Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sharpening our Focus on What's Important

Years ago, when I started this blog, one of the things I wrote at the side of my blog as a welcome to visitors and regulars alike was this:  "Life can be messy and complicated and I have lots of questions about it...but it's my goal to learn to live each day to the fullest."

I haven't changed a word of that since starting my blog because it's still a true statement for me.  I have very few answers in life and a whole lot of questions...but I want to use life's uncertainty and messiness to focus on what's most important.

And yet, despite my best intentions, it's all too easy for the important things to take a seat on the sidelines while I dwell on the other 'stuff' that too often consumes my waking hours.

My new sister-in-law was recently confronted with very unwelcome news concerning her health and she and my brother now face a significant twist in their life's journey that is surely very different than the one they anticipated six months ago when they exchanged their vows in that beautiful riverside ceremony.  I'm sure that, for them, "in sickness and in health" has taken on new meaning.

Life is a treasure.  So fragile.  We can choose to close our eyes to the possibilities and meander our way unintentionally through life, or we can take in cupped hands this short breath we've been given and regard it for what it really is.  Precious.  Time sensitive.

This perspective, brought to precision point again by my SIL's diagnosis, has framed my somewhat different perspective over the past few weeks.  I don't want to look back and think I wish or I could'a/would'a/should'a.  I want to be intentional about life.

What is most important to me?

Deep down in my soul, the answer is so obvious.  I want my life, and the life of my family, to reflect the Creator.  My Saviour.  I want to honour God through my life, despite the gazillion times I screw this up every day.  I want to be clear about what should be, and is, driving me.

I talk regularly with my kids about how radical Jesus was.  He was no benign, placid, go-with-the-flow kind of son of God...that perception is just modern culture talking, and it's wrong.  No, He turned life-as-people-knew-it upside down, messed with all of the rules, got angry at wrongdoing and simply loved people.  He was killed for challenging the mainstream and, in so doing, he fulfilled prophecy, transformed the world, and was eternal-life-giving for those who believe in Him.

God put me here on purpose.  I am not here by mistake.  Same goes for you.  What are we going to do about this, to fulfill our life's purpose?  To be radical in how we live our lives?

As my brother and sister-in-law can attest, we live in a fallen world and, as a result, we don't know what crisis awaits us around the next corner.  For however many hours I have left, and with a goal of learning to live life to the fullest, what am I going to do to fulfill the purpose for which I was placed on this earth?  What are you?


  1. Ruth, it's interesting timing that you wrote this. My husband & I have come to realize that we are here, in our exact circumstances, totally on purpose - for God's purpose. It's painful, even excruciating at times, but we've come to realize that it's about obedience in the moment, in every step. I read Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, and today's reading ( along with Psalm 118, was especially meaningful.

    So to answer your question, I'm going to continue to breathe in & out, and to move forward in obedience in the life that my Lord has placed me. It's not the life I wanted or hoped for, but it IS the life He has chosen me for. No looking back. No comparisons. (Comparison - the thief of joy) I chose to trust. I chose to thrive. And I'm going to put my roots down deep by the stream, and then, when the heat comes, my leaves will stay green. (Jer 17: 7-8). You need a plan, and you need to stick by it, no matter what. That's it for me.

  2. Thanks C - lovely to hear from you on this subject. You know, my kids and I were talking just yesterday afternoon about listening to God in the every-day kind of moments...and how it's so easy to ignore him, etc etc.

    When I used to contemplate bigger-life questions like the one I've blogged about today, I used to have grand plans and dreams and notions and such stuff. Now, the more I think about things, the more I realize that it's about living life today. A lot of my bigger dreams have gone by the wayside, but I don't even feel sad about it anymore. I feel like I'm at the right place in my life at the right time...and that feels increasingly ok. I have plans, I still have dreams, but they're quite a bit different than they used to be. Hope that makes sense.

    Hmm...I liked your comment about comparisons being the thief of joy. Yes, I agree with that - if there's one thing that wrecks my discontent (whether about h/schooling/unschooling or about anything in life) it's comparing myself to what others are doing...that's what often leads me to panic.

    Anyway, thanks for furthering the discussion and for your insights.


  3. 'Comparison is the thief of joy' Theodore Roosevelt. I can't take credit! ;)