I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, April 11, 2011

Priority Check

I was minding my own business—probably trying to make sense of my own handwriting as my local critique group discussed a member’s WIP—comfortable and relaxed, curled up in the leather recliner that somehow I usually am lucky enough to sit in. Then the eyes turned on me as one of the ladies said, “ ... so Jenness, since you’re the fiction expert, can you explain MRUs for Linda?”

Um, sure. I remembered skimming a blog post or two of Randy Ingermanson’s on the subject. I fumbled through an explanation and hoped they wouldn’t ask about some term I truly didn’t have a clue about.

But I should know all of this. I’m multi-published. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. I have a minor in creative writing. I’m a long-time member of ACFW, have attended conferences and even an MBT retreat. I’m a writer. It’s a part of who I am and directs the way I think. Recently, though, have I been relying too much on instinct and not working to study the craft? To grow?

Maybe I’m not as dedicated as I should be.

Skip forward a couple months. I was minding my own business—probably trying to make sense of my pile of to-do lists at work—enjoying a Sobe Energy and the scent of the candle burning nearby. Then a motorcycle dude entered and (very nicely) began debating theology with me. He referred to one Bible story, and I of course knew which one he was talking about ... but not who played the starring role. Peter? Paul? Philip? Too many Ps in the New Testament.

But I should know all of this. I attended Christian schools from 5th grade on up. I grew up in church and in a Bible-believing family. I was never much of a rebel, unless you count driving around a low-rider in college. :-)
I’m a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. It’s part of who I am and directs the way I live. But ... (big gulp) ... have I been relying too much on past experiences and half-hearted devotional times?

Maybe I’m not as dedicated as I should be.

Besides my family, faith and writing are the most important things in my life. But recently I’ve become lazy or let less important things crowd out the things that should be my top priorities. My calling. My relationship with my Savior.

I'm determined to change that. No more drifting along--I'm ready for some purposeful forward motion.

What about you? Any priority checks in your life recently?

~ Jenness Walker


  1. Purposeful forward motion.
    Three powerful words.
    Which way am I going--and how am I getting there? Am I doing life on purpose or doing life out-of-focus?
    I tend to be more of a "What needs to be done today" kind of person versus a "What's my plan for the year--now how do I break that down into months/weeks/days" kind of person.
    You've given me some things to think about, Jenness.

  2. Ouch. Those were my toes you were stepping on, Young Lady. ;-)
    *Sigh* I need a plan...oh, I have plan. I just need to stick to it. The days I do--get up, spend time alone with Him, pray for those on my calendar (including Ponderers) go so much better than when I skip that part of the day...to do later, only later ususally comes in bits and pieces and I never get that quiet affirmation because my day is already filled with too many distractions.
    Thank you very much for the priority check!

  3. Jenness, you caught me at a season of busy-ness, but you are right, I need to check my priorities. Lately, the things getting done are the next biggest thing on my event/to-do list. Thanks for the gentle nudge to keep my priorities as my priorities, and not let the "good" creep in and usurp the place of the "best."

  4. Jenness!
    Ditto Pat's comment....My toes hurt! Sometimes it seems I'm constantly trying to balance life by doing so many things which 'have to" be done. But really, it would go so much smoother when I place my priority on time with The Father and being diligent to follow the calling He's given me. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. I really loved this post. At the beginning of the year I signed up for OneWord. Instead of making New Year's Resolutions, you picked a word and let it be the filter for all that you do. My word was passion. I want to be passionate about everything I put my hand to...whether it is being a mother, wife, homemaker, employee, writer, and Jesus follower. It seems that I can focus on one area and neglect another. :)

    My reality check was this morning when I went to the doctor and was prescribed a pill for high blood pressure! I'm only 46. Yeah, yeah...I need to lose weight and exercise. I just haven't been very passionate about that area of my life!

    So here's to a new day, a new diet, a new passion for taking care of ME.

  6. Thanks for the reminder, Sherrinda. I too focus on one word for the year: HOPE. Sometimes the busyness of the day shoves my word, and my focus, to the bottom of my To Do list.
    Here's hoping you get passionate about your health--and don't need that blood pressure pill for very long!

  7. Double ouch!
    Jenness, this really hit me at a time when I feel as if my life is being ruled by the "tyranny of the urgent." I haven't done as much writing as I'd like and I've been making excuses. And I've been doing a lot of teaching, but need to ensure that I'm applying what I teach.
    No more! From now on, I intend to be intentional about how I spend my time - in study...in application...and in writing.
    Thank you!

    P.S. And I promise to never again ask you to explain MRUs! ;-)

  8. Sherrinda, I love your word for the year. Like Beth, my word is Hope. And, oh boy, God gives me hope daily.

    I've been allowing quiet time with God to drop to the bottom of my list when it should be the first priority. Jenness, thanks so much for the reminder.

  9. I'm late commenting, Jenness...but, wow, I loved this post because I totally feel ya! Dedication is easy to put voice to, but hard to put into action...at least for this chica! But you've encouraged me...it's never too late to get my priorities straight. (I'm a poet and didn't...never mind...)

  10. Somehow it's easy to write (and gradually forget) New Year's resolutions, but hopefully harder to forget stirring personal heart commitment to the Lord regarding areas He's spotlighting. I'm pretty good now at checking the P's blog daily, and encouraging emails to friends. I don't want to postpone or tune out the most important heart responses of all--but He might want me to narrow them down to one area at a time . . .

  11. Ohh, JP, I needed this. Sometimes it seems like I can only get the next most urgent thing done on the list.

    I need to prioritize better in order to make purposeful forward motion. I love that.


  12. Jenness. Thank you. I'd say that you wrote this just for me, but I can see by the comments above I'm not the only one feeling the check. I appreciate the challenge you put forth to experience some purposeful forward motion, and to always put my calling and my relationship with Christ at the top of my list.

    And thank you to Sherrinda (and Beth, and Lisa), for reminding me that I too chose a word for 2011. Sadly, I had to go back to Beth's January post to remind myself which word I chose. That right there about sums up how diligent I've been in making my word part of everything I do this year. My word for 2011 is ENCOUNTER, and it goes right along with what you wrote in this post, JP. To encounter my Savior, I have to spend time seeking Him! Unfortunately, I say to myself, "When the house is clean and organized, THEN you will be able to concentrate enough to study the Bible and get writing." But the house won't ever be clean enough. Organized enough. I need to remember how Amy showed us to that putting Him first will make everything else fit in around Him.

    As always, the Ponderers get me pondering my walk and my writing. And my priorities. =)

  13. So can you explain the MRU please?