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We need to remember the importance of getting priorities right and our lives in order, and taking steps to ensure we live a balance, especially given the number of demands in living a contemporary lifestyle. Part of this is learning to say ‘no’ to things, having clarity around what is important to us and practising habits and disciplines that help us live well.

We can easily overfill our worlds. Imagine a large pitcher, fill it with big chunky rocks. While full, there is still room to add more. So next let’s fill it with tiny pebbles, which can fall down into all the spaces. While full, there is still room to add more. This time let’s pour in fine sand which trickles down until the pitcher is full to the brim.  While full, there is still room to add more. Now we can pour in water which flows between even the smallest of particles until now it is genuinely packed and full.

There are many ways to cut this story as a life analogy… perhaps that there’s always room to cram in more, so at what point do you stop? Another way is to realise that if you don’t get the big rocks in first, the other stuff will fill the pitcher up and there’ll be no room for the big rocks (suggesting that we need to focus on the big priorities in our life first and not always fill up our lives with busy minutia.)

As we emerge from a unique season and pace of life, and before we automatically simply fall back into old habits and ways of living, perhaps now is a good opportunity to ask ourselves these questions and think about how we might live – and live differently? – going forward. This would also be a good question and conversation starter to pose to our children (especially if you do the pitcher as a live demo)!

What are our life priorities? Where do we find purpose and meaning?

What are the rocks (the big priorities and matters of importance) on which we should refocus, and what is the sand or water (the miniscule matters of life that absorb a lot of time and energy) in our worlds?

What can or should we do to nurture the various aspects of our lives, like family, faith, friends, work, church, health, economic security, education…

What do we need to do to maintain a balance?

Hopefully we can all take some lessons and reflections from the past months and also help our children come to a greater understanding of how to “do life well”.

Dr Downey