What’s Really Important?
WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT?
What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important. Eisenhour
I am a get it done, cross it off the list, make a new list and get that done kind of person. As I reflect over the past few weeks, it seems that I haven’t crossed much off my list. The really important things go onto my list…so I think; call the homeschool office, educate the kids (I did cross this off), call the doctor’s office, pay taxes (yes, this one gets done too), write a proposal for a new book, get paperwork together for a new insurance policy, and the list goes on.
When many of the items have to be moved to next week’s list, I tend to get a little discouraged. I ask, “What in the world did I do with my time this week?” I have tried to make a new habit of writing down some of the “extras” that I do accomplish. This week I have noticed that I talked, or rather listened and gave feedback, to one of the kids about something that was very important to him (that took TIME). In between calls I was receiving and making for my husband’s office I had tea parties with the little girls, made a ton of food (nutritious food which you have to plan to do), took a few rooms and deep cleaned them due to one of my kid’s allergies, watched my kid’s play football in the yard, taught school to my 5-year-old – NOT during school time; just because she likes it, cut my husband’s hair, listened to one of my boys (now in college) tell me about tests and stories about genetics he had been learning.
None of these items were on my list. Shouldn’t they have been? Aren’t they important too? Did I accomplish anything by these basic activities of life? Certainly! The phrase “children tie your feet” is often used because with children at home all day, you spend much of your time loving, nurturing and tending to them sometimes to the exclusion of your to-do list. These acts don’t get much recognition and you don’t get to mark them off your list because normally they are “interruptions” to a very organized day and they aren’t planned.
Maybe we list makers should write a category in our list that says “interruptions”, “delays”, “caring for others”. The “extras” are usually the MOST IMPORTANT things we do all day. No, we can’t see the hope we may give our children, or the character that one of our conversations may have contributed to our children’s lives, but these small acts of “giving a cold drink unto one of these little ones” are the very things we should be spending our time doing.
I know all the other items on our lists must be done, but sometimes I think I determine that they are more urgent than they really are. For me, developing trusting relationships with my family through the messiness of life (things to do not on my list) is of HIGHEST importance. This is where the rubber really meets the road for me. At the end of the day, did my life in the hearts of my husband and kids and those around me?
What is really important to you?
Beautiful post and I agree. Our to-do lists are not from God. They are worldly concerns.(for most of us anyway) being THERE for our family members is what really counts. That is what we should strive to be remembered for. At least that is what I hope I will be remembered for.
Thanks Janet so much for your encouragement to me. I know you live for this and I hope that our lives will be a service to God (as He intends and not what we think it should be) and to others. It is easy for people to feel all alone in this important task. I want as many people as I can let know that they are important just because!! Thanks for your comment!
i never put family things on my “lists.” lists are for the dreaded things, paying the taxes, cleaning the cat box, calling the insurance company! then i know that i have plenty of time for the every day! keep your family close to your heart!
That makes sense, Tina. I was just thinking that spending time with your family is so important that it doesn’t need to be put off because of your lists that seem so urgent to do. It isn’t always urgent to spend time with them at that minute, but it is important and time can get away from us. Spending time with your family is ultimately important and urgent. That is the message I was trying to get across. I agree that we should keep our family very close to our hearts. It seems just yesterday that I was holding my first baby and he is 20. It goes by so fast. My baby is already 5 and I am loving every minute of it. Thanks for your words of encouragement!
Well said! I do feel the lists are important because they give us direction and we don’t want to be a rudderless ship. God will show us how He’d like us to spend our day hour by hour. The children grow up so quickly so enjoy them. We spent time like this with our 3 daughters and now that they are grown up they still want to travel hundreds of miles to be home with the family!
I agree Karen. I would be like a chicken with my head cut off without a list! I usually set mine up based on priorities – God, husband, kids, home management, school, extended family, church and younger women, to-do, and then errands and notes. That has worked well for me, but there are so many important things that I don’t write on my list. I appreciate your insight and the fact that you have raised 3 girls and they are traveling to see you. That makes me so happy and gives me so much to look forward to. I want younger moms to see that what they do (even though you might not can see it now) matters in the long run. Thanks so much for your comment.