One thing that’s both at times incredibly beautiful and incredibly terrifying about life for most of us in America is how much personal freedom we have to place our priorities in any order that we see fit. The sheer wealth of possible directions to take can be paralyzing.
Our decisions, where we spend our money, time, and resources, show where our heart lies. We can say our priorities are whatever we like, but actions speak louder than words.
I struggle often with my own lack of drive towards goals that I tell myself are important to me. Why am I not more dedicated in my endeavors? Or at least why do I make progress towards some quicker than others? It’s not that hard to answer that question if I’d just be honest with myself. I simply have to look at where I’m spending my time to see where my priorities are.
But forgetting how I order my list for the moment, how -should- I order my priorities? What should I be striving towards as an eventual goal? In today’s politically charged culture, where is the proper slot for patriotism? In following Jesus, where do my own interests come in? And in the process of being -for- something, how can I find a place healthy opposition? Because one thing I’m sure of is that being for someone means helping them be better.
I’m honestly tired of people talking about patriotism being the most important thing to embrace. Nations are made of people. And if you can’t love the people in the nation before the nation itself, you’re plodding along with defective thinking. Living in a nation proud of their free speech, you’re certainly welcome to disagree. But I’m just not going to change my stance on that.
Patriotism that blindly ignores or argues against a differing opinion or worse, silences it, is really unhealthy. It more closely mirrors the places in the world not blessed with free speech. And it places the flag above all else.
A relationship that doesn’t allow you or another to disagree peaceably is probably just as bad. Not listening to each other well enough to call each other out when better is expected leads to a relationship where one side is just feeding off of the other. This will lead to skewed priorities too.
My ideal list probably looks something like:
The actual, working order of that list varies both wildly and often. ‘Self’ pops up in the primary spot way more often than I’d like to admit. But that general idea is where I want to keep my aim. What does your list look like?