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My Messed-Up Priorities

by Karlyn Jensen

If I could live the summer before my senior year all over again, Id make different choices.

   The summer before my senior year of high school I had a job, friends to do things with, fund-raisers to coordinate for my senior class, even an upcoming road trip. Then doctors diagnosed my grandmother with uterine cancer.
    Grandma had had no warning signs of cancer, yet her doctors told my family that the cancer had already rapidly progressed. More than anything, Grandma wanted to live to see me graduate that spring, so she started radiation treatments.
    My grandparents lived about an hour away. Although I knew how important it was  to spend time with Grandma, I struggled to do it. Days that I should’ve spent with her I filled with work, school, and friends. I did see Grandma pretty often throughout the summer, but my time with her was only a small fraction of what I now wish it would’ve been.
    Summer soon ended and school began.  Classes, homework, and many extra-curricular activities jam-packed my schedule. Although my spare time had  considerably shrunken, spending time with Grandma became more urgent than ever.
    Grandma was fighting her cancer, but she spent most of her nights in the hospital. Clearly her condition was getting worse. I gave her all the time I could, but still it wasn’t enough.
    My senior class planned a camping trip over Labor Day weekend. All summer long I’d looked forward to that trip, but I decided not to go so I could hang out some more at the hospital with Grandma. That Friday night I sat beside her bed, holding her hand, saying all the last things I needed her to hear. She died early the next morning.
    I was so glad I decided to skip that camping trip. Those last few moments with my grandma are irreplaceable!
    For the rest of my life I’ll regret some of the choices I made that summer. If I could go back, I’d completely rearrange my priorities. I’d quit my job, spend much less time with my friends, and get someone else to take over the senior class fund-raisers. I’d cancel my road trip and spend time with Grandma, who should’ve been my first priority. Because my priorities were messed up that summer, I lost precious time with someone I deeply loved.
    What about your priorities?
    As Christians, if we let our priorities get messed up, we’ll end up loosing out on precious time with God.
    I know it’s easy to spend time studying when you could be worshipping God, or talking on the phone with friends when you could be praying. But Matthew 6:33 says  we should “seek first his [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness.” God should be our first priority! Doing homework or spending time with friends should come after spending time with God, not the other way around.
    I also know that the things our daily lives consist of, such as school and work, have demanding deadlines that we often race to meet. Because these things need to be done and done now, we often give them a higher priority than our relationship with God, sometimes without even realizing it.
    James 4:14 points out that we don’t know what may happen tomorrow. So don’t put off your relationship with God, because you may not get a chance later to fix it.
    I’ll always regret not spending more time with Grandma when I had the chance. Please don’t make that same mistake with God. Spend time with Him today, give Him your whole heart, and make sure that He’s your number one priority.

    Karlyn Jensen, 20, is working this summer at Walgreens in the Pharmacy Department as a technician. She’s getting ready to go to pharmacy school at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, near her home. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, listening to music, singing, and reading. She says as she laughs, “Whenever I eat a danish pastry, I feel the need to tell the people around me that I’m Danish by descent!”

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