The Shortlist

We have too many options nowadays in our drop-down menu world; and with them comes the addiction to heap on more and more so that we can “experience it all.” Truthfully, in our quest to have it all, we dilute the purity and goodness of the things that matter most. There’s only so much time, affection, money, energy, and devotion to expend; and it’s easy to wind up with a whole cartload of mediocre instead of a balance that leaves a wide berth for the excellent.

Have an honest conversation between yourself and God about those 4 or 5 highest priorities (or the ones that should be, if they’re not). What’s on your short list of life priorities that cannot afford to be anything less than excellent? Now empty everything else out of the equation except those things. Only begin adding back other pursuits into your basket to the extent that those few key elements can remain excellent. Whatever else goes into the mix can be any size or shape as long as it doesn’t compromise those things which can’t afford to be watered down. Know this: you’ll run out of room and will have to make some choices, and they won’t always be easy. Some elements will be seasonal, some constant. The list moves and breathes and is organic. Yeah, you’re right—this is hard! You’ll have to recalibrate that balance often and fight to keep your priorities in order. At times you’ll feel cheated for having to keep that list narrowed down (if you’re in the habit of comparing how many holes are punched in your experiential dance card), but you won’t have sacrificed the integrity of what really matters just to see how many ways you can squander those unrecoverable moments of your life.

Just remember that you can have an overflow of cheap and worthless, and be the envy of your friends who measure success and happiness according to quantity; or you can sharpen your focus on those elements that carry forward into eternity and live a truly balanced (and may I add, JOYFUL), right-priority life. It’s interesting that Jesus will say, “Well done” to the person who’s faithful over a few things. Maybe within the entirety of that passage is a hint that less really is more. Ask Him for help as you whittle away at those non fruit-bearing pursuits. Don’t let anything steal the shine from those things that matter (or at least should) the most.

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)


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