Have you ever been to church and heard that message that was JUST FOR YOU? This literally happens to me all the time. Yesterday’s message was exactly what I needed to hear. Lately I’ve been putting far too many things on my schedule. I hate open time. I feel like I’m wasting time if I am sitting still. Every minute of every day is packed with activity—some important and others not so important. Over the course of the past few weeks, my being in a rush to accomplish everything on my lengthy “to-do list” has caused me to make some mistakes. Thankfully God was able to get my attention this past weekend, and I am determined to do better. I HAVE to.
On Saturday, for example, I was sitting in one of my HR classes when I happened to glance at my oldest daughter’s dance recital schedule. After staring at it for a few moments I realized that she was scheduled to dance in Malibu at 1:30pm. It was 12p. I was in Northridge and she was in L.A. I hoped that I was reading the paper incorrectly. I called her and asked her to confirm the start time of the show. After days of my saying that her show started at 7p, she too was convinced that it started at 7p and was confused by my frenzied call.
I phoned the dance school next. Of course there was no answer. I didn’t know her teacher’s cell phone number nor did I have any parents’ numbers.
My class started at 9a and ended at 1:30p. I decided that I would have to leave an hour and a half early because it would be better to get her to Pepperdine at 1:30p and find out that she didn’t have to be there until 7p than it would be to arrive at 7p and find out that she had missed her 1:30p performance.
My next task was to tackle the infamous 405 freeway. As usual, it was packed. I frantically called my mom and dad and begged them to meet me halfway with Amari. My father agreed. I was at the point of tears because Amari had worked so hard…and I had spent so much time and money trying to make sure that everything went well for her recital.
While I waited on my father at our designated halfway mark, I really let myself have it. How could I allow this to happen? How terrible I must look to my professor for leaving class before he had finished lecturing. How could a mother get the time of something as important as her daughter’s dance recital so wrong? I was going to press Amari’s hair after I got out of class. Because of me she would have to dance with a month old hairdo. If she missed her performance it would throw off the choreography and that would definitely be a disappointment to her teacher and fellow dancers. They had all worked so hard. Oh HOW could I get the time wrong?!?!?!?
Breathe, Loureva. Be thankful. Think about it…
I usually don’t look at anything other than my coursework (and occasionally my cell phone just in case there is an emergency with the girls) when I am in class. The fact that I had noticed the recital schedule was the work of the Lord. What lesson was I supposed to learn from this? First, clearly write my plans down and then PAY ATTENTION to what I write down. When I saw the recital time written in my monthly planner and my cell phone calendar, I assumed that I had noted an earlier time as a reminder to start preparing for the show. In actuality…the calendars denoted the actual start time of the show.
Second, I have to do a better job of teaching Amari to be more responsible about the activities that she has scheduled. She can’t depend on me to have all the information and to have it all right all the time. I am human, and she can miss out on tons of marvelous opportunities if she doesn’t make physical and mental notes of the things that she has to do and stress the importance of those events to the people who can get her there.
When my father arrived with Amari, we faced our next challenge. Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). It was a beast! Amari and I prayed almost the entire car ride. When we weren’t praying I was lecturing about the lessons we should learn from the situation. We made it to the show by 1:40p and rushed backstage. The show hadn’t started yet—praise God. I rushed and did her hair and put on her makeup. I was a nervous wreck, which I’m sure was evidenced by my face. 20 minutes later I found out that Amari’s group was to perform in the second act, which meant that although we were late, God had made a way for us to be there in enough time for Amari to relax a little before she had to take the stage.
My third lesson was the reiteration that I am human. I will make mistakes. But when I do, I can’t beat myself up about them. That doesn’t help anything. Instead, I should constantly thank God for His grace, and His help, and His strength. I can’t allow myself to get stuck in the emotional doldrums. God’s will SHALL be done. If things don’t turn out the way I thought they would, I should immediately thank God, look for the lesson, and grow from it.
My fourth lesson came in church on Sunday. The minister’s first words were about getting our priorities in line with the will of God and being good stewards of our time. He said that our priorities should be studying God’s word, prayer (communing with the Master), marriage and family, our calling and/or God-given career, church, and fun.
He also said that we should tell people “no” to the things that we honestly can’t do (especially if they don’t fall in line with our priorities). I have a problem with the word "no"…and I RARELY use it…and when I do, I feel like Keith Olberman’s “Worst Person in the World!” No matter how much a thing may stretch me or stress me…I often take on more responsibility than I can handle so that I don’t burn any bridges or hurt any feelings. As a result, I’m not able to give my best to any one thing. Each thing gets a small piece of me, I forget the things that really do matter, and my defeated look and attitude causes me to miss opportunities to witness.
Today I claim victory over a ridiculously crowded schedule. I promise to involve the Lord as I decide what activities, people, and tasks will receive my time and attention. I will tell people “no” when their requests are honestly not feasible and I won’t feel bad about it. Today I vow to clearly write my agenda in my planner and visit it at the start of each day so that I don’t double-book or forget the things that I have booked. I will make sure to keep time open each week to breathe, relax and have some fun. I will be emotionally present wherever I am…