I wrote the article in the picture for Missions Mosaic several months ago – actually long enough ago that I had almost forgotten about it. I sat down to read the article and wondered where I had read it before – and then realized that I wrote it. Can we agree that it must be related to all this chemo fog?
But the timing was great because I’ve been thinking a lot about my priorities versus the priorities that are imposed on us (and that we then impose on ourselves – because let’s lay the blame where it actually lies).
In the magazine article, which I wrote last July, a full five months before my cancer diagnosis and eight months before it was published, I listed my priorities in this order:
- My relationship with God.
- My family and home.
- My writing.
- Ministry opportunities.
Reading the article and reflecting over the past few months, I had to ask myself, has anything about this changed for this season, and what might change about this list in the future?
Here’s the thing, the world – and even the little evangelical Christian section of the world in which I reside – values advancement. Advance yourself, advance your ministry, put yourself out there, the world needs what you have to say/do/think. And while I certainly believe that if God is genuinely calling you to a big task you should answer Him with a resounding “yes,” I have to wonder if God is really calling every single one of us to a bigger ministry, a bigger platform, a bigger outlet.
In the days before blogs and social media made it easy for everyone everywhere to put their ideas on public display, before “platform building” was a common topic, people advanced because they had something of value to say or had a talent worth sharing, not because they had amassed an Internet following for their Twitter account.
It’s easy to get caught up in this way of thinking. You don’t have to spend much time on the Internet to find lots of people encouraging us to think this way, and trying to justify their words with God-talk. It’s especially easy to buy into the idea of platform-building when you do something for public consumption, like blogging.
I have always been uncomfortable with this line of thinking, and the last three months have only solidified my belief that, more often than not, this is not how God would have me steward my life and my time.
Which is a long way around talking about how chemo and cancer have impacted my perspective and my priorities.
My perspective, which is informing my priorities, is this: God is calling me to live my life, the one He has generously given to me in Owensboro, Kentucky. He is calling me to live and witness and serve today within the boundaries that He has graciously placed around me. If He chooses someday to enlarge those boundaries, then He will do it in His time, and not because I am seeking to grow my own audience.
So, right now, my priorities are God, family, health, and then everything else when I have the energy (which is extremely limited). When we get past this cancer diagnosis, I’ll have a chance to sort out the “everything else.”
Limited health and limited ability have been a frustrating struggle. Letting things go, letting others take charge of some parts of my life, has been difficult. But it has reminded me that “success” is a vague notion that shifts and changes as the world does. “Success” should not be my goal, rather living in a way that brings glory to God with the life He is giving me, should be my goal. He will bring everything else about in His own way, and in His own time.