Friday, February 05, 2010

What Matters

Last night my tired hubby and I sat on the couch and tuned in to a PBS documentary about the Donner Party. We had actually seen it before, so I'm not sure why we decided to watch it again. Not exactly cheerful viewing. The story is so sad and so horrifying that I felt a little guilty watching it, honestly. Like we were taking in an episode of Jerry Springer or something. Something that shouldn't be spoken of in public.

I was thinking about it this morning, and about those people who endured that horrible winter in 1846-7. This optimistic group set out with dreams of wealth and success in California, many of them hauling loads of their possessions, which were gradually lost or abandoned on the difficult journey. The ones that survived and actually made it to California in the spring of 1947 could not have been the same people. The life and death struggle and horrors they witnessed must have distilled their priorities quite drastically.

And that, specifically, was the part I've been thinking about.

The day-to-day living of life lulls us into distraction. To be honest with you, it's been a little stressful around here as I adjust to a new baby and continuing on with homeschooling and keeping home and training children and not ignoring my husband in the process...and all the other responsibilities that exist.

This is my prayer, again and again: to not get bogged down in the daily stuff that does not last, the stuff that is shed as the years pass just like those precious possessions left by the Donner travelers in the Salt Desert of Utah. The stuff that ultimately doesn't matter.

Sometimes I wonder if reading online-specifically, blogs--is increasing my distraction from the things that really matter. Don't get me wrong: they are good things. Creative ideas for better homeschooling, crafting, cooking, and so on. But when I find myself feeling like I'm falling short for not being the most creative crafter...for not experimenting more in the kitchen...for not sewing or teaching all the 'extras' to my kids in our homeschool...and on top of it not taking fabulously beautiful pictures of it all, well, then, my focus is getting out of whack. I don't want to be extreme and swear off the computer or homemaking magazines. I want balance. I want to be able to maintain the right focus.

And I think this is only going to happen by the Lord working in me. I need to keep my eyes on Him, praying constantly that He will help me discern what really matters, and leave the rest behind. I need to remember how fast a year goes or ten and savor and use each moment for God's glory, not for my comfort or accomplishment or reputation.

I don't want it to take a tragedy to distill my priorities. I want to choose to do it right now by the grace of God.


Jessica said...

I really enjoyed reading your post Candice.. a lot of good things to think on and be reminded of... I too have been thinking on how much media, internet, whatever affects my thinking and leaves me wanting more whether it is material things or leaving me to feel like I'm inadequate b/c I'm not doing what this other lady is...
praying for you as you continue adjusting to your new normal...

Teena said...

My daily prayer too! Not to sweat the small stuff.... with my olders now (24 married, 21 & almost 17) I try to remember that this time with my younger 3 will soon be gone!

excellent post.


Dana said...

I was just reading Romans 12:1-2 this week, and it reminded me of how gracious God is to accept our daily work, because of Christ. So, we don't have to despair as we fulfill our daily vocations if we don't think they are done to the level we think they should! We could never do them "good enough" to be acceptable to God anyway. Thankfully, Christ's sufficiency is ours. Peace to you, my friend!