Saturday, June 14, 2008

What Matters To Me And Why

Ch S 155 Introductory Essay
August 28, 2007

Whereas most people have tangible, concrete priorities, mine are ideas which are not of a material nature, but they give me joy nonetheless. In all things I do, God comes first. Because of this, loving others comes immediately after, for He said to do so. In loving, I am compelled to serve. The following priorities hold an important place in my life because they make me truly happy to be alive.

My top priority in life is loving God. He is of most importance to me and I show this by earnestly trying my best to please him. I believe He is very pleased when His people spend time with Him. A few ways to do this is by praying, engaging in scripture, and praising. By praying, I show God I love Him because I am taking time to put everything else aside and focus on Him. When friends come to you for guidance and place their heart at your mercy, they are showing they truly trust you. That’s similar to praying; you are opening your heart to God for guidance and companionship. When engaging in scripture, God sees I love Him because I am making an effort to learn more about Him. How can your heart be close to another if you know nothing about them? Praising God shows Him love because it is words of love vocalized through the heart. I believe God’s heart melts when His children sing to Him. It is sweet to Him, even if we think it sounds like a cat in a meat grinder. Just as a child loves her parent, I love God who has given me everything. I could not put something God has given me ahead of God Himself. How can one be grateful to the grapes when it is the vine which does the providing? It is sometimes scary to put God ahead of other things in life. Logically, we think “Oh, I have a million things to do and deadlines to meet! I have no time for God today because I’ll never be able to finish my other obligations on time.” Faith is walking blindly on a path fashioned by God. I find taking time out of a busy day to spend with God helps me to think more clearly and I always accomplish more than I initially needed. Setting God before everything else has never disappointed or failed me, and I know it never will.

The relationships I have with those dear to me ranks high on my priority list as well. Moving away to college has set a distance between loved ones and myself. Because of this, I have tried to keep in close contact via email, phone, and visits. Email is a convenient way to catch up with friends and family at one’s own convenience. For me, speaking on the phone is much preferred over email because it is more personal—I can not only hear their voice, but I better understand how they’re feeling by their tone. However, if someone is angry, I suggest email because in this case, tone is not enjoyable. My preference for keeping in close contact is visiting those I love. In person, I can see, hear, and feel the person I love. Few things are sweeter to me than spending quality time with loved ones. My relationships are important to me because exchanging love is essential to my existence. I love to love and to be loved. With love comes acceptance, and with acceptance comes self-worth. It makes people feel good to know they are loved, so it is no wonder relationships are a high priority. It is comforting to know that if ever I am in need, I have people who love and support me. To maintain this as a high priority, I stay in contact with those I love.

Although serving is listed last, it is not at all of less importance. Reaching out and helping others is something in which I am very passionate. Service does not have to be difficult, extravagant, or time-consuming. Being servile is not draining, burdensome, or degrading. It is a beautiful experience in which all parties walk away having been touched. The majority of people see the words “service, servitude, and servant” as having negative connotations. These words are used to describe the lowest rank of people, those indentured, or criminals serving their punishment. I have found it most unfortunate that such beautiful gestures of love are smitten by pride and misconceptions. Pride is the leading killer of servants. The cure for the disease of pride is service; when we serve others, misconceptions of servitude are diminished. Although servitude has been one of the most humbling tasks of my life, it has also been the most rewarding. Serving others does not mean one has to do something extraordinary or complex. Serving can be as simple as spending time with someone who is ill or lonely. The simple yet precious presence of a human being often goes overlooked as a “service.” It may feel insignificant because there is not much fame or public recognition, but serving is not about one’s self. No matter the degree of servitude, both the giver and receiver benefit. The receiver not only benefits from the immediate object or service they acquired, but they also attain the knowledge that someone cares about them. Perhaps after receiving such a service, this person will be inspired to serve another. My own fervor for serving originated from kind people who first served me. The giver has the satisfaction of knowing he or she has lifted up their fellow man. In most cases, both parties will learn a great deal while serving. Living out my passion for serving is something I will continue to do until my death. During that time, I hope someone I served became inspired to make a life commitment to helping others.

Happiness is defined differently for each person. For some, it is money or other material possessions they can hold in their hands. As for me, the most precious things in life cannot be touched. My happiness comes from loving God, loving others, and serving with all my heart. Never has the rank of my priorities failed me, and I have a divine promise that it never will.

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