Did you even miss it? Day nine, that is. My day just absolutely got away from me. From get go to done, I felt like I was racing down a neverending hill, faster and faster, until I was crashing into my bed way later than my normal, sane bedtime.
I don’t like days like that. I like days that follow the plan, that leave me room for the things I want to get done, but also leave me room to breathe. I used to thrive on days that seemed to go 90 mph–not so much anymore. The best kind of days have space for breathing and thinking, for noticing and appreciating, for me and the people I care about.
The problem is: I can’t blame the day, even though that would be easier. I’m the one who allowed things to move in and crowd out the things I enjoy and the things I wanted (needed) to get done. I was the one who didn’t say no. I was the one who attempted to squeeze one more thing in. I was the one who allowed the urgent to steamroll right over the important.
I remember when I learned the difference. It was many years ago, reading Charles Swindoll’s book “Strengthening Your Grip.” He had a whole chapter about learning to differentiate between the urgent and the important. It was a lesson that hit me and has stuck all these thirty years later. The problem is that I tend to realize much too late that I got myself into a situation that warrants my paying closer attention to what’s happening. Sure, I can adjust, but isn’t it better to be proactive rather than always reactive?
Can you tell the difference between the urgent and the important? Oh, I wouldn’t even pretend to believe that there won’t be those moments when my holding to the important won’t be interupted by the urgent. The problem is when I sacrifice the important things, the truly valuable (especially as it relates to my spiritual life) on a continual basis to what “appears” to be urgent. This happens for me, this giving into what only appears urgent, but truly isn’t, when what is really important is also difficult. I can easily allow myself to be distracted to avoid the work of doing what is important.
Is the whole Lenten experience important to you? Or is it easier to get sidetracked by the pressing matters of the day? How is your prayer experience? Do you hold to regular quiet time with God? You feel like you should, you want to, but as important as it is, you just can’t seem to keep that appointment with him–so many other things…too many other things.
One thing that I’ve realized, too slowly I’m afraid, is that God thinks that time is important, too. And more importantly, He will help me keep those appointments. He will give us the desire of our heart. If we will trust that and live into that, I believe there will be far fewer missing day nines and much greater depth and breadth in our spiritual life and journey. Go ahead, ask Him and see what He’ll do.