Priorities and What Really Matters

In this issue:

Figuring out what really matters can be an emotional process. Learn how to sort through priorities and get perspective, challenge yourself to eliminate unnecessary possessions, and learn about not settling for more – yes, you read that right.




Inspired Life: What Really Matters

In a previous issue, I mentioned that I was going to talk about how to determine your priorities. I once experienced this in a very visual way and I have modified that activity for you to try.

This is going to be tough, but stay with me, because it has the potential to be meaningful.

We often think we have to have it all when it comes to activities and friendships and hobbies. We might think we really want something – like a new gadget or a big purchase. But if we had to lay it all on the line and figure out what matters, it might not be as important as we think.

Sort It Out

Grab six pieces of paper. It can be scratch paper if you wish, but just 6 things to write on. I want you to make the following notes, one on each paper. 

  1. Write “God and my relationship with Jesus.” I will explain this in a bit.
  2. Write the names of your children (if you don't have children, write down the name/names of someone who is important to you.
  3. Write the name of someone who really matters to you. Someone you love deeply. This might be a significant other, but it's up to you and your circumstances.
  4. Write down a hobby or activity that you really enjoy.
  5. Write down an activity that you do that takes a lot of your energy.  It might be good or bad.
  6. Write down something you would buy for yourself if you had an unlimited supply of money.

Imagine that you become terribly sick and the doctor tells you it's serious. You're going to have to give up something for the sake of your health.

Choose one of your papers and crumple it up.

It’s a few weeks later and you can't carry out your normal activities. You realize you must give up something else.

Choose another paper and crumple it up.

Several weeks later, you haven't improved. The doctor isn't sure about your prognosis, but it doesn't look good. You have so much on your to-do list, but you can’t do a thing. But still, you're faced with a choice. You must give up something else from the things that are dear to you.

Choose another paper and crumple it up.

Taking Stock of Priorities

I want you to look at what you have left. Imagine what it would be like if I went through all of those papers. I won't, but when I experienced this activity, I had to get it down to one thing. It was emotional for me.

You might wonder why I had you write God on one of the papers. For some people, God and Jesus really are not part of everyday life, and it’s easy to remove that from the priorities. For others, they believe that God is important, but when faced with a choice, they realize they aren’t sure they can let go of everything else and trust in only him if they get down to the last thing. Sometimes this is an opportunity to ask yourself if you want faith to be a more important part of your life. Would God offer you hope when life got difficult?

 I’m guessing that in the end, you were left if papers that had people on them. What if we really lived as if those things were important?

Spark Change

This is an opportunity for you to consider if you  life reflects what really matters. Are you living out the priorities that you'd want? What would you change about your current schedule if it meant you put people first in action and not just in talk?

What would you change about your work?

How would your life look different if God was really a priority?

Would your faith help you get through a crisis that put life and death on the line?

That’s some heavy stuff to talk about, but it matters so much! What is one thing you will change this week or this coming month that will align your actions with your priorities?


Life, Repurposed: Do I Have Too Much? 

When it comes to possessions, it can also be a challenge to figure out what matters. If you find yourself overwhelmed with stuff, can you imagine how freeing it might be if you could simplify and toss stuff?


In a previous issue, we focused on simplifying, but let’s get a little deeper with the idea and talk about how to purge stuff. Often we have a lot of memories associated with possessions. Or we’ve spent a lot of money on stuff and we feel buyers remorse. Sometimes, we need to make the most of it and just move on. Ask yourself this question: Will I feel any better about seeing this item daily that I regret purchasing at a ridiculous price than I would if I donated it or sold it and it was forever out of my sight?

Sometimes, the reminder of the mistake is worse than just moving on and chalking it up to a lesson learned.

What if you had to get rid of 75% of your stuff? What would you keep? What really matters? If you lost everything in a fire or flood, what would you miss most?

Would You Really Miss It?

Typically, we don’t really miss things as much as we think we will. Imagine what your life would be like if you had only the things you needed and you were not bogged down with excess. It could give you new meaning and purpose!

I find that I’m paralyzed by wondering if I would need the item again. Would it be the worst thing if I discover I could have used it after all? Not really.

Make a list of the closets or rooms in your house and set a goal for which ones to clean each week. If you love to cross things off a to-do list, make some sort of fun chart that you can use to get it done and see your progress.

Find What Works for You!

Some people make chart with a number of boxes and fill a box each time they get rid of something. For example, 50 boxes and you color one in each time you purge one item until you have removed 50 from your home. Some people use the Konmari method from Marie Kondo's magic of tidying up. (Yes, I binge watched the Tidying Up series on Netflix as soon as it came out). A lot of her methods are not really for me, but the principles and the motivation is great). I have not come to a place where I can thank my stuff, speak to my home, or find joy in every single thing I need to keep around me. But that's okay. She has sparked joy and sparked change in millions of people!

Why does any of this matter? Because a majority of us feel overwhelmed and the overwhelm begins with the excess of possessions we own. We ruin relationships over stuff. There is freedom and restoration when we let go.

If you make some changes, please share your progress with me on email or on Instagram or Facebook!

Recommended Resources 

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker [affiliate link]

Joshua Becker says, “Don’t settle for more.”

Most of us know we own too much stuff. We feel the weight and burden of our clutter, and we tire of cleaning and managing and organizing.

While excess consumption leads to bigger houses, faster cars, fancier technology, and cluttered homes, it never brings happiness. Rather, it results in a desire for more. It redirects our greatest passions to things that can never fulfill. And it distracts us from the very life we wish we were living.

The book encourages readers to live a better life with less.

  • Recognize the life-giving benefits of owning less
  • Realize how all the stuff you own is keeping you from pursuing your dreams
  • Craft a personal, practical approach to decluttering your home and life
  • Experience the joys of generosity
  • Learn why the best part of minimalism isn’t a clean house, it’s a full life

Joshua and his wife decided to remove the nonessential possessions from their home and life. Eventually, they sold, donated, or discarded over 60 percent of what they owned. In exchange, they found a life of more freedom, more contentment, more generosity, and more opportunity to pursue the things that mattered most. It's a great read!

Joshua Becker just released another book, this one titled The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life[affiliate link]

Joshua also has Simplify Magazine. You can get a lifetime subscription for you and a friend for a reasonable price.

(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book.This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.

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This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

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