Intentional Living in an Urgent World

This time of year it can be difficult to remember to slow down. Between sports, family outings, holidays, holiday shopping, church, and everything in between, it can feel like there are hardly enough hours in the day.

However, one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves and for our family is to remember to slow down, calm our thoughts and our hearts, and spend time meditating on the Word of God.

The Psalms have a lot to say about what happens when we spend time in the Presence of the Lord!

“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.” Psalm 19:7

“But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Psalm 1:2-3

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

God’s presence is a constant source of refreshment, prosperity, and joy in our lives, something even more important when we are in a busy season. But, despite its importance, it can feel easier to spend time doing all the other things that fight for our attention.

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Our attention is split between four different types of tasks: urgent-important, urgent-unimportant, non-urgent-important, and non-urgent-unimportant. Those activities that are urgent, taking your kid to basketball practice, making dinner for your family, answering the phone etc. are the activities that will tend to dominate your life. However, there are many non-urgent activities that are very important, such as prayer and Bible reading!

The problem with non-urgent activities is that by the time they become urgent, our life is usually in disarray! Have you ever had to rush a load of laundry because someone is completely out of clean pants or underwear? How about hand washing some forks or plates because someone neglected to stay on top of the dishes? Have you ever found yourself praying, for the first time in days or weeks, because you find yourself struggling emotionally?

As parents, we have to learn how to run our lives so that our lives don’t run us, and we do that by prioritizing the important, but non-urgent activities. When we allow ourselves to be ruled by the urgent, we allow ourselves to be run by interruptions.

We have to possess an attitude of excellence toward every area of our life. We need to make the time to do the important, but non-urgent things first, so that we aren’t driven off-course by the urgent things that come up in our life!

So what does this look like for you? Find a time during your day, a time that is sacred and uninterrupted. Maybe it’s early morning before the kids get up, maybe it’s a lunch break at work. Whatever time it is, make sure that it is sacred. No chore or email or text can pull you away from that time. Use that time to do those non-urgent but incredibly important things!

Make a list of non-negotiables for your day--spending time with the Lord, doing a load of laundry, taking the kids to soccer practice, making a home-cooked dinner. Maybe your family has specific traditions and activities that are important to you! Family devotions before breakfast, tech-free time at night, maybe you take each of your children on a one-on-one outing every week or every month. Decide for yourself what your non-negotiables are and divide them into urgent and nonurgent. You have already decided that they are important!

Schedule the things you have to do every day first and then build around them. Find a time for everything that is important to you. Even when you feel tired, or even when you feel run down, remember that nothing you do for the Lord is ever done in vain. The act of parenting in itself is a divine assignment from the Lord! Everything you do to manage your family and raise your children is done for God.

When we make time to intentionally pursue the things of God, our children will follow this example! What they see you do, they will do. What they think is normal they will be more likely to establish a pattern of doing later in their life. As we approach life intentionally, we also help our children establish healthy patterns in their lives. If you want something to be normal for your kids, you have to make it normal for yourself first!

Providing ourselves the opportunity to meditate in the Word of God will always result in us being more productive and having a greater grace to handle the many challenges of parenthood. We will be springs of living water to those around us! We will manage our interruptions without allowing our lives to be run by them.

How do you make time in your day for the things you find important? What do you put at the top of that list? Comment on Facebook to join the conversation! We love you and pray that you would be a blessing to your children as you continue to grow in the Lord!