Calendar pages flurry past our eyes, ruffling our lashes. Our one life races to its inevitable end, and each of us wants to make the most of it. Wisdom teaches us we can do anything but not everything, leaving us to choose what matters most.
Food. Water. Shelter. Health.
Survival rises as a promising candidate to top our priorities. We must care for our physical well being to postpone death. In order to meet these basics, other needs climb onto the calendar. Appointments, work, home maintenance.
Then, of course urgent tasks tag along. Schedules, commitments, obligations.
The day’s hamster wheel spins faster. When others ask what our priorities are, we pause our frantic run just long enough to retort, “Who has time to make those?”
Whether we intend it or not, busyness bullies its way into our lifestyle. Pressing matters of finances and family tend to chisel out priorities for us. Choosing values and designing a lifestyle around them seems like a luxury we cannot afford.
Our problem with designing life centers upon electing the wrong essentials as life’s foundation. Survival might seem the first matter of business, but it fails as a primary value when prioritizing life. In fact, our most vital priorities do not involve prolonging death. True significance centers life upon more than our own existence and places its highest value on the elements which outlive us. When we establish metaphysical essentials as our foremost matters to address each day, the hamster wheel no longer defines or defeats us. We can dwell instead in a meaningful world. Even when busy, we won’t need to feel overwhelmed by futility.
Faith remains the primary axis for significance. Spirituality exceeds survival and mere existence. More than religion, a relationship with God connects us to what matters most. Without this as a foundation, every effort and value crumbles in futility. Centering each day upon prayer sets us in harmony with eternity. Setting faith as the foremost priority optimizes the function of the rest of our lives. “‘Don’t worry about your life . . . But seek first the kingdom of God[q] and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.'” (Matthew 6:25,33, Holman Christian Standard Bible).
Relationships are the ripples of our impact upon the world. The effect we have upon each person we touch echoes into the lives all those around them. Meaningful connections with others create a mutually enriching symbiosis which acts as the evidence of our spirituality. Blessings enhance the glow of our soul and theirs beyond the luminosity either could achieve on its own. We were designed to share our hearts and our time to illuminate the earth with genuine compassion and support for one another. Healthy relationships endow our life’s purpose with greater meaning than a few breaths on the dash between dates.
I love to browse through glass art and pottery studios. Handcrafted vessels fill the shelves, each one formed for a specific purpose. Water, oil, or flowers–vessels are formed to convey a blessing. Some remain on a shelf while others grow worn by use. Either way, the glass and clay crumble under the destiny of time. We each bear unique potential to bestow our gifts upon the world. The difference between life and existence occurs in the outpouring of our purpose.
Impact beyond self-signature
No vessel exists for its own fulfillment. In addition to pouring our talents into the world, what we share must enhance life beyond our own. Souls with eternal impact share truth, bring light, and point to the significance exceeding themselves. Our present life and our legacy thrive by benefiting those who outlive us. In so doing, our lives matter in a greater context than mere survival.
For life to mean something, you must take it by the horns and live for something more meaningful than putting off death or paying your dues. The next time you prepare your schedule, consider these essentials as top priorities. What are a few things you can shift to put spirituality, connection, gift-pouring, and impact as the prominent features in your lifestyle? Share your tips with us. I look forward to reading your comments.
*Previously posted here in April 2016