraculously for me. And I’m here to tell you that it IS all very real. He is real. If you can just keep an open mind as you read and think about my suggestions, I promise it will become less uncomfortable with time.
With that said, putting God first before everything in my life is what has changed me, wholeheartedly. The love I have in my heart for Him and the ways in which I seek to learn more about him is unmatched. The closer I try to get, the more I learn and it breeds a peacefulness that I can’t even put into words.
Think about when you fall in love with someone. There is nothing you won’t do to see that person. We spend hours on the phone talking and texting. We’ll spend any amount of money to get on a plane to see that person. We wake up and fall asleep thinking about them. Often times they are all we can think about and talk about. We write them notes and cards professing how in love we are with them and we can’t wait to tell every person we talk to about our new love.
What if you could apply this same type of love and infatuation with your creator? For some of you, this may be speaking so loudly and you are right on the same page with me. If that is the case, I encourage you to go closer. As He says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
If that is a hard concept for you at this point in your life, then perhaps you could focus that kind of attention on being thankful and acknowledging all of the goodness in your life, every day. When you start to really think about all the things you can be thankful for, you see that it far surpasses things you feel you are missing in your life. Focus as much attention to those things as you would for a new love. Give it a try and think of all the things you can express gratitude towards. Your health, children, a roof over your head, a job, even if it’s not your dream, your friends, your family, your pets, that you have people who care about you and I’m certain this list could easily continue.
Make a change in what you put first in your life. I know this may be hard for parents or spouses, but even if it’s just for today, try to put God and/or your thankfulness first before everyone and everything. If you can shift your mind to making one or both of these a priority, you will witness shifts in your life. The more effort you make to change your priority to this on a daily basis, the more miraculous change you will also start to see in your life. Happy prioritizing!
“The more you are grateful for what you have, the more you will have to be grateful for” -Zig Ziglar
Photo Credit: The Bridgemaker