Sometimes in life, it’s easy to get off track. There are so many things competing for our time and attention. Emails, social commitments, hobbies, volunteering at church, etc. How do we keep ourselves focused on what’s important? What IS important?
What Was Important in the Beginning?
I was reading the very beginning of the Bible the other day, which describes the story of how God created the first human beings. I was struck by the story of Adam, and the things he focused on. I think this story can help us figure out the aspects of life that are most important. In the story, Adam focuses on three things:
- Work. Adam didn’t sit around and play prehistoric video games. He worked. He had important tasks (e.g., tending to the garden, naming all the animals), and he did it. His days weren’t empty or filled with unimportant luxuries. He worked, he worked consistently, and he worked hard.
- Relationship with God. Adam had an intimate relationship with God. He talked with God like a friend. He walked with God in the cool of the garden. Adam’s connection with God was an integral part of his life.
- Relationship with others. In the second chapter of Genesis, it says that it wasn’t good for man to be alone. Everything God created was good, but something was still off. Adam’s work and relationship with God wasn’t enough. Adam needed person-to-person connection. So God created Eve.
Created to Work
Work, relationship with God, and relationship with others. Adam focused on these three things, and I think we can apply these priorities in our lives as well. First, we were created to work. It’s a good thing to go to work every day and accomplish something. If you don’t have a job, focus on getting one. If you hate your job, think about how you might improve your work situation, or go back to school. This doesn’t mean your job will be perfect. You don’t have to “find your calling.” But you do need to work every day. It’s part of how we are wired.
Created for Relationship with God
Second, relationship with God is important. If you aren’t religious, this may not apply to you, but I think it can still be helpful to think about your relationship with whatever it is you consider Sacred. It’s important to recognize that you aren’t the center of the universe, and the universe is bigger than you are. Make sure you spend some time every day cultivating your relationship with God.
Created for Relationship with Others
Finally, we were created for relationship with others. We weren’t meant to do life on our own. We need community. We need others who we can do life with. For most people, this includes having a primary committed, intimate, sexual relationship with a spouse. This is important and a good thing to pursue. But beyond that, it is important to spend time and energy developing your relationships with family and friends.
Back to the Basics
If you are struggling with your focus and feel yourself pulled in a variety of directions, maybe it’s time to go back to the basics. Work. Relationship with God. Relationship with others. If an activity doesn’t line up with one of these priorities, it might be time to let it go.