I have been blessed with a handicap that forces me to live a simple life. At first, I didn’t like it, and had trouble defining what a simple life meant. But as time has progressed, I’ve learned that it boils down to a determined focus on the greatest priorities. Everything else is optional.
Each day, the list starts out rather long, but by the end of nearly every day, the list has been whittled down to the accomplishment of very few things. Most days, to the average human eye, I don’t seem to be very productive at all. Partly because my brain won’t allow me to move quickly or multitask anymore. And partly because, as interruptions and “distractions” come flooding in – which is an inevitable part of every day, I feel with intensity the drawing of God to let go of all that’s “pending” and focus on the moment, the person, in front of me.
I’m a mom. And a woman. I LOVE to finish things. Just finishing the dishes gives me a sense of accomplishment. But with my blessing of a handicap, and with my 6 children in the home, hardly anything gets finished anymore in my first attempt. I struggle with that, deeply. A growing sense of frustration rises within me each and every time I have to stop what I’m doing and mediate an argument, re-explain myself for the fifth time, re-teach or redirect my little ones (and sometimes big ones) – even though they’ve already been redirected several times. When I am called on to rescue yet another toy the dog has managed to swipe, or answer a phone call I don’t have time for, but am given the compassion for. When I begin with an organized plan, but sickness or emotional pain interrupt and comforting becomes the agenda of the day.
The argument in my mind is always that I don’t have time for these things. But God is consistently reminding me that these “things” I don’t have time for are really the “things” that matter most, to Him. Because they are opportunities to love, selflessly, intentionally, patiently, gently. I know He’s right. And I am learning to sacrifice my agenda of proposed accomplishments for a more flexible agenda with one priority: Love.
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14
At the end of each day, what matters most doesn’t matter to your boss, your syllabus, your to-do list or your long-term goals. What matters most is what matters to God. And when we pursue, or are at least willing to be interrupted for, what matters most to God, He somehow causes everything to work out as it should. We might not satisfy the god of productivity’s demands, but we will learn to be satisfied in the rest God brings to every heart that co-labors in the most important work of all: Love.
So here’s how to release this arrow: take a red pen and write the word LOVE at the top of your agenda for today! At the end of the day, when you go back over your list of things to do, celebrate if you are able to cross it off your list as completed! Even if nothing else gets done, know that God is pleased with your intention and efforts to love.
May you see every “interruption” and “disruption” today as an opportunity to slow down, breathe deep, and participate in the most holy and important job of all. May all you do, indeed, be done in love! And when you come to the end of today and ponder the question, “Did you love well today?,” may you be able to answer with a joyful “Yes!”