How to Decide What’s Important to You

Posted by: Shel Harrington 10 Comments

How to Decide What's Important to YouHere in Oklahoma we just observed the one year anniversary of the devastating tornado that plowed through Moore last year. All over the country, many are dealing with the utter destruction of wildfires, hurricanes, mudslides, floods and other natural disasters.

Take this opportunity to put things in perspective. To do so, grab a piece of paper and a pen.

Imagine this scene: the TV newscaster is describing weather conditions that could turn violent at any second. His voice gets louder and louder. He’s shouting that the elements are wreaking havoc along their path. You hear  panic in his voice. He names your location and screams: “You have 5 minutes to get out – ONLY 5 MINUTES TO GET OUT!”

Now write down the answer to this question: What do you take with you?

Mentally look back in time and think about any object or material possession that caused contention between you and your spouse. The hotly contested sofa that you prevailed on, the carpet that you cover with plastic to keep pristine, that table lamp you had to have when your spouse wanted to get overhead lighting, the big-screen TV that cost more than your spouse was comfortable spending. Is any of it on your list?

Chances are your list contains people, pets, photos, precious mementos from loved ones.  Why? Because that’s what is important to you. That’s what is precious to you. That’s all that really matters in the large scheme of life. Your life.

We all have to have stuff. Without stuff in our homes, we’d have nowhere to sit, nowhere to lay, nothing to read. Stuff is important. Stuff can be fun. But the next time you and your spouse are at odds about household items, check your list. Is it precious? Or is it just stuff?

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  • Great blog, Shel. God tells us not to set our minds on things on this earth that will be destroyed, but to set our minds on things above. The only things that will be taken out of this world are people. God is not willing that any should perish. Jesus died so we could live. Relationships are the most important thing. First with God, then with others.


    • Shel Harrington

      I’m with you on the relationships, DiAne! And I’m still hoping there’s cats and dogs in heaven!

  • This is a very tangible reminder. At one point when the kids were younger I made a list of what to grab and even packed a suitcase with disaster supplies. When I moved to California I had been greeted by the Northridge etc earthquakes so I figured it was a good idea to be prepared. Now i am blase about it because I’ve been unscathed. So now is when I need to be prepared.
    But on the point of what is important, people and cats for sure. And then I need to have a flashdrive of all my pix and my writing, etc ;). New project . . . .

    • Shel Harrington

      It is easy to get blase after a while, isn’t it? I’m with ya on people and cats! And I hadn’t thought about losing all the writing projects – one more thing to add to the to-do list!

  • Great reminder, Shel…stuff is just fluff and can be replaced.
    I would grab my fireproof lock box that contains important documents, special letters and photos.

    • Shel Harrington

      That makes so much sense, Jill, to have such things stored together like that. I need to get that on my to-do list.

  • We had a little more than 5 minutes’ notice, but we had to get ready to evacuate during a fire two years ago. It does make you stop and think about what’s important… and what’s not.

    • Shel Harrington

      Wow – that must have been scary, Maria. We can do exercises like the one I suggested to try and get it, but there’s nothing like actually being in such a situation to really get it!

  • timely info…perhaps sharing and preserving in a second location photos and other valuables would be good.

    • Shel Harrington

      That’s a good idea, Lin. Jill commented that she keeps such special items in a fireproof lockbox – makes sense to have them in one place.

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