Are You Living a Life of Urgency or Importance?

I got a lot of things done yesterday and by the time I had finished cleaning up after dinner, I was tired. Really tired. So, today, I’m taking a bit of a slower morning by sipping on some coffee we roasted the end of last week, and looking out on the snow capped mountain just a mile to the South. Yes, snow, we got a dusting or so last week and it has stuck around. I’m thankful for the view from our 15th floor apartment. True, there are buildings being constructed which will hinder our view a bit, but it’s still nice. Especially when it gets closer and closer to winter and the sunlight is minimal to the South. But, I digress….

I was sitting here sipping on this wonderful Ethiopian coffee reflecting on urgent things and important things. I was challenged recently (in a book) to really examine what is urgent and what is important every day. There are a million things (ok, admittedly an exaggeration ) that seem to be urgent these days. The fact that we are uber connected with 4g, wifi, phones, computers and everything else, it’s hard to escape from the “urgent.” Don’t get me wrong, there are urgent things, emergencies they’re called, where we have emergency numbers like 911 in my home country. Yes, there is a reason for them. But it seems that things that we were “forced” to wait on, to think on, to sleep on, back when I was younger, have been thrust into the “urgent” category today. Thinking back to biblical times, it may take months to receive a message. Or perhaps during the 40’s, it would be a phone call that was delayed or perhaps a telegram. But today, today urgent things take place multiple times a day, and come through a variety of different means. Oh the “urgent.”

I don’t know why, this urgency. Perhaps it makes us feel important. Or, we may feel needed. Maybe we feel that if we are in the know, we have more power or control. Who knows. But it seems to me that “urgent” may not equal “important.”

For example, our oldest son (G-dawg) is in sixth grade, middle school, and has started playing volleyball. He’s super excited about playing a sport and loves that he gets to play other schools. He played soccer for a short season when he was five and a little when he was seven, but for the most part, he’s never really played on a sports team. Last week I was in and out of meetings trying to nail down a spot for a branch of our cafe and roasterie. We had been meeting with a land owner and going back in forth on negotiations for three weeks. There was another meeting that was called that would have conflicted with my son’s game. The meeting was urgent. It had been three weeks after all, and we wanted to finally get something signed and move forward. But, I would have missed G’s game (outwardly he’s embarrassed when mom and dad are there because we cheer fiercely, inwardly…he loves it ;). So, I had a choice. Take the urgent thing…or engage with the important thing. I made the choice to postpone the conversation until another time. And, I’m glad I did, it was a great game and they ended up winning. And a day later, the contract was signed and we could move forward.

I would love to say (because I’m a prideful person) that I make the choice for the important things more times than not, but I don’t. It’s more accurate for me to say that I allow the urgent to dictate my life. Then, I blame the times with family missed on being a victim of the urgent. When instead I could chose the important and be thankful for what I have in those moments, leaving the not-really-urgent “urgent” things for a more opportune time.

That was a small example, I know. But there are times when we need to chose what is important, not what is urgent. Urgency and urgent things will never end as long as there are people who live on this earth, and especially, if technology continues to progress like it has. Urgent things will also fade and become less urgent, just like our technology does. What was hip, cool and top of the line today, will soon be forgotten when the next model comes out in four months. So it is with urgent things-they will get sorted out and soon, they won’t be urgent anymore. This idea is along the same lines of worrying and what Jesus mentions in Luke 12. He says “By worrying, who can add a single hour to your life?” Which, is a really good question. I know how many hours it can take away when I scour the internet searching for that “urgent” thing, or take that “urgent” call….and it’s a lot. Those are hours I cannot get back, no matter how hard I try.

This is part of changing our daily narrative, what I wrote about last week. Just like the Ethiopian coffee I’m drinking, one degree in temperature can make a massive difference in the flavor of the coffee, so can making small changes in our daily narrative. They can have huge impacts in the larger story of our lives and legacy. So raise your glass-here’s to us to start making small changes!

What about you, have you seen small changes making massive impacts? Share your story, it helps us all grow!

be blessed today

Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/doresearchpaper
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