I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get confused. I have so many important relationships in my life, but which ones should be my priority?
Sounds like the answer should be obvious, but naming the “right” answer and living that answer out are two separate things. After all, you and I can both name the best order of priority: God, spouse, children, then all others.
However, in ministry, when there is such a focus on building relationships with those we serve and minister with, I often find that there are trade offs. Sometimes, I find that I give more to my spouse. Other times, my ministry relationships or children or God or best friends. It’s a constant battle.
How do I truly put these relationships in the right order?
- Pray in the morning. If you have a family, you know how difficult it can be to have any alone or quiet time at home. The only time I have is in the morning before my daughter and wife wake up. I don’t do this everyday, but I try to wake up early and spend some time with God. This usually means exercising while listening to some praise music or praying for someone for every set I do. Also, take advantage of your ministry setting: go to daily mass. With a toddler, I find it difficult to focus at Sunday mass. Going to daily mass allows me to truly be present to the Word and the Eucharist.
- Limit your screen time when at home. For me, this means that I am not in front of my computer, looking at my cell phone, or watching TV between the hours of 5pm and 8pm. This is prime family time, so I try to be present. I don’t go on Twitter, Facebook, answer texts, look at email, or write blogs during this time. My daughter and wife get this time.
- Walk the halls slowly. This is such an important strategy for me. When I am in my ministry setting, I find it easy to get stuck in my office and not say hello to others. I have to step put of my office and actually walk around. This also means being present after church services and, if you have a school attached to your church, being out front of the school when parents are picking up their children.
- Re-arrange your schedule to hang out with friends. As I was writing post, I got a call from one of my best friends who happens to be coming up to the area for a visit. He told me the date and time. I had no problem making a change to spend time with him. It’s not every day we see each other because he lives southern California. I didn’t care what else I had on the calendar. He is an important friend in my life (and my daughters Godfather). Sometimes, it worth the hassle of a schedule change to show your friends that they are important to me.
As life gets busier, taking the time to re-focus on the relationships that are more important help me stay balance and able to serve in my ministry.
Question: What tips would you share to keep your relationships in the right priority?