"Each day the number of requests we receive normally outnumber the time allotted for the day. My experience confirms that if I fail to attack my week with theologically informed planning, my week attacks me with an onslaught of the urgent. And I end up devoting more time to the urgent than the important.
And at the end of the week there is a low-grade guilt and dissatisfaction in my soul, because I’ve neglected to do the truly important stuff. I want to have as few weeks like this as possible in whatever time remains for me to serve the Savior. I’m thinking you do as well."
~ CJ Mahaney taken from his blog
This quote struck me particularly because of the directness of it. How much of your day is consumed with the urgent and not with what you sat down and specifically planned out to do and to accomplish for the day, week, year? Why? Why is it so hard to just say, "No, I can't do that I have only a short amount of time in my life and I have to devote it to the work that I have planned and prayed out to do." Why is that guilt even there? Planning is a crucial and vital part to our days. Scott and I have begun to realize how much more we get done, and how much more unified we are but just simply sitting down and planning out our days in the morning before the children get up and we are in the river again. It gives us the lifeline we need to get where we need to go and the map to get there quickly.
For the longest time I mocked and scoffed at the idea of a meal plan, especially those that spanned longer than a week at a time. I felt like they were compartmentalizing their time tooo much and not allowing for any creativity in the realm of cooking (which I love). Consequently my life was consumed in the evenings with what we were going to have for dinner and making sure I had on hand what I would need for any meal I felt the desire to create when the muse descended. This was making me crazy and grumpy and costing us more than the allotted food budget. So one day I decided to try a meal plan, and in my usual fashion I jumped in with both feet and made a 6-week meal plan. I have been so happy with the peace and ease it has given me. This area is now one that I consider a no-brainer, meal plans are definitely much easier. I have figured out meal plans around the rigors of mock trial season, Christmas, our Easter liturgy and our daily evening schedule. It has also saved us vast amounts of money on food and almost eliminated our food waste. I have been able to give my family a more well balanced diet and consequently my hubby who was on the verge of teetering off the high end of the Triglyceride and cholesterol scale is now on the low end of normal and doing great. My point is that even in this small area God is blessing me richly by my planning and prayer and I know that He intends greater blessings to come.
During the Christmas season and specifically this time of Advent leading up to Christmas when we are all doing our shopping for Christmas presents how could this not be more relevant? What are you buying for your children and why? Have you been sucked in to buy that *new* great thing that you saw at Target thinking they would just LOVE it? Or did you sit down with you hubby and DECIDE what to buy before you even set out? Will you tree be chocked full with a bunch of little gifts that you hope they like and will use for longer than a week, or did you consider them and what one thing they will truly use and love and remember? Were you struck with the urgent desire to buy that great thing that you saw that will just end up as next summer's garage sale fodder? I remember a few years back those ugly Furby's, now honestly. What about the Tickle Me Elmo? Who really bought that because they saw the joy and peace it would bring to the aroma of their home? This is a case of being sucked in to the fads of the day and not planning.
The day is only 24 hours long, and the week 7 days, and the month around 30, and the year a mere 365 days. Yet, each one of us has a task to complete within that time span. Not all of the request on our time are for us. Every day I am asked to do numerous things that are all good and wonderful, but that doesn't mean that I should do all of them. There are things that I just do not need to accomplish. There are so many patients and only so many doctors. Should they feel guilty because they can't possibly see them all? No, that would be foolish and a waste of time. They should be thankful for the ones that are brought to them and work hard to help them completely. There are so many great books and yet impossible to read them all. Should we give up? NO! Read away! But that is why we need to prayerfully consider and plan our days out and not get swept away and waste the life that God has given us. We have many opportunities here to do and to learn many things to teach our children and to provided for others to teach them. I have an aunt that had 5 boys. Each of them was athletic. None of them are professional athletes, but all are hard workers and have accomplished a lot (even though the oldest one is a youngish 32). My aunt and uncle saw that sports would help them teach diligence and hard work, their goal was not to raise a football star or another Michael Phelps. The sports were tools and decisions to put them in were made after debating their usefulness to the larger goal at hand.
My hubby and I always shake out heads when we hear someone say that one of their children was an accident. How could that happen? Are they so completely unaware of the cause of pregnancy? No, they are living a live completely unplanned and unthoughtout, and because of their lifestyle they have once again been caught staring into the headlights of their life, coming at them like a semi.
Make prayerful decisions and do not be swept away with wasted days filled with the urgent. Enjoy your life and bless those around you. Make schedules and plans, but use them as your tools, do not be brought under their weight and domination. They are your servants you are not theirs. You are Christ's and His burden is LIGHT. Now go do the important things and go to sleep tonight satisfied in your soul and not feeling guilty in the slightest.