What is most important

What is most important?

This is a question that marks my days no matter what my state of mind or health.  Every day for as long as I can remember, I got up and set goals for my waking hours.  Even if I have to modify them over and over again before the day is done, I have a mental list of what I hope to do.  It’s just how I am wired.  Some things get written down and some do not.  Before long I meet with the Lord and we go over things.  Usually some changes follow!

Proverbs 16:9 New International Version (NIV)

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.

If I’m not sure what to do (when overwhelmed or facing a barrier of some sort) then I stop and ask the Lord about it.  He knows my situation in addition to the desires of my heart and usually answers in a way that draws me closer to Him.  Sometimes I am challenged in obeying His leading.  That is always a mistake.  Things always go better if I follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, usually to read my Bible or listen to Bible teaching.  The day that follows always goes better that way.

When we are battling an illness or caring for a loved one our personal resources are limited.  Additionally, we may never know when that reservoir of energy or cognitive capacity will run out so we must make our best guess and proceed accordingly.  Will new demands change everything?  It is really hard to be flexible when our hopes are dashed over and over again, less gets done, and we become overwhelmed. So we strive to keep our spirits high and go with the flow, right?  “Let go, let God” as the 12-Steppers teach? There is always tomorrow, right?

Plans changing repeatedly over the course of the day or night has dominated my past 5 years so much that I practically numb out when it happens again.  I am not sure if this is a good idea or not?  What follows for me is pursuing smaller and smaller tasks after answering the question:  what is most important?  Often what has happened next fits the category more of survival than enjoyable:  get that rescue remedy from the frig . . . I will help you walk to the kitchen . . . trust me and push yourself up to get your legs working again.  Don’t worry, you won’t fall.  I tell you, this principle of setting priorities gets REAL really fast when in a time of crisis!

That may be an extreme example for you, Gentle Reader, so I will just say this a different way.  We both will be o.k. if we set our plans before the throne of grace and let the Lord guide is in all things big and small.  He cares for the details of our lives.  As He orders our steps He also gives us the power to take those steps too.  What is most important always gets done this side of heaven.  We didn’t die because the bathrooms didn’t get cleaned or we had to eat canned meat for dinner!  Dwelling in the presence of my Savior is the best food, fitting for my soul anyways.  And that dwelling happens best when completely in the arms of our Heavenly Father who loves us so!

As my brother, Mike, has often said:  just keep moving forward.  Yup.  When I can I do.  And sometimes that means staying right where I am for a while.  Rest is important too ya know . . .  JJ

scripture, Bible, Christian, to do list, list, priorities, important, Proverbs 19:9


The German Shepherd Gets It

All we have is this moment in time.  I mean who can make sure a birthday cake comes out right tomorrow when it is today?  Who can redo a soggy flower bed from last year on a wintery day?  The best strategy is to stay in the moment where we can do our best to be mindful of the Lord and if He leads, do our best work, best thinking, best living.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

These themes were revealed today by our German shepherd dog, Elle.  I decided to push the limit of my activity level and do a few things outdoors in the heat.  After making it through my husband’s kayak race at the Fort Wayne Riverfest, I was very warm, straining to function and all-around uncomfortable.  Nonetheless, since I was still covered with sunscreen and bug spray so when I got home, I figured this would be a good time to replant 2 pots, feed our acid-loving plants in the patio garden, and so on before coming into the house to take a shower.  Elle was outside with me doing the things she likes to do too:  sniff, sniff, sniff!  Not 15 minutes had gone by before our generally obedient pup was gone from my watchful eye.  “Whhhhhhit,” I called.  No dog.  She usually comes racing around the house back to me when I whistle for her.  Hmmmm.

But of course!  It’s very humid and above 80 degrees F outside today.  The clouds are long gone and she was panting rather hard not long after joining me in the yard.  Guess the sip of water from the garden hose wasn’t enough for her.  Elle had taken herself for a swim!  She loves to “play hippo” as my husband calls it, in the neighborhood pond behind our property.  She stays in the water long enough to cool her belly then wanders out into the public area around the pond to sniff out some rabbit tracks and inspect the perimeter of our neighbor’s backyard.  I whistled a little louder.  Yeah, a wet dog came a running!

Julie Spring Flowers 015

The German shepherd gets it.  She got hot.  She wanted relief.  She went for a swim in the pond and came back to her usual activities thereafter.  Oh to be able to think like a dog sometimes!  Elle keeps it simple.  Not me.  I continued to pot up some vinca flowers despite the sweat running into my eyes causing tremendous burning, first the right eye and then the left.  “I can’t stop,” I tell myself, “because I would have to go into the house to wash my hands then go to the bathroom and get distracted by 5 other things and never get back outside to finish if I do.”  Geez.  In the 12-Step programs they used to call that “stinking thinking.”  To do first that which is most important is another slogan from my ACOA days.  Maybe I don’t trust myself when I’m feeling crummy?  Guess I haven’t learned to apply all of the slogans yet.  Guess I’m still struggling with a pared down version of Matthew 6:34 as well.  Forget worrying about tomorrow, I’m stressed about the next moment!

The significance of this behavior goes beyond the sweat in my eyes.  I am also dealing with and increase in noxious symptoms from a short course of antibiotics for an infection.  Add to that the aftermath of two terrible episodes of seizure attacks before and after an MRI yesterday, broken sleep, heat intolerance requiring me to leave the races before some additional events, and low blood sugar,  it seems like I should be inside the house taking care of myself anyways.  Sigh.  But I want to work in my garden!

I want to do it all and it hurts me sometimes when I do.  In doing so, I get in my own way of feeling good.  So I’m going to be gentle with myself as I work on this tendency and apply some Biblical truth that will last, will transform me.  Let’s see, at the time I am writing this the internet connection went down.  I copied the draft into a word document so I wouldn’t lose my precious thoughts.  This means that I can’t search some fancy Bible verse website for just the right verse to get me moving in the right direction.  It also means that I must go and get out the Big Book itself.  Hmmmmm again.  I haven’t had my quiet time with the Lord yet today.  Perhaps you can guess, gentle reader, what needs to happen next?

Seeya later.  It’s time my moment counts for Him and not me.  We’ll talk later.


Addendum:  As soon as I turned off the computer the Holy Spirit gave me the verse before the one above.  Thank you Lord

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33