This is the first of an ongoing series of posts about “Stuff My Pastor (Pastor Wayne) Said” that made me think. I love my church. It’s a big reason Kelly and I wanted to move back here. We made lifelong friends at this church when we lived here before, and even though some of our most loved friends have moved on to do great things in other great places, we feel like this is where our family needs to be right now. I like leaving every week with thoughts to chew and digest through the week. It feels good to want to go to church again.
I’ve been thinking about something my pastor said during the first message of 2013. He was talking about moving beyond our good intentions. Most of us start off each new year intending to do better and be better but fall short because just setting goals isn’t enough. I can intend to eat healthier and exercise. I can wear cute workout clothes and running shoes all day. I can even “pin” 131 ab exercises and “clean eating” recipes, but none of those activities will result in a healthier me at the end of the day if wishing, hoping, even planning is all I do.
This is not new information. But then something Pastor Wayne said made me think. He said 85% of the stuff we do every day are tasks anyone else could do. Eat meals, answer emails, post lame status updates on Twitter, fold laundry: anyone could do those things. Ten percent of what we do someone with training could do. B.C. (before children), I was a registered nurse. I had to go to school and pass a test to get a nursing license, but anyone else with a nursing license could do the things I did as a nurse. But 5% of what I do, no one else can do and that is what I am going to be held accountable for at the end of my life. To move beyond good intentions, I have to identify that 5% and plan all of my activities accordingly. Pastor Wayne encouraged us to write our five percent in our calendars so we would be reminded daily of what should be most important.
So what is my 5%?
First, only I can keep myself spiritually fit. No one else can spend time reading the Bible for me. No one else can grow closer to God for me. I have to do that for myself.
Second, only I can be Kelly’s wife. No one else better even try.
Third, only I can be my kids’ mom. And at least for this season, only I am called to be their teacher.
Fourth, only I can be the daughter, sister, and friend to those God has put in my life to love.
Those relationships are my God-given right and responsibility. At the end of time, no one else will be held accountable for what kind of wife or mother or friend they had but me.
Fifth, only I can take care of my physical well being. Oh, how I wish I could farm that chore out to anyone crazy enough to enjoy exercising because I do not, but at the end of the day, I have to take care of this body that God gave me.
Finally, only I can show up in my own life. Only I can live and love my life to the fullest. No one else can appreciate the blessings of my life for me. I get to do that and if I don’t, no one misses out on my life more than I do.
It’s not necessarily what we do in life that will count at the end, it’s how much of what God asked us to do that we actually did that will matter. Just because I’m busy doing good things doesn’t mean I’m busy doing the right things.
Under each item on my calendar I’ve listed a practical step I can take this month to make sure that my 5% is my priority. For example, I wrote down that I would start journaling my alone time with God again. I wrote that I would work on speaking to my children in a calm voice. I wrote that I would work towards getting 7 hours of sleep at least 3 times a week and start taking my vitamins again. For each item I listed I wrote something I could actively do.
Since I’ve started working on my 5%, I’ve had to make some changes. I’ve had to say no to some good things in order to make room for even better things.
I’m still figuring things out. Last week, I read a post my friend Meredith wrote that resonated with me in this new “5% Season.” She asked her husband to look at her schedule with her to help her find more white space. I thought this was brilliant because, A, sometimes we need objective eyes on a situation to see what we can’t, and B, that had to make John feel like a validated and trusted member of her team. She made me realize it would be prudent to make an accounting of how I’m spending my time each day by writing it down so I can see what I do each day. I know I fritter away minutes I would desperately love to have to do worthwhile things. Or simply to have white space to dream….or write on my blog that I desperately miss.
I also read a post from Shaun Groves that made me realize I need to take care of my body and do the things I’ve always “intended” to do while I still have the health and youth (comparatively speaking anyway) to do them.
It has all been food for thought. Kind of like this verse: Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts (Psalm 90:12).
How do you number your days? Any tips for keeping the most important things the most important things?