Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Urgency

A couple weeks ago I was enjoying a cup of coffee and reading some of my favorite blogs when an alarm sounded on my (new) phone. I had been using a phone that displayed upcoming calendar events on the home screen, but recently switched to one that does not. I picked up the phone to read the notification and was surprised to see the words "Pediatrician appt. 1:10pm."

Care to guess what time it was when I got this alarm? 1:00pm. I'll go ahead and admit to you all that my kids were still in pajamas at this time. As I turned into a blur of clothes gathering and key finding madness, the three littles and I made it out the door and to the office by 1:20. I was actually quite impressed with myself at the time, but I doubt I could replicate it. It helps that the doctor's office is less than two miles away.

The sense of urgency that overcame me in that moment of seeing the calendar reminder pop up on my screen was intense. This was just an ordinary well check for my five month old at an office less than two miles from my house on a Tuesday afternoon. However, simply by forgetting about the obligation, I subjected myself to stress.

Stress can lead down a few different roads. One reaction can be to shut down and claim defeat. I could have called the office to reschedule or cancel the appointment, but I was concerned I might be charged for a last minute cancellation. Depending on the situation in life, giving up might not be an option. Such is the case with our Christian lives and Christian parenting. Giving up would mean not caring about eternity.

Another reaction to stress is to step into high gear and get to work. Stress can be a motivator.
That sense of urgency I experienced became a very powerful tool in streamlining my priorities for getting out the door. I wasn't going to mess with make up or making sure the childrens' clothes matched perfectly. Thankfully with a nursling, there is precious little to pack for an outing other than diapers and something to catch drool with. The toddlers seemed to sense that I meant business when I said "shoes on!" and "get straight to your car seats!"

I won't go so far as to claim that every trip out could go so smoothly if only I acted in a hurry. I give thanks that we made good time to the office, that baby girl received a good medical review and no meltdowns occurred. It seems to make sense, though, that the sincere urgency with which I mobilized my household helped us meet our goal that time.

I wonder if we recognize the urgency in our lives when it comes to focusing on the spiritual battle before us. Every now and then, I read something that brings the reality of our condition into such painfully clear focus that my heart skips a beat. The blood drains from my face suddenly and that hot streak of fear shoots up my spine. Urgency. The clarity blinds all else from my sight. Suddenly I wonder how I could ever go one moment without these thoughts pulsing right beneath the dinner plans and the doctor appointments and the sweeping and the diapers and...

before I know it, I've gone just long enough to forget again.

"Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons." Deuteronomy 4:9

2 comments:

  1. I think our natural state is one of complacency. We're not built to have a constant sense of urgency. Our adrenals couldn't take the load. That's why it's so important that we make the important things routine, rather than waiting for the alarm to go off. ;-)

    I was thinking about this last night as I watched my unbelieving sister and her husband drive off into the blue for another year of globe-trotting before they touch down to see us again. I had every intention of saying to them just how much they need Jesus, but the opportunity never presented itself. The alarm never went off, in other words. I momentarily chastised myself for not speaking out, even though it wouldn't have been at all politic for me to do so. It just never came up.

    Then I thought about how, while they were here, our routine lives, however plain, served as a stark contrast and a jarring reminder of the difference that Jesus makes all the same. They saw us pray at meals, cherish our work-a-day duties, endure suffering patiently, put our kids to bed with prayer, praise God in the small things, discipline our children by the Bible. They saw all of this. I didn't need to say a word. Let him who has ears, hear.

    We don't necessarily need to be on the alert all the time. The Holy Spirit rings those bells as necessary, if we're walking with Him. We can relax, knowing that if he rings the bell with only 10 minutes to spare, that's all the time we need. :-)

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  2. Well said, Cindy! I was going back and forth in my mind over that point as I typed because it is true that we can't exist in a constant state of urgency. I guess for myself, this urgency is pushing me to establish "the important things as routine" more than I already am.
    Chris and I often have almost the same conversation about not being outspoken enough about needing Jesus to people we know. We usually land somewhere near the same conclusion of our lives as examples doing a lot of the speaking for us.

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