What do you want the most in your life?

There’s this guy I have a massive crush on.

We’re Facebook friends and, yeah, I stalk him from time to time.

Let’s say, theoretically speaking, that he came to Chicago and asked me out on a date.

And let’s say, theoretically speaking, that I checked my schedule and was busy that day.

Do you think I would:

a. apologize and ask him to try again next time?


b. get the heck out of my other commitment and buy a new dress?

You don’t have to be a genius to figure this one out.


It’s not that complicated when you think about it.

Last week I asked you for your help and thought 2 of you would answer.

But you floored me! Not only did a TON of you respond, but you really shared your heart with me. And you wrecked me with your answers.

Several themes popped up. One of the most common ideas mentioned sounded a little bit like this:

I wish I spent more time with Jesus.

You long for intimacy with Jesus.

You know who He is.

And you want more of Him in your life.

Desperately more.

Yet you struggle with making the time for Him.

You don’t know how to make Him a priority.

You’re too busy with family.

You’re too overwhelmed with your physical needs.

You’re simply exhausted.

But it’s not that complicated when we think about it.

We make time for the things we love.

We re-arrange our schedule for our Facebook crushes.

We re-order our lives for the commitments that mean more.

We say no after saying yes because we recognize that a better yes is staring us in the face.

We do whatever we need to do to make time for the things we love.

Even if it costs us something along the way.

I got out of a medical mission trip once at the very last minute because I accepted a job at a church instead. My friendship with the organizer of the trip suffered because of it.

I broke off an engagement two weeks before the wedding once because I realized I was in love with someone else.

And on and on it goes.

We make time and space for the things we love.

People ask me all the time how I manage my life. How do I make time for Jesus as an ER doctor/author/speaker/global medical missionary?

It’s simple: I’ve found out I can’t live without Jesus.

I mean it literally. I cannot live without Him.

I need him daily.

I need him deeply.

I need him desperately.

I need him because my life is too complicated.

I need him because my people are too complicated.

I need him because I’m too complicated.

I have dreams that I can’t accomplish on my own.

I have disappointments I can’t reconcile without Him.

I have temptations that suck the life out of my soul.

In a world where everything is competing for my attention, I’ve found that I have to say no to some things in order to say yes to the more important things.

So I sleep a little bit less.

I socialize a little bit less.

I exercise a little bit less.

Because I love Jesus more.

What about you?

What are you choosing over Jesus?

Is it the gym? Your job? Your rest?

Is it your friends? Your small group? Your church?

In a world where everything is competing for your attention, it’s time to say no to some things in order to say yes to the more important things.

It’s time to say yes to Jesus.

I’m talking to you.

What are you going to scratch off your list to make time for Jesus?

I know you’re really pressed – I mean, who isn’t? We have Facebook, and Instagram and snap chat to keep up with these days.

But let’s make 2017 the year we chase after the things that matter most.

I want to tell you about an app I’ve started using for my quiet time.

It’s called first15.org.

Wanna try it with me? We can do this together.

Let’s run hard after Jesus because we simply can’t do it without him. 

My verse for 2017 is Exodus 33:15 where Moses says this to God: “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here”.

Would you pray this verse with me for 2017?

One last thing, you sort of spoiled me with all the emails last week. I’ve come to expect you to actually talk to me. So will you do it again? Will you leave a comment with your verse or word for 2017? I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s a teaching that I think will help you as you focus your thoughts on the one thing that matters most in 2017: 


23 thoughts on “What do you want the most in your life?

  1. j0eswife

    My word for 2017 is transformation. It’s not a quick process, and I haven’t made much progress so far, but I’m committed to seeing real change this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Zan

    My verse for this year is psalm 118:24 “this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”. My goal is to pray this at the start of each day in 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Leila Abu jamra

    Great thoughts. So many favorite verses. The point is to remember daily to find a verse for the day. The purpose is to stay in the word 365 days and be blessed.
    Ps 145:18 the Lotd is near to all who call on Him.
    I will call on Him

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anthony Schubert

    Hi Dr J! I wanted to be first to respond, but I see so many others beat me to it! About your Facebook friend, sorry, I have found somebody else ha ha J/k well sorta.
    Um, keep up the good work look forward to the next post funny how this message went right along with our sermon Sunday. wait a minute, was that you?
    2 Sam 23:20 Having goals that are big enough only God can handle

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marsha Landry

    PURSUE….my word for 2017 is Pursue. Pursue Christ–especially in my quiet time and prayer life. Pursue Christ’s direction in my business–being sensitive and quiet before him; tuned in to His leading. Pursue physical health–make small healthy choices each day. And pursue financial health–make sound decisions regarding spending/saving money.

    I Timothy 6:11- But as for you, O man of God, flee these things {sounds an awful lot like saying “no”).Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Steve Kerr

    “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy J

    Good morning Lina, “Seek” was the word I had picked for myself, but when I stopped and prayed about it “calm” came to me. Not what I would have chosen, feel like I’m already a pretty calm. God I’m sure will work His purpose in it! Isaiah 23:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Irina Schiau

    Great post Lina! Encouraging and challenging, just what I needed!
    I got a verse to pray and a verse to claim this year. Ex 33:12b-13 – praying to know God more, and Ps 37.4 – claiming his promise the he will fulfill my heart’s desires if I delight in him.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dawn

    My verse:
    This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. Isaiah 30:15


  10. Linda

    My word for 2017 is Thanksgiving. In fact, I have made myself an electronic “thanksgiving jar ” were I write a thanksgiving subject for each day. It helps me a lot!!!
    My verse for 2017 is PSALMS 32:8 ” I will advise thee and instruct thee in the way thiu shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eyes”. Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Karol

    I’ve been obsessed with the “one things” in Scripture for a few years. The one thing Jesus asked the rich young ruler to leave behind, the one thing Mary sought while Martha was distracted with service, … what is the “one thing” standing between me and my relationship with Jesus? I love Paul, an “all in” type of guy- no film flam. So, my verse Phil 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it on my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 🙂


  12. michelle lindenbaum

    Thank you for always inspiring me with your posts, your love for the Lord oozes from every word you speak. My verse will sound a bit odd, but this is where I am in life right now. Romans 7:15, 18b-19: For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want but I do the very thing I hate… For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. God has saved my life and I do mean that literally. He has carried me through so very much. He restored my soul after 9 years of sexual abuse as a child. I was diagnosed with RA, Fibromyalgia, and Psoriatic Arthritis 5 years ago. He has been so faithful to never leave me or forsake me through every sleepless night, all the pain, every medication failure and now a severe depression due to medicine failure…yet I continue to struggle with spending time with Him and His word daily. He stays faithful while I do not. So my word for 2017 is devoted. I want to devote my everything to Him, not just when it’s convenient, but all the time. Thank you so much for this post it has given me purpose for this year. I look forward to seeing you in Davis, OK at our Women’s retreat and I hope to be the opposite of my verse this year. Thank you again.


  13. Nathalie Knox

    Appreciate – learn to appreciate daily versus complaining. So much to be thankful for certainly enough to appreciate from God above.


  14. Alana Cummings, Trinidad, West Indies

    Lina, I was so very blessed by thus article. I’m not alone in my struggles…..I look forward to your post and pray that you continue to grow in wisdom, strength and stature. My word is Proverbs 3 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path”


  15. Tracey

    i believe God is reminding me “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. I know how important time with the Lord is and I take it, but it also opens my eyes to sin in my life….”small” stuff by the world’s standards, but I know better! I just desire more than anything to give God the glory He deserves ❤️
    I appreciate your teaching so much Lina! Thank you!! Working through your study on Acts right now!


  16. Harmonie

    My motto for 2017 is “Quietly progress.” I saw a video on Facebook that used the phrase. The video said that you don’t need to post everything on social media, and just because something isn’t posted doesn’t mean it’s not happening or progressing. I like that. I’ve got some BIG CHANGES coming this year and I’m excited for them, but I want to quietly progress in the milestones to come. Happy new year Lina!


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