Monday, February 7, 2011

Priorities :: Big Rocks

"Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." 
Psalm 90:12
We all know the story of the rocks in the jar. When you put the big rocks in first, the sand fits around them. But start with the sand, and the big rocks won't fit.

The big rocks represent our big priorities, the sand represents the miscellaneous things that want us to tend to them first.

"Get your Big Rocks in First" E. Tavares

But so few of us actually put the big rocks first, even when we know better. 
  • We place the urgent over the important.
  • We have a hard time saying no.
  • We are influenced by the priorities around us.

I know I fit this profile. Why do I resist prioritizing and following through on the important things?

I think I resist because I am afraid. Afraid of losing rest and margin. Afraid of becoming driven. Afraid I will lose me-time. So I take those things first (Facebook, watching TV with my hubby, taking a nap) and then end up feeling harassed because the big rocks just never seem to fit in my schedule.

My heart has been telling me lately that I am living without margin-with a diminished capacity to be functional, to take whatever comes in stride.

And it turns out by some crazy logic that this feeling of never having enough time to get everything done is a result of mismanaged priorities. (Yeah, not really so crazy, eh?) Because in truth, my priorities determine how much I can get done in the time I have. Stated another way,
Priorities determine Capacity
I pause here for a moment to consider my big rocks, my priorities:
  • God
  • my husband
  • Boo
  • Rooster
  • Lulu (each gets their own big rock)
  • Writing
  • Housework (as much as it pains me to admit it)

It turns out all these big rocks are relational. Writing is my way to invest in others' relationship with God. Housework is my way to create a haven, to improve the life of those who live in and visit my home.

So if I want my capacity for tending to each of these big rocks to be as large as possible, here is the how-to.

The truth is, humans are designed to build our lives around the biggest priority of all.

"For who is the Rock except our God?" Psalm 18:31

The Bible's term for priority = SEEK.
  • "God, I earnestly seek you; I thirst for you." Psalm 63:1
  • "I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray." Psalm 119:10
  • "Seek first God's kingdom." Matthew 6:33
  • "Your [God's] will be done." Matthew 6:10

When God is first it helps me set every other priority in its proper place.

So... if my number one priority this year is to DRINK from the well of God's words, then my task is to examine each day and ask myself:
How will I drink today?
This message stands as one more confirmation that as I prioritize drinking from the well, the me-time and the housework will fit in and not weigh so heavily on my soul.


  1. Wow...I've never heard of that imagery before, putting the big rocks in so the sand can fit around it. How neat is that! I like it. I'll have to do that as a science experiment sometime with my daughter.

    Seriously, though, you've given me some things to ponder on...conviction is good for the soul!

  2. Thank you for this post :) I recently (just last week) wrote a post on Trying to Find the Perfect Balance...hmmm...I think God may be trying to get my attention. :)

  3. I had forgotten all about that story. Thanks for the reminder. I am your newest follower via {in}courage.


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