Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Revelation Of The Simple Life (Part 2)

Urgent!!!! Does that word ever appear in the subject line of your emails? It does many times in mine. Guess what? Most of those emails are spam or trash from complete strangers! Ironic, isn’t it?

“Urgent” doesn’t always mean “urgent”. Very few things in life really require our immediate attention. For example: Is it really urgent to get the clothes into the dryer at this very moment, or is it acceptable to continue reading your child the book he is interested in? See what I mean? I am ashamed at the number of times I have opted to stop interacting with my child to finish another “urgent” task.

So many have-to’s!! Or are there, really? I don’t think so! As I said in yesterday’s post, we weigh our own selves down with our to-do lists. Read the following typical scenario from the LaPradd household:

I am skipping down the stairs with an armload of dirty laundry, headed to the washer, when I see a dirty glass and cereal bowl sitting on the end table. I drop the laundry to put them in the dishwasher before the cat knocks them over. Suddenly, my son wants a sandwich for lunch, so I stay in the kitchen to make him one. I then notice the cat hasn’t been fed yet, so I pour out some food for him. The phone rings and it is a friend needing some advice, so I talk a few minutes and then hang up. Austin now needs help getting his math paper finished, so we work on that for a while. I notice the dirty clothes pile that never made it to the laundry room. On my way to pick it back up, my husband calls and wants me to look up a phone number for him so he can cancel one of his appointments. I run to find the number he needs, give it to him and hang up. Then my teenage son walks in the door after his morning college classes. I stop to talk to him about his day. He tells me his car isn’t running right, so I call my husband back to see what he wants me to do about that. I run outside to get the mail and see a late notice for the power bill. Oh my! I must have forgotten to mail that in!! I run to find the original bill and start to write out a check. Then, I remember I am out of stamps. I grab my purse, decide to just pay the bill in person, and have to stop and get gas on the way. When I get back home, I want to sit down for a minute and catch my breath, but then I see the pile of dirty laundry that STILL isn’t in the laundry room, so I FINALLY pick it up and carry it down.

Is it just me, or is your life similar?

All that seems urgent is not urgent!!! I am running myself ragged for no reason and I am tired of it!! God is revealing so many things to me since I have started seeking Him on this issue. Here are some of the anecdotes He has shown me:

1)Choose to set some things aside for later. It’s ok, really. The world will not stop spinning if we just WAIT.

2)Put your “I really should……” list down for good. We can be responsible without becoming unbalanced. Remember, there are very few truly urgent things in life.

3)Don’t be afraid to give yourself some freedom. It is ok to say “no, not right now”. You may find that by delaying your task for a while, the very thing that seemed so “urgent” didn’t have to be done at all. At the least, it didn’t rock the world to postpone it for a bit.

4)Take an hour or so and just be calm and quiet. Do something YOU want to do for yourself. Your kids won’t waste away while you are relaxing. I promise. Your husband won’t die if dinner is a few minutes late getting on the table. The entire family won’t have to walk around naked because you let a load or two of laundry slide for a day. Believe me, I have started slowing down a bit and we have all survived.

5)Seek God first thing every morning and allow Him to guide you through your day. He will not place nearly the expectations on us that we place on ourselves. We cannot do it all. It is impossible. We certainly can’t do it all at the same time, as you saw from my poor attempt at getting the laundry to the basement. If we try, we only get sidetracked and end up accomplishing nothing but an exhausted spirit, mind and body.

I found this quote from one of my favorite authors, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She writes in Gift From The Sea, “If one sets aside time for a business appointment or a social engagement, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if anyone says,’ I cannot come, for it is my hour to be alone,’ one is considered rude, egotistical, or strange. What a sad commentary on our civilization.”

I suspect I would actually be enlightened to hear someone make that statement. I would begin to think maybe it is ok to spend some time alone and quiet. If we would all be honest and uninhibited enough to just say it, think of the release we could experience!! It’s really ok! We can set aside time for ourselves. We just need to accept that as fact and step out and do it.

Romans 12:3- “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you; do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

In other words, try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities. Delete that “urgent” mindset!

Next time, I will write about delegation. Join me as we continue to discover God’s secret for living in simplicity.

Love and Blessings,