I’ve heard it said many times, both from the pulpit and around the dinner table, that as you age, your priorities change. Things that used to be important no longer are, and things you want to be important start to become just that.
As I inch my way closer to 40, I find myself thinking a lot about the future and what I want it to look like, not only for myself, but for my family. I wonder what our day-to-day will be when I have a teen and not a toddler, where we might be living … and of course, I dream about retirement, too.
Shortly after I had our son, Graham, I was working for a large company, often putting in time on the weekends. I began to struggle with “mom guilt” and felt like my priorities (being a mom and wife) weren’t lining up with where I was spending my time (in front of a computer). This began to weigh heavy on my mind and heart. I knew I wanted to be a partner to my husband and help provide for our family, but something had to change. I was losing sleep and frankly, losing my sense of self.
I confided in a wonderful mentor to me at the time who knew a thing or two about prioritizing her days. That afternoon, I believe God inspired her to help me put things in perspective. Ever so simply and succinctly she said, “Remember Who you work for, Natalie.”
And in that moment, something shifted. It’s hard to describe unless you’ve experienced something similar, but right then and there it was like the earth shook below me and woke me up. God provides jobs and careers so that we may provide for our families … but He doesn’t want those jobs and careers to take the place of our families.
The beautiful thing about our Lord is that He changes our desires. Though we once long for the things of this world (a title, a salary, a this, a that …), the more we abide in Him and keep our eyes fixed on Him, the more we hunger and thirst for Him—above all else. It’s a different kind of longing, a different kind of priority, one that replaces all others.
It’s not wrong to want to grow in your education, your career, your choices in life. God inspires each of us to do just that—but they have their place. When I began to readjust my focus from appeasing my boss to making my days about all that God wanted for me (loving my neighbor, lending a hand, praying for those in need, taking care of my family), the peace that passes understanding consumed me.
The desire to be all that He wanted me to be became my top priority. I longed to be the child that would make Him smile, the one who would please Him as He sat upon His throne. My desire to walk with Him replaced any doubts and fears I had, because I knew He’d take care of everything.
Perhaps you’ve gotten to a similar place in life, where the “big” things don’t feel so “big” any longer. And instead, the small moments have turned into big moments, taking room in your heart that are simply irreplaceable. You know the kind—the cup of tea with a sister who’s going through a hard time; the anointing of an elderly brother in your branch fighting the doctor’s diagnosis; sacrificing your time to teach the children instead of sitting in a pew on Sunday.
These are the priorities, now. These are the reasons we have chosen to follow Him. These are our reminders of Who we work for.
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.