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What’s Your Priority?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on May 3, 2012

As often happens, a Sunday message has continued to wiggle around my mind, tickling my thoughts, and refusing to let go. Our pastor, Tag Kilgore, recently shared an inspiring message about priority living. Since then my brain has spun with all aspects of my life. Wife, mother, teacher, writer, friend, team and department leader at school, youth leader at church, youth council secretary, church librarian, and director of the nursery to name a  few. Yes, I wear a variety of hats.

Some days those hats all fit perfectly, but at other times my head lacks in size. Needless to say, I’m often overwhelmed. Based on Pastor Tag’s advice, I’ve been asking myself the following questions:

  1. Do I need to rethink my priorities?
  2. Do I feel responsible for each one of them?
  3. Do I receive rewards from them?
  4. Could I relinquish them without loss or guilt?

After some reflection (that’s for you, Lee Anne), I admit I could surrender some of these roles. It’s a struggle because I feel as if I’m letting others down if I give up a responsibility or say no to an opportunity, but if I’m going to be true to my priorities, it’s something I must do.

One thing I’ve learned is I can’t allow someone else’s urgent to become my priority. When I take my focus off what’s important to me to solve or address their issue, I’m not living according to my priority list. Not that I’m against helping others. I’m all for it and hope I set a good example for my children by serving others often. But I have to ensure helping others doesn’t veer me off my own path. Instead of listening to the urgency in someone else’s words, I need to listen to my heart.

In my classroom, the priority is for students to improve their reading and writing skills and become prepared for their academic future at the high school level. Unfortunately, that’s my priority. For a lot of my 8th graders, friends, sports, cellphones, music, parents, home life, and sadly for some, avoiding neglect and abuse take precedence over English.

If I stand in front of my class and demand they learn, it doesn’t change what they view as important. I have to help reshape their mindset so they relate what we do on a daily basis to their future. It’s a difficult task to accomplish in ninety minutes a day, five days a week. Some of them simply aren’t mature enough to get it yet.

But what about my own mindset? Do my actions always reflect what is of greatest importance? How often do I take God my list of needs, or I beg Him to fix something? But He knows whether it’s only my urgency making me plead. Philippians 2:12 reminds me He is working in me to fulfill His purpose, not my own. Often when prayers are unanswered or the answer is no, it forces me to reshape my mindset and adjust my priorities to align with God’s plan. It’s difficult for me to do this for some of my students, but He has no problem doing it for me.

What’s your priority? Do you need to reshape your mindset?

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2 Responses to 'What’s Your Priority?'

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  1. Hi, Linden. I feel your pain. 🙂 I wear so many hats at church I ought to open a milliner’s shop on the property. Great article. Blessings!

  2. lauramctx said,

    Well said, Linden. It’s often hard for us to turn down someone’s request, because we just hate to let anybody down. It’s true of me, anyway. I hate to say no to others, so I end up taking on too much and saying no to my health, my dreams, my peacefulness. . . . Finding that balance between serving and being; that’s the challenge, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Laura


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