This past week I had a paper due. In a fit of anxiety and exhaustion whilst writing, I randomly picked up "The Courage to Change;" a daily devotional from Al-Anon that my mother gave to me quite a few years ago. It's a devotional that I have found useful in accepting what life truly is: a mixture of joyous and dreadful moments. So I thumbed my way to the correct day, read the first two sentences of the devotion:
"I read somewhere that the things that are urgent are rarely important, and the things that are important are rarely urgent. I can get so caught up in the nagging, trivial matters of day-to-day life that I forget to make time for more important pursuits."
Soothing words for my brain that was full of worries about how to question the divinity of the Trinity in my History of Christianity paper. That paper has since been turned in and is no longer the newest urgent thing; now there are 2 other urgents that I'm fretting about. Yet my importants remain neglected. This blog is one of my importants and if this blog could talk, it would be shouting a lament at me because I've left it so alone lately.
What else is lying over there in the corner while I scrabble to check off my urgents? What importants are you letting slip by as you focus on your urgents?
I think so often about about the people in my life that have dramatically changed how I think, love, and live. I appreciate these people in my heart yet I never get around to sharing that appreciation; a simple email/card could easily bump up my importants above the trivial urgents. I've even written these emails in my head when I'm biking, walking, working, or any place where writing an email is impossible; it hasn't come to fruition. Clearly I'm not placing any sort of urgency to my importants.
What about my spiritual connection to the divine? I spend so much time reading, writing, discussing, and listening to lectures about theology and the ways that people connect with God. A common worry/complaint I hear from seminarians/pastors is that they don't know where or how to feed themselves spiritually because of a few reasons: 1) Theological exhaustion; 2) Too much head thinking and not enough heart connecting; 3) No time; 4) Focusing on other people's spiritual well-being.
I find myself in this predicament often, though I can be pretty good at taking myself out of it with blues dancing, acupuncture, spiritual direction, and creative outlets. That takes a lot of dedication on my part; I have placed a lot of value on my own spiritual and emotional well being this fall, and even so, I often get into cycles of time scarcity.
My time here on Earth will always include enough time to do exactly what my heart wants to do. My heart does not want to spend that time procrastinating on Facebook or Huffington Post, getting up ridiculously early to finish a paper, and drowning out the voice of God with my anxious thoughts or constant stream of blasting music.
I want to sip my macchiatos slowly; I want to cook with gentle care. I want to hug with no abandon and write kind words to people that are probably hungry for them. I long to write because my fingers itch to write my thoughts down; I yearn for a moment when I hope that someone brings up spirituality and theology because my heart wants to connect on a deeper level and not from a space of exhaustion.
I want to rearrange the way I live out my importants; the urgents will get done but do not need to consume. My energy withers when all I have to give myself is checking off of the lists of urgent; my soul glows when my importants are at the center of all actions. It is important for me to be in graduate school but it's not important for it to suck the soul out of me, especially since the end goal is to minister to people and build up other leaders. My goal is to glow. :)