The person who trembles fighting to protect every minute of his life is the freest of all men ~ Sunday Adelaja.
My husband and I banter about many things. A recurring theme is my constant busyness, which often prevents me from relaxing and being in the moment. Case in point: this Canada Day, I hurriedly prepared a family breakfast of scrambled eggs, Canadian back bacon, sliced red vine tomatoes, buttered toast, and brewed tea. As our lips smacked and our tummies shimmied in anticipation of the meal, we gathered around the dining table to dig in. It was barely 2 minutes before I jumped up to start busying myself with something else … only to hear dear hubby’s disapproving voice, “Can you just chill and enjoy breakfast for a minute?”
Maybe you’ve heard the Bible story of when Jesus visited the home of his dear friends Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42):
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Urgency vs Importance
How many of us constantly feel rushed? Or experience that looming feeling that time is running out, yet there’s still much to do? The story of Mary and Martha offers wonderful lessons on defining priorities and valuing time. Prominent characters in this story are busyness, distraction, worry, priorities, and choice.
While Martha was distracted with her duties, Mary had discovered the importance of Jesus’ visit and connected with him to listen and learn. Like Martha, I often find myself busy with much “doing.” I get distracted with things that I consider important—those nagging tasks and preparations.
Jesus told Martha that she was worried and troubled about many things. Boy haven’t I heard that before! Sometimes when I’m busy taking care of the home, I find myself getting frustrated and resentful. I get overwhelmed by the litany of tasks waiting to be completed, and probably complain a little too much about having to do it all … pauvre moi :(.
Stephen Covey said it best, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” We must resist the urge to get sucked into that orbit of constant busyness where urgent tasks and responsibilities are screaming for our attention.
Don’t get me wrong, Martha shouldn’t be vilified for being a highly motivated, energizer-type who wanted to get stuff done. As Jesus pointed out, Martha’s problem was that she overlooked the “main” thing; she struggled to make the best use of her time—failure to prioritize. So our challenge is to be less like Martha and more like Mary, who chose what was better and what truly mattered. A great infographic on setting priorities is shown below.
Focus on the one thing
The one thing that Jesus values above all else is time spent sitting at his feet—listening, learning, and bonding. Moving forward, I’ll choose to spend more time with the people I love, rather than worrying about the many things that seem urgent. Time spent in meditation, prayer, and introspection will help me separate what is important from what is not important.
Have you defined what is important to you? What is the one thing in your life that supersedes everything? Find that one thing that is needful, stick to it, and avoid getting distracted and anxious about other things. Because if you choose what’s important, it won’t be taken away from you.
Don’t let your super busy lifestyle rob you of the most important things in life. As you schedule your minutes, hours, days, and weeks, focus a little more on “being” rather than “doing.”
Life is given only once. Choose wisely.