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Taking Hills

It's not that my life is a battleground exactly, but I have found myself thinking a lot lately about the "taking of hills," which is military terminology, I think. I've actually found it a helpful mental image, as if ground gained is ground I want to keep and defend.

It might be, for instance, a pound lost in the battle of the bulge. Or it could be substituting a new habit for an unhelpful old one. Whatever small victory I have just won, on my mind's eye I see myself planting a flag on a hill with the a word or number to symbolize it.

My flags are decorated with my own coat of arms, with four quadrants, representing the four most important areas of my life. Distilling the important things down to four, for someone like me, is a very good thing and helps me develop focus. I can approach life like a book-aholic in a book store, intoxicated with the smell and feel of so many books, so many choices, and wanting to fill my shopping cart with far more than I could hope to read. Actually that metaphor is far too close for comfort. :)

In the top left hand quarter, is a picture of an open book, representing The Word. The Word is God, according to the first chapter of the gospel of John--God's revealing of himself to us, through the written page. Unless I am spending time soaking up the Word; pondering it, considering it and allowing God to speak to me through it, I am a pale shadow of what God intended me to be; a ghostly, sickly, substitute version of all that he intended.

In the top right hand quadrant there are people: my family and friends. I need daily solitude, but it is my springboard to healthy community. I thrive on relationship and love connecting with people.

The bottom left quadrant holds a feather quill and ink well. I could not live happily without writing. For me it is almost as though things become more real when I write about them. I feel compelled to record!

The bottom right quadrant represents investments in physical health such as exercise, healthy eating and intentionally resting and having down time. I have deep awe for the complex and beautiful thing that a body is. I want to care for it at least as well as I do my car--okay, maybe better. If you saw my car you would know what I mean.

Really, these four things are what are most important to me. From each of them flows everything else that is meaningful, as a sub category. For instance, although I love singing, it is very tied in with The Word. The words of old Wesleyan hymns were my first theology texts and it is what I am singing that makes me want to sing.

Knowing what my four priorities are, is helping me sort out what to say "no" to. There are good things that I would love to do, but there is only so much time and energy a person has access to. I am saving mine for my four things.

I'm curious. What are your four things, dear readers? And what hills are you taking?
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