Friday, April 29, 2011

Essential, Necessary, Nice-to-Do

I recently stumbled across a series of images, paired with quotes from a talk by Julie B. Beck. These address the importance of prioritizing the many activities in our lives. (I've repeated the images & quotes below.)
When I read this, I was stunned to realize which category most of my activities land in.

This feeling was only reinforced when I read an Ensign article by Elder Christofferson, To Always Remember Him. This passage particularly impressed me: and I can put Christ at the center of our lives and become one with Him as He is one with the Father (see John 17:20–23). We can begin by stripping everything out of our lives and then putting it back together in priority order with the Savior at the center. We should first put in place the things that make it possible to always remember Him—frequent prayer and scripture study, thoughtful study of apostolic teachings, weekly preparation to partake of the sacrament worthily, Sunday worship, and recording and remembering what the Spirit and experience teach us about discipleship.

Other things may come to your mind particularly suited to you at this point in your life. Once we make adequate time and means for these matters in centering our lives in Christ, we can begin to add other responsibilities and things of value, such as education and family responsibilities. In this way the essential will not be crowded out of our lives by the merely good, and things of lesser value will take a lower priority or fall away altogether.
Here are the images & text from Julie B. Beck that so impressed me:

Navigate This Life Confidently

“A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important. A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently. The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life" [my emphasis].


The things that must be taken care of to ensure the blessings of eternal life for me and my family.
  • Inviting revelation (praying always)
  • Studying scriptures daily
  • Taking time to ponder and fast
  • Making and keeping covenants (sacrament meeting, temple)
  • Loving one another


Things we have to do as a part of mortal life in order to be self-reliant and be of service to our families and the Lord.
  • Strengthening marriage and family relationships
  • Homemaking (cooking, cleaning, working)
  • Living providently
  • Giving compassionate service
  • Doing temple and family history work
  • Sharing the gospel
  • Serving in the Church


These add variety to our lives, but they won't save us.
  • Crafts
  • Hobbies
  • Recreational reading
  • Lunches with friends
  • Movies
  • Travel
  • Blogging and recreational computer time

The presentation ends with the question, "What is on your list?" I need to consider this, and then, as Elder Christofferson suggests, strip away everything, and add items back with proper consideration of their priority.

Note to self: Come back and reread this list. Often.


  1. I remember years ago we assigned a brother to speak about priorities in sacrament meeting. He was a bookish sort and the first sentence of his talk was something like, "I'm not sure why I was asked to speak about priorities, since priority is an absolute term." He did then go on to talk about how there is like one priority in any given moment in time, and we would do well to figure out what that one priority is.

    It was an interesting take on the same topic Sister Beck covered.

    I also remember sitting with Nathan listening to Elder Oaks' Good Better Best talk in general conference a few years ago. One of the quotable lines in the talk was something like, "Fathers, what your children want to have for dinner is you!" Nathan leaned over and said, "He's right, Dad."


    Ever a battle.

  2. Zing indeed.

    At least he was listening. :)