Thought #5: There’s a difference between what’s important and what’s urgent

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephasians 5:15-17 ESV)

Let’s look at the definitions of “urgent” and “important…”

urgent |ˈərjənt|
adjective
(of a state or situation) requiring immediate action or attention : the situation is far more urgent than politicians are admitting. See note at crucial .
• (of action or an event) done or arranged in response to such a situation : she needs urgent treatment.
• (of a person or their manner) earnest and persistent in response to such a situation : an urgent whisper.

 

important |imˈpôrtnt|
adjective
of great significance or value; likely to have a profound effect on success, survival, or well-being : important habitats for wildlife | it is important to avoid monosyllabic answers | [ sentence adverb ] the speech had passion and, more important, compassion.
• (of a person) having high rank or status.
• (of an artist or artistic work) significantly original and influential.

It’s a shame that events like those in Connecticut last week are what it takes sometimes to make us stop and think…get our priorities in order.
When our children are graduating, getting married and having kids of their own, what will we look back and remember?
  • Our little girl asking us to sit down and read a book, but we were too busy checking emails?
  • Our teenager wanting us to meet her for lunch, but we have too many errands to run?
  • Our kids begging to go to the pool, but we say it’s just too hot outside…so we stay home and mow the lawn instead?
 What will they look back and remember?
  • How the cabinets and floors sparkled every Saturday night in preparation for a new week?
  • How much fun dad always had playing golf every Saturday?
  • How mom sat at the computer every waking hour of the day? (Stepping on my own toes bigtime)
  • How dad’s coworkers respected him because he was at the office by 7:00 am and didn’t leave work until after 7:00 pm?
  • How there was always one more thing that had to be done before they could go out and play?
There is a huge difference between what is urgent and what is important. In our fast-paced days, the line between the two gets easily blurred.
My hubby and I can open up our emails at any given moment and have a thousand or more. The urge to clean out that inbox is intense, but how many of those emails are really important?
I have to stop and give God some praise for blessing me with such an awesome husband. I’m sure if he reads this post he will be difficult to live with for a few days, but nevertheless…he loves to play golf, yet he rarely does. To be good at golf, he says you have to play often, which usually means Saturdays. He decided when our kids were little that having a good golf game was not what he wanted to look back on when he was old. He wanted to look back on Saturdays spent as a family. Hiking, movies, swimming…whatever we did, we did it together. And we still do. For David, family comes absolutely first. Not to say that we haven’t had tough times. We’ve had our share of marital issues, especially when I was battling addiction and depression. But by the grace of God, David persevered. And God delivered me. Whew! I sure am glad those years are over!
Back on topic…urgent vs. important. 
  • The laundry room is overflowing, but my kids want us to bake cookies and watch a movie. We may be going naked next week.
  • I’m really not hungry and need to go to Wal-Mart before Marlee gets out of school, but Miranda and her boyfriend want me to meet them for lunch at La Fogata. Am I going to remember going to Wal-Mart (again) or having lunch with my soon-to-be-in-college daughter? So what if they only want me there so I will pay?
  • I had to be up early to work Friday morning, but the premier of the much anticipated Hunger Games movie was at midnight that particular Thursday night and Trevor really wanted to go.
I was really sleepy on Friday.
But it was important.
We made a memory. 
When you make that “to do” list every day, stop and evaluate what’s urgent, and what’s important. Be sure to leave room for those impromptu moments that just might become a favorite memory. (You know, when you’re putting up groceries and you just happen to accidentally spray the can of whipped cream at any moving target in the kitchen?) Make memories. The good kind. The emails, the laundry, and the dog hair on the floor will all still be there. Even when you do accomplish those tasks, I promise they will all return again.
The opportunity to make memories may not.
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Comments

  1. I’ve been struggling with this very thing, Celeste! And to be honest, I guess I’ve always struggled with it. It just seems it’s more prevalent today with email. Like you, I never get caught up on email. Every time I open my computer, I see FAILURE when I see my Inbox.

    And the problem is, there really are IMPORTANT emails buried in the midst of those not important ones…what if I miss them? I’ve spent most of my writing life trying to get a handle on things, and yet, I still struggle.

    But after reading your post, I’ve made the decision to leave my computer behind when Gary and I travel an hour away today. Just the thought of it doesn’t make sense in the analytical (itsy-bitsy as it is) part of my brain. After all, that’s an hour up there and an hour back I could get work done! But thanks to your post, I’m leaving it behind today. Thanks. I think.

    • Thanks Vonda. I’ve taken the last few months working on this WordPress blog, and it’s given me a chance to step back a little and realize I don’t have to read every writer’s email I’m signed up for, and if I miss a little lesson somewhere, it’s okay. I’ve missed writing, which is good…that means I’m supposed to be doing it. But the world hasn’t caved in yet either! So sometimes I even look at my emails in group by subject and just delete bunches at a time that I know don’t have life-threatening or life-giving information in them. Priorities are hard to realize sometimes, and it often takes another’s point of view to realize it.

  2. Elizabeth Meaders says:

    How absolutely powerful this message is! Thanks for reminding me!!! I still try to “do it all” which is certainly unnecessary and absolutely unhealthy!

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