What do you spend your time on? Do you have enough time for the things you want to do? How can you do everything you need to do with so little time in the day?
These are all questions that we must answer for ourselves at some point in our lives. If we do not answer them, or if we ignore them all together, we will all too quickly find that we are at the end of our life with very little to show for the years we have been given. If we do not pay attention to these questions, we will forever be trading the important for the "urgent," the worthwhile for the worthless, and distraction for truth.
These three things are not unimportant. They are the basis for everything we do. It is far, far too easy for life to be taken over by urgent, worthless distractions. Living the full life that God has in store for us takes a focused effort, and one that we will have to renew when we find ourselves going off towards the pointless shiny bits that line the road of life. But how can we fight back? How can we get past these things? Over the next few posts we will be looking at these subjects, starting today with the urgent vs. the important.
Urgent vs. Important
One of the most common misconceptions in society today is the thought that because something is urgent, it is automatically important. This is not true. It's the theory behind putting things on sale. When something is on sale we say, "Oh! It's on sale! I have to get that new jacket/shirt/game/whatever before it's full price!" This is simply not the case.
The real case is whether or not you need that item right now, or whether it is something you can do without. Whether it is on sale or not is irrelevant if that money is needed for something else. It is the same with what we choose to spend our time on. Just because someone wants something tomorrow is irrelevant. The real question is what are you giving up in order to get that request done so quickly, and it is worth giving up that which is truly important?
Sometimes the answer will be yes. There are things in life that are both urgent and important enough to put other things on hold. But this is not always the case (in fact, I would argue that it often is not).
Look at your life, the people, the events, and the things in it and ask yourself: "What is most important? What are the things that I cannot fail at? What is required in order for me to be the Christ-centered person God calls me to be?" When you have answered those questions, you will know what is truly important in your life.
When you know what is important in your life, let those things take first priority. Everything else goes to the back of the line until those things are taken care of. If something unexpected or unavoidable does come up, take care of it, but do not let it run your life and dictate it's importance over everything else. I cannot determine what is most important for you in all situations. You are the only person who can decide what level of importance everything takes. In the end, no one else but you gets to decide what they will do with their life.
For myself, the order goes: God, Wife, Children, Family & Friends, Work, Everything Else.
Do I always succeed in living this way? No. Do I always choose the right urgent things to put ahead of items in that list? Hardly. I am human and I make a lot of mistakes. But I do try to learn from them and get better as time goes on.
And that's the key. Work at getting better, and stand back up when you fall short. God will take care of the rest. We are called to move forward and follow Him.
So move forward! It's something every single person on the planet can do. If you don't know what to do yet, then pray and ask for help. You will get it.
Remember, once the big things are taken care of, once the truly important things are settled, there is always plenty of time to take care of that which really does need to be taken care of.