Monday, May 23, 2011

Sitting Under the Shade of an Oak Tree

I mentioned I'm reading 'Freedom from Tyranny of the Urgent" by Charles E. Hummel. A few of you asked for more thoughts, and since I've made my way through it a bit I thought I'd take a few minutes to share.

To start, quotes that hit me like a sledgehammer.

"Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important ones." 

"Your fast pace may be an indication that you have lost your sense of direction."

"Reevaluate priorities and free up some time to make the most of important opportunities.

"Is this trip necessary?"

"We can keep busy for hours meeting other people's expectations."

"The issue is NOT lack of time, rather choices you make."

"The key is not to prioritize activities on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."

"Ask, who are the important people in my life, and what claim do they have on my time?"

"Put first things first and we get second things thrown in; put second things first and we lose both first and second things." C. S. Lewis

"You are indispensable only until the moment you say no."

"Make a graceful exit."

Reading this book has been life-shaping for me. I was rushing here and there, keeping others happy but not me, or those who matter the most to me. So changes were / are in order. So far I've....
  • cancelled all magazine subscriptions that were home decor, cooking, etc., those that I rarely picked up and read. 

  • quit Newcomers Club. I joined it because of a new friendship, but after half a dozen meetings it wasn't something I really enjoyed. 

  • took off our calendar all activities we didn't really want to attend. We also decided against taking a 5 day trip with the church this fall. 

  • made the decision not to attend mid-week Bible studies at the church. 

  • changed the day we serve at the Care Center to every Wednesday. This was key, allowing us to drive into town twice a week, scheduling appointments on this day. We'll love saving the gas money but more important we'll love the time we've gained spent at our home on the lake.

We actually added a few things to our schedule / lives. We're making plans to go on a mission trip, to Guatamala, this fall. It was on our bucket list, and we're really looking forward to that. We made plans to go to my brother's wedding, and pick my Dad up along the way, then head out for a few days of vacation, just the two of us. Usually after a family get-together I'm ready for a few days of quiet and calm.  I ordered a new devotional book by Deitrich Bonhoeffer. I subscribed to Real Simple, the one magazine I pay full price for every single month at the checkout. I also subscribed to Texas Monthly and Texas Highway, to plan out trips with my husband who loves to travel and whose love language is quality time.

I also made a commitment to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night, and 8 is better for me. I came to a big realization - I'm not a big crowd person, and not all that social either. Getting together with one friend, or a couple of couples is great, but that's enough for me for awhile. After that I'm ready to retreat back home to my sanctuary to recharge. Just realizing that should save me from making more poor choices of how to spend my time in the future. And if I'm scheduled too tight, or with crowds of people too much of the time I tend to sacrifice enough sleep, getting up too early to have some 'personal space.'

Already we feel the effects of these changes, seeing 'white space' on our family calendar. How I wish I'd read this book 20 years ago, or more. I read a quote, 'the best time to plant an oak tree is 30 years ago; the second best time is today." Not sure of the author, but I'm planting oak trees today that will provide shade for me and my family in years to come.

P.S. Please excuse the extra bullet points above. Figuring out how to eliminate them is just not that important!

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