Being an extreme planner is both a blessing and a curse. It has allowed me to wrap up the final details for our wedding, move into a new house, plan two Christmas concerts at two different schools, all while trekking through the busyness of day to day life during the Holiday Season. I would be lying if I would say that I am able to do all of this stress free….but I can, however, admit that I am not crippled by the weight of everything. Praise the Lord for blessing my brain with organization!
So, while being a planner is a blessing when it comes to organizing big events, planning has the ability to stall my daily life. You see, I LOVE my to do lists. I have a to do list for basically everything I do. I even have a to-do list to remind me about my to-do lists waiting for me on my classroom desk. As I go about my day and cross off items I fulfilled, I am left with a sense of accomplishment. If I am unable to complete certain tasks or am caught off guard and my day to not go as planned, I feel rattled. It is so easy to live life urgently this way! If I dont maximize every second of the day...I feel lazy or incompetent.
If I am not careful, I am so busy checking off items on my to-do list that I am unable to live presently. You see, my mind is constantly looking ahead instead of focusing on what is happening right now. Can you relate?
Each one of us can fall under the spell of living urgenty. It may be because of a demanding job, a busy home life, a personality trait, or maybe a certain stage of life keeps you bustling. Urgent time is not present time. You can not live urgently and presently simultaneously.
God's time is present time. Hebrew 3:13 tells us ‘Encourage yourselves daily while it is still today. So that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.’ A key word in this verse is ‘today’. God did not say encourage yourself after everything on your to-do list is accomplished. He did not say encourage yourself tomorrow or next week. He said, ‘encourage yourself while it is still today.’ He desires to walk alongside us every moment but rarely do we allow him to do so. When we are so focused on what is next, we forget to pay attention to how God is working in the present moment.
This advent season I have made it a goal to pay attention to all the ways God is walking alongside me. I have applied three small steps which have allowed me to live out each day presently.
Find ways to slow down. This includes setting boundaries and giving yourself permission to set the to-do list aside. For example, I had a large pile of tasks to accomplish for our school concert this week that I had hoped to get done over the weekend. It turns out, I did not even open my school bag. It was important to me that I embraced the spontaneous quality time with my sisters. I will get my school work done at school Monday morning.
Stop complaining. When we complain we focus on the negative. This negative mind shift can quickly turn into resentment and add additional stress. I have made it a goal to invite the Holy Spirit into areas of frustrations. I always feel better when I bring it to the Lord in prayer. When someone asks about your day, take a few seconds to pause and reflect on the positive aspects of your day before spewing and complaining.
Find ways to be grateful. Everything we have is a gift from God. It creates a positive mindshift when we thank Him. Once again, this creates an opportunity to pay attention to the ways that He is working each day. Before I go to bed each night I call to mind one thing that I was the most grateful for that day.
I invite you to apply these steps to your life if your ever feeling yourself living urgently and not living for today. I pray that the last few weeks of Advent present opportunities for you to slow down, surrender your busy schedule and to embrace living presently with the people around you.
Until next time~Your sister in Christ,