Life tends to throw us rolls of punches in the form of heavy work, pressure, problems, conflicts and arguments. Because of this, positive psychology teaches us to focus our energies on the good things and be happy.
“The truth is, whenever tasks need to be accomplished, there is the temptation to make the task you are doing, more important than the people for whom you are doing the task.” -Tom Holladay
Special thanks to Tom Holladay for his book The Relationship Principles of Jesus.
Not to downplay this type of ‘happy’ thinking, but personally, I found this mindset temporarily relieving but emotionally stifling.
For example when Adam focuses on work, does over time and skips meals because he feels fulfilled and rewarded for it and at the same time evades his wife, Susan’s sermons. There is something wrong. And then Adam defends, “I’m working hard to provide for you and to pay the bills”.
I encourage you today to think of what the most important thing is for you. And why do you do it? If the reason why you do, involves another person, then I urge you to think about this: Does that person appreciate it? If on the other hand, it only involves you, “Is it worth-it?”
If not, then I want to share with you what I learned today.
1. Build Relationships.
Before we get caught up working hard in doing things for someone we love/value, first get busy with building your relationship with him/her.
Whether you are a parent who wants to make up for lost time with your child, or a teenager wanting to make amends with your parents or a business owner who wants to try again, build relationships first.
The problem is, many times we forget the more important things because the lesser important things can also be a source of happiness / fulfillment. In Adam’s case, this is why he spent more hours at work while Susan waited and felt unloved. He failed to see the bigger picture of what Susan had offered, can offer, and will offer compared to work.
If we just continue to focus on what makes us happy (work. sports, hobby) because of its temporary gain, we inevitably sacrifice the more valuable blessing given us: relationships.
So I ask you, what is the most important thing for you? Your answer will determine and direct your priorities. Understand that if you make work your first priority, there will not come a time when you’d feel it’s time to stop. When your first priority is sports, there will be nothing more important than winning. And when your first priority is God, you will prioritize your relationships; Him first then others.
Why? Because when Jesus was asked by one of His disciples what the greatest commandment is, He answered in Matthew 23: 37-39:
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
3. Start now.
Seek first His Kingdom first, and all things will follow. This does not guarantee a smooth ride, but it guarantees a life of purpose, meaning and bonded relationships.