Raising four children while attempting to run a business and be a great wife plus all the other regular life expectations is one constant juggling act for me. Except I hate the thought of juggling, or rather that if you mess up something gets “dropped”. So besides juggling, is there another way to get everything done? I already know I can’t multi-task (we’ve discussed that previously HERE), so now every successful week is filled with many little deliberate decisions that happen as a result of me asking myself the question (or my kids reminding me to ask myself this question), “what matters most?”
Take a minute and 51 seconds and watch this little video below. The rocks represent what matters most in your life. As you’ll see, when you make those things a priority, you can live a much happier, fuller life. You can essentially have it all (at least “all” accordingly to what you value most), but only when you know what your personal rocks are and see to it that they enter your jar first. Watch the movie and then we’ll continue our discussion.
Determining what matters most is a very personal question and something that has been debated from the beginning of time. But today I’m not looking to debate. Rather I’m going to simply share with you some of the beliefs and ideas that are fundamental to who I am as a person and therefore have shaped my answer to what matters most.
So first of all let me give you my short answer to the most question: PEOPLE. People matter most. Why? Well that’s the long answer…
I believe that we (yes every human being born to this earth which includes you) are children of Heavenly Parents. I believe that we in spirit form lived with our heavenly parents before we were born to this earth. We had personalities, abilities, and agency in “heaven” and used all of those to make the choice to come to this earth where we were taught we’d receive a body.
Welcome to your life now. Yep. You have a body. You may not love its shape or size, but regardless, you have it and it’s something that was so important to you to obtain that you left peaceful heaven to come here to crazy earth to get it. Welcome. You still have a spirit (the same one you had pre-earth), but now it’s all meshed up with your body and some days it’s a battle who is stronger. Spirits want to soar (they can’t remember their earth life but they can sense it). Bodies want to sleep, and eat, and other fun fleshy stuff. And so day by day we’re just trying to make sense of a whole bunch of emotions and bodily cravings and higher mental desires and fatigue and we just don’t always know what to do. And so we spend our lifetime trying to figure it out. Some lives last longer than others. But at some point in time they all end and then that’s that. Right? Not really.
I believe that we (yes every human being born to this earth which includes you) will one day live again. Same spirit. Same body. Reunited from the grave. Much better shape than when we left it. At this point in time things will make a lot more sense to us than they do now. Mostly because the time spent between death and resurrection will teach us much and we’ll be able to remember everything. But I’m not going to get into that today. Rather, I just want to make the point that I believe we are eternal creatures. People matter because they last. Things don’t last. So when you ask yourself what the most important things in life are, (in the context of eternity) the answer is truly none.
So people matter because they’re eternal. We leave things behind when we die so don’t put them in your jar of life first. Put the people. But which people? And how?
A well known scripture (yes I’m the scripture reading type) states that God is love. I agree with that statement whole heartedly, though literally I believe that God is our Father, whose image, just like our earthly father, we were created in. Meaning I believe he has an actual body of flesh and bones. So He is love, not in a mythical creature sort of way, but in the way that his entire purpose and day job is to love us, watch over us, and helps us spiritually and physically return to live with him again. Our heavenly mother has a similar day job, though I’d imagine she goes about her to do list with a female perspective just like our moms do here. Our Heavenly Parents, they have a family: it’s you and it’s me. They love us and so we matter most to them.
Do you have a family? Do you love them? I hope so. I have been blessed with children and a husband. They matter most to me. They are the rocks that go into my jar first. What about God? Is he in my jar? Absolutely. In fact, he’s in there first. But lucky for me, what I feel like he’s asked me personally to do to serve him is to serve my family so that works out great. I know every day I spend answering to the call of “mama” no matter how un-glorifying the task I’m doing God’s work. Will I always be a mom? Yes. Motherhood (and Fatherhood) is an eternal calling in my book. But my kids won’t always live under my roof. One day I hope they’ll start their own families. So as was mentioned in the feature article about me, right now I’m really trying to remember that my kids will only be little for so long.
It’s extremely tempting some days to want to be five other places but at home with them. It’s not easy to raise children. It’s super annoying to keep a house in order and food in the fridge. The days when I need to work they seem to be at their worst. But the days when I really soak them in, give them my full attention, watch the way the light falls off their tiny toes, this is when I experience “having it all.” I’ve won some pretty neat awards in my book. But I can honestly say those moments paled in comparison to some of the simplest experiences I’ve had in my home with my family.
Trophies (insert any thing or position of status in life you find yourself seeking after) are simply shiny things. They, or the pursuit of them, can easily distract us from what matters most. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy chasing them, but I am saying that if I were to live as if they were all that matters, I’d be missing the point of life entirely. Life is about learning to love and love is about service. Serving others makes us happy. It’s what matters most. When we serve we help others to feel God’s love. We help them (and ourselves) remember what God’s love felt like when we lived in his presence. Our spirits sense the eternal nature of love and they crave it. Love and people are all wrapped up together. (Literally, people are created by wrapping up in love. It’s no coincidence.) People. Love. People we love. Our family. They matter most.
“Having it all” in my book means living a life where your family matters most. It means living a life where you know God and His will for you. Having it all is only possible when you are very deliberate about how you fill your jar of life. The rocks go in first. And then if there’s space left (which there will be!), by all means, chase your passion, excel in your career, enjoy fun “things” but don’t collect them as if they by their very existence are worth living for. They’re not. You deserve more than any tangible thing could ever give you. You deserve to love and to be loved. You are a child of a heavenly king. You, by your mere existence, are enough. You too can have it all if you’re willing to discover what matters most and make sure it goes in your jar first.
[I photographed my girls on Temple Square together earlier this year but never have had a chance to post my favorites. I decided today was the day with this post. It’s all feel good and pretty and stuff. Tulips and testimony. Sure why not?]