The Biggest Challenges Men Face: Reordering Priorities

In this series about what I believe are the biggest challenges for most men today, I indicated that all challenges and problems come from our pride. I also suggested that the multitude of issues and challenges generally fall into these three categories:

  • Managing Work-Life Balance
  • Reordering Priorities
  • Resisting Temptations

So while your deep and serious struggles with any issue may require professional help or counseling, I believe that simply joining a support group or confessing your struggles to your close, authentic friends –what I call God Buddies, will also help in your battle. 

In the first post of the series on Managing Work-Life Balance, I stated that particular challenge was not necessarily unique to men but that we generally are defined more by our work-related accomplishments and job titles than our female counterparts. 

The next category is Reordering our Priorities, which is also hard for guys.

Let’s first start with a definition.

What is a Priority?

Webster’s Dictionary defines a Priority as “anything that takes precedence in order, rank, or privilege.”  It’s a preferential rating, especially one that allocates rights to goods and services usually in limited supply.

Like prioritizing our time between work and family life!

Dilbert Comics by Scott Adams

A priority is also something given or meriting attention ahead of competing alternatives. We make a choice whenever one thing is regarded as more important than another.

Like staying late at work instead of spending time with our family.

Or watching TV over reading your Bible.

Or trolling Facebook instead of taking a Great Course on learning about your hobbies.

Are Your Priorities Wrong?

Here are three crucial questions to ask yourself.  More than anything else, these three questions will help you discern our current priorities:

  1. What do you think about? For example…Do you think about work while on vacation?  What are your most frequent daydreams? What comes to mind while you’re sitting in church or with your family?
  2. How do you use your money? For example… Take a quick inventory of your “stuff.”  Think about the last 30 checks you have written. What priorities do those reflect?
  3. What do you do with your time? For example… Aside from addressing life’s necessities, what do you do with the hours and days that make up your life?  What do you do when you have free time? How much time do you spend on the Internet or Facebook or TV every day? 

Go ahead. Ponder those for a minute. Write down your thoughts to each of those questions.

As I wrote about in one of my earliest posts titled Why I Needed a God Buddy, God became my “Priority-Shifter”.

I was hit with a proverbial 2×4 to get my attention to rethink my priorities. I needed to put my pride from a growing career aside for a bit to reorder my priority of working so much to more important things, like the three-legged stool of my family, my health, and my faith.

Here is how that came together.

Be Here Now

One of my employers conducted a company-wide culture-shaping training that gave our entire organization a great principle: Be Here Now. 

Dr. Larry Senn

Dr. Larry Senn, the founder of Senn Delaney Management Consultants, writes that understanding those three little words has greatly enhanced the cultures of many organizations and the lives of countless people and their families.

So what does this phrase mean?

Simply put: Be present. Stay in the moment. Focus. Pay attention. Stop multitasking. Stop what you are doing and listen. Quiet your busy mind. 

I can now suggest that understanding and practicing the Be Here Now principle will not only enhance but improve your entire life!

Seen believes that there is only one important time which is the “Now”; the present moment is the only one in which you have dominion. The most important person is always the person with whom you are present, not those in the past, or still to come in the future. It is those right before you who deserved your undivided attention at that moment.

Be Here Now… in Practice

Shortly after the aforementioned corporate training, the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan were in the midst of a run of 6 NBA championships in 8 years. I rarely missed seeing a game on TV since “Air Jordan” could do something on the court we have never seen.

I made watching the Bulls games a priority. 

Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, Ron Harper, Toni Kukoc

One evening, my wife came home from a volunteer meeting after I had put our kids to bed and I was watching the Bulls game. Rather than the obligatory, “Hi honey. How was your meeting?”, I shut off the TV and turned directly toward her when she sat down next to me. Needless to say, she was shocked. 

I made her my priority. 

“It is essential for you to remember that the attentions you give to any action should be in due proportion to its worth, for then you won’t tire and give up, if you aren’t busying yourself with lesser things beyond what should be allowed.”

– Marcus Aurelius (121 AD – 180 AD), Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher

The God Buddy Principle

Properly ordering your priorities on the things that are most important is probably the most important thing you can do in your life. 

Remember those three questions from earlier in this post?

Let’s answer them from a different perspective: from God’s perspective. 

  1. What do you think God wants you to think about?
  2. What do you think God wants you to do with your money?
  3. What do you think God wants you to do with your time?

An important step is that you get together with a God Buddy and discuss the differences between your initial answers about your priorities and how you might answer the questions now from God’s perspective. 

So do your priorities align with how God would want you to answer those questions? 

What can your GB do to help you reorder your priorities? What can you do to reorder your priorities?

With improperly ordered priorities, you are also open to excessive stress and isolation which leads to more opportunities to be tempted to sin.

So read next week’s post to see how your God Buddy can also help with the third category: our challenge of Resisting Temptations.


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