When I think about getting my loves in order, I like to start by thinking about "God's Economy."
Now, this isn't like "God's Politics" or "God's Technology" or "God's Religion." No, I'm thinking of economy in a pretty basic sense. By economy, I simply mean what we attach value to.
If you want to know what's important to people, ask them what they like to spend money on. Don't tell my first dates, but that's a question I try to ask in a roundabout way. I want to know what's important to you. Do you like to buy clothes, cars, books, shoes, purses, gym memberships, food, what?
Money's a touchy subject for that reason. We get immediate insight into how our values are different. That can create a lot of tension because we realize that we have different priorities and I might think you're shallow for spending so much money on that!
Anyways, "God's economy" is a starting point for me as I try and figure out, what does God value? I wonder what God's bank statement would look like, y'know? And this act of prioritizing, I break that down a little bit too. I think about it in terms of object and value-level. An object is neutral: a blouse, a book, a pet, a car, a house, a computer, electricity, food. A value-level is simply the amount of value we attach to that object. This is what creates the hierarchy.
We're constantly making economic choices like this too, doing the math and figuring out which object has a high value level attached to it. "Okay. This month, should I spend my money (or time and energy) on electricity or that new video game? On eating out with friends or saving up for a family trip? On paying down my school loans or buying a new car?"
But objects aren't just physical. "Do I spend Friday night with friends or do I need a night alone? Do I spend it with my significant other or do I chill with the guys? Do I take Saturday afternoon to help somebody move or go shopping? Do I drop my coins in the bums jangling can or in my coin jar on the shelf at home?"
What do these decisions tell us about what our priorities are? What order are my loves in?