Wow this summer has been crazy! One thing after the other. We have just been going, going, and going. It seems life has a tendency to do that as we get preoccupied with sports, kids, family, work, and friends. All of those are good and important for our lives. However it leaves us with making decisions on our time and where we are going to be.
It seems for many people church often loses out. I understand completely! In this day and age where too many times churches are sitting in pews instead of living the message of peace and justice in Christ, or so we think. I also know getting your family up and around to go, managing and keeping them somewhat quiet during the service, and rushing around for lunch before nap time creates a tense, chaotic Sunday morning. Somedays you ask yourself wouldn't it be easier to just cut that out of our lives and use it for whatever else we need to get done. I mean what would we really miss?
Immediately after thinking a thought like this I see the faces of those who I know and consider my church family. I think about the love and prayers given for my family that I will never even know about. I hear the precious comments made by my children as they learn about radiating kindness to others and allowing everyone a place at the table. It is in these relationships where God is put first, where we can share openly about our struggles, that my family is formed with compassion, love, and kindness.
The blessings we receive from this community is beyond measure. The Community of Christ I know goes even further beyond just the city I live in because of the connections made throughout the world.
So let's look further at how we prioritize our lives with what's important and how being a part of a church community brings blessings on our faith journey.
Prioritizing Our Life
How do you prioritize your life? What's important for you? What currently rules your life? What do you need to put in or cut out? It seems too often we allow our lives to get out of control with us doing things that may be good but may not match our values or desire to do them. So how do we live our values with the events in our lives?
Mary Morrissey speaks below on how she has learned to prioritize her calendar to fit in the things that match her values and desires. Check it out as I found it very helpful.
Here are some value worksheets that you might find beneficial if you need to hone in and discover what you really value in life. The first one is one created by Stephanie Frank and can be accessed by clicking here. It specifically breaks down principles and qualities to help you figure out exactly what decides your life. This PDF from The Happiness Trap also has various value worksheets you can put to use. I like page 3 and 5. One other option is this personal values assessment worksheet which helps you narrow down your 5 main core values.
Many times figuring out our priorities also means we have to make tough decisions. We have to decide what is most important for us, our families, and others. There are a few techniques that you can use to help you with this.
1. 10-10-10 Rule - When you have to make a decision is it important to think into the future a little. How will you feel about this decision 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now.
2. Be Less Certain - Most of the time we are confident in our decisions which is good however its important to revisit your logic to make sure you are looking at every angle. Being less certain of the decision helps us reevaluate every angle to know all the perspectives. It makes us obtain information to expand our knowledge instead of just jumping in.
3. How Often Does This Typically Happen? - When looking at potential alternatives its important to also think about likelihood. Has this happened often in the past? What is most likely to happen? This extends our perspective to understand probability.
4. Post Mortem - Especially with new ideas, projects, etc. its important to look at what circumstances might stop, kill, or end this endeavor. This helps you understand the pitfalls or things that may come up through the process so you can work to avoid them.
Taking Time For Our Spiritual Life
Everyones values and priorities are different. This means some will have more emphasis on securing time for their spiritual life and others will not. I think the added benefits of taking time to develop our faith magnifies the other areas in our lives. Every month we have a post about spiritual practices in hopes people will take the time to find out what works for them. Spiritual practices enhance our connectedness to the divine. But our faith is so much more than just our personal time spent with God.
I believe faith is to be lived out with others. Its the relationships we have with others that creates sacred community where we uphold compassion, belonging, and worth of all people. This is why scrambling around on Sunday morning or setting aside time to be with others in a faith community is vitally important.
One of our past posts "Extending Our Faith" specifically talks about how church is more than just a building. If we are to truly grasp the hands of Jesus than we must be in the community with others. Sometimes this is serving meals, listening to a friend, or worshipping with people that are intertwined with your faith journey. Having a group that helps you ask questions and forms your faith is imperative if we are truly live the gospel message. Jesus traveled with others! He could have went alone however he distinctively chose to be with people!
Community of Christ has an enduring principle of Blessings of Community. This principle emphasizes that the gospel of Jesus Christ is best lived in community life with others. This may be in solidarity with the poor, marginalized, or oppressed or creating communities of Christ's peace wherever we find ourselves. It is an understanding that we are in this together and even though I may have never met you, you and what you bring are a blessing. I love it because the concept changes who we are and how we interact with the world. It makes us throw away judgments and listen to the spirit that is ever present in the person right there with you.
Difficult decisions will always be in our midst however blessings of community await whichever way you go. You just have to decide. Where do you want to spend your time? What values do you hold? I pray that you may find balance and peace with the decisions before you and experience the great depth and awesomeness of living your faith with others.
I appreciate all the positive comments given about our blog!
This week take one of the value worksheets above to figure out your personal values.
Craig Hidy like the majority of ministers in Community of Christ is a bi-vocational, self sustaining ordained minister. He is a member of the Midlands Mission Center Emporia Team and an ordained Seventy. He and his family, live in Topeka, Kansas.
What is a Seventy?
The Seventy carry out missionary work for the church in close association with other missionary leaders. They represent Christ primarily as ministers of evangelism through witnessing, inviting, and church planting. They especially proclaim and promote Jesus Christ’s invitation to faithful discipleship through vibrant witness, and train individuals and congregations in witness and invitation. They particularly minister with seekers, individually and in groups, to share the gospel in relevant ways and to invite response. They support sacramental ministries by preparing people for baptism and/or confirmation, presiding at sacramental services, and performing most sacraments. They promote community by inviting individuals, households, and families to respond to Christ’s call to discipleship. They promote justice and peacemaking by inviting people to experience all aspects of Christ’s peace through active discipleship. They create ministry partnerships with mission center officers, apostles, elders, and evangelists.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.