Focusing on What Matters

Devotionals from Leslie Ludy and the Set Apart Girl Team

Focusing on What Matters

by Leslie Ludy | September 12, 2013

The other day, I knew I’d reached my mental max point when I caught myself putting a pair of shoes in front of my wiggling and distracted four-year-old, and telling him firmly to “eat!”   Then realizing my blunder I quickly said, “Uh, I mean, put your shoes on!”  Wow.  Talk about a serious case of Mommy-brain.  Usually when I catch myself in these kinds of scenarios, I realize that I’m moving a little too fast, filling my mind with too much mental clutter, and cramming in just a few too many things into my day.  With four young kids at home and all the intensities and challenges of ministry life, it’s all too easy for me to rush through my day from one thing to the next, barely stopping long enough to take a breath.  And at the end of these kinds of high-speed days, I realize that I may have gotten a lot accomplished, but I haven’t truly lived. 

Several years ago I read a little book called The Tyranny of the Urgent by Charles Hummel.   The book very effectively captures the pitfall of exchanging the truly important things in life for the seemingly “urgent” things of the moment.  Rather than taking time to invest in someone’s life in an eternal way, listen and understand my children’s hearts, or spend long hours in prayer and seeking Christ, it’s easy to allow “urgent” tasks to consume my time.  And when I fall into that trap, all I have to show for my day is a checked-off “to-do” list and a wandering, distracted mind.  This certainly doesn’t mean that hard work and getting things done is wrong.  But with my type-A personality, I have to be extra-intentional about slowing down and focusing on what really matters. 

Lately, I’ve been tempted to go straight to my phone or computer the moment I wake up – because there are quite a few “urgent” projects that I’m in the middle of and I want to see if any important emails or phone calls are waiting for me.  But a day that begins like that is a disastrous day, filled with stress and preoccupation with tasks.  When I begin my day with stillness of soul, focus on Truth, and time in the presence of my King, the rest of the day stays on track and keeps me from being under the thumb of urgency.  And when I see those little warning signs that I’m moving too fast, like telling my child to eat his shoes, that's when I know I need to take a few deep breaths and slow down.  Instead of just trying to get through the moment and accomplish the task of getting my child’s shoes on, I need to stop for a minute and engage with my little guy, poke him in the tummy, kiss him on the cheek and laugh at his nonsensical jokes.  A day spent on “important” things may not impress anyone with a long list of accomplishments.  But the important things are the things that that will remain for eternity, when everything else fades away.

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 1 Cor 3:12-13