Thursday, January 24, 2008

Today Matters

I used to say, "Sometimes life gets so busy that it's hard to prioritize things and do what is really important..."

That's not true any more. My life is ALWAYS too busy to do everything I need to do. Priorities is a life saving word for me right now, but it still doesn't totally work on a moment by moment basis.

At the end of the day, sometimes I feel satisfied that I got a lot done, but I never feel that I got enough done.

At midnight, there are always 50 more emails to answer, so many things that my little sisters wanted me to do with them, so many documents that I promised to mail to various people, so many more commitments.... There's the feeling of guilt that I missed an important conference call, that I just don't have time to reply to some people who write with questions about this or that, the sinking feeling that I just can't return all of the phone calls I get, that I haven't finished a long over-due article that was promised a publication months earlier...

There's the ugly feeling that I'm doing too many things to do a good job at anything. I love organization and order. My life is currently anything but that. I seem to be perpetually late these days, racing from one thing to another, constantly crossing the non-urgent things off my list, substituting the most urgent things to do... Wishing that I had time to actually do a good job on some project I undertake, rather than looking like I am always late, disorganized, and frantic!

And then there's the nagging, guilty feeling that I haven't done what really mattered - love people. In a tangible way. Sure, everything I do is ministry, stuff I don't get paid for, stuff I'm doing for other people. But often times at the end of the day, I have to ask myself, did my family feel noticed, valued, loved, served... like they were important to me... more so than my projects?

I know feeling guilty about my lack of time to do everything I have to do isn't going to fix the problem. Better time management might help a little, but for the most part, I try not to let a single minute of my day be idle... So, I still haven't come up with the solution... the balance between people and projects.

I want to have God's priorities, and see things the way He does. He showed me yesterday.

I was rushing around town to appointments and running errands. My cell phone ringing constantly, people telling me that there were "emergencies" everywhere that I needed to help them fix. Some of my email hadn't come through, and people at the Capitol needed certain documents NOW. I didn't have my laptop with me and I didn't have time to stop and find internet anyway to re-send things. I wasn't organized for an important meeting in the morning and with my phone ringing constantly, and traffic rather crazy, I didn't even have time to think though what I would say.... My stress level was high, I was agonizing over a decision that would affect my future for a long, long time...

I stopped to see a friend who is on bed rest for a threatened miscarriage. Right over her sofa where she has spent the last few weeks, trying to keep her baby, she had a big red plaque with two simple words. "Today Matters."

I came in the door, feeling flustered and those two words hit me like a ton of bricks.

Today Matters.

That's right.
The way I treat people today matters.
I can't plan to make a better start tomorrow.
I only have today, right now.
And what is important?
What really matters?
Why don't I live in this moment?

Yes, they won't get their emails, but I can't do anything about it right now.
But I can love this person in front of me, and encourage her.
She IS doing what matters.

What else of more value can we take with us to eternity?

Today Matters.

I walked out of her door, thanking God that He had reminded me.


Joy said...

Good post. Thanks for sharing it, Mary. I read this the other day. It has one of my favorite quotes in it.

Only what's done for Christ will last

Two little lines I heard one day,
Travelling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life and it will soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in that day my Lord to meet,
And stand before His judgment seat;
Only one life and it will soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me, Father, a purpose deep,
In joy, or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life and it will soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

~Author unknown

And the rest of the quote:

And when I am dying how happy I'll be, if the light of my lamp has burned out for Thee.

Nisbett Family said...

Amen, Mary!! I am always encouraged and blessed by your insights. You do many things well, and with the light of Christ shining through you. Thank you for the Glory you bring to Him, and the blessing you are to the rest of us!