Friday, July 22, 2011

Balancing the Important and the Urgent

It's the time of year for me when my life can easily become consumed by the urgent:  papers need graded for summer classes, syllabi need prepared for fall classes, forms need ordered for the residence halls, training needs to be planned, fall housing assignments need to be made, Daniel needs to learn grammar ... and math, and spelling.  And everything has a deadline.  The urgent can easily keep me busy from sun up to sun down.

But if I fill my days with the urgent then there is no time left for the important.  What, you ask, is important?  People.  Relationships.  All those little things that "interrupt" my busy schedule.  That is what is important.  Lately I have been reminded frequently of my days as a teenager in the youth group at church and I am so grateful for all of the people who made time for me as a youth because their time, thoughtfulness and hospitality helped to weave the fabric of who I am today.  As Daniel is getting older (he will officially be a pre-teen in September) I want to make sure that I am focusing on the important and not getting lost in the urgent.  

It is funny because what I believe to be truly important are not the things that will help me to advance in my career or will gain any status in the eyes of the world.  The last few weeks some of the most important things that I have done include hosting a teen / pre-teen night for our homeschool group and having a steady stream of 9 to 15 year olds in and out of my home.  I won't lie and tell you that there aren't times that I think "I just have too much to do today to have kids over (who always want to go swimming)" but then I remind myself that the time that I pour into them is of far more significance than getting the "urgent" things done right now.  The urgent will get done.  It always does.  But it does not need to be done at the expense of spending a couple of hours investing in relationships.

I am incredibly blessed to be in a situation where my job is live in.  This means that I am not bound by the constraints of a 9 to 5 day.  My apartment is certainly not luxurious but there is plenty of space for hospitality and I have access to resources on campus that most people don't have.  Additionally,  I only have one child so I am not in a place where my responsibilities to my own children require me to meed the needs of multiple people at different developmental levels.  These are all things that, when I look at them through the worlds eyes have sometimes seemed to be liabilities or regrets but when looking at them through God's eyes I see the opportunity to meet needs in a way that He has uniquely equipped me to do.

As you navigate your day to day lives I encourage you to look for ways that God has equipped you where you are and I encourage you to look for the important and trust that the urgent will, indeed, be taken care of as well.

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