(Actually writing this down is a little embarrassing. It seems painfully obvious once it’s in print, but here ya go):
Barring other hardships, we really do do what we want to do. But, if you don’t get something done, that doesn’t have to mean it’s not at all important to you, or that you don’t care about it; it primarily means that you care about something else more.
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This train of thought started with I’m Stuck, which I wrote after a Sunday School teachers’ meeting where I was fixated the idea that because I don’t do better/more preparation I must not want to. It made me feel that I must either be very undisciplined or simply not value my role of teaching the little children.
Neither of which I felt was quite accurate or fair.
In Getting Un-stuck, I shared a sort of “holding pattern” God led me to while my plane of thought (Oooo– I’m upgrading! Hmm, Or down? Anyway…) circled around to queue up for another attempt at a coherent landing.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Yesterday I sat down and made a list in one of those SAT, go-with-your-first- instinct sort of ways. Up to this point I think I was putting things into two categories (this is where the trouble in Stuck came from, I believe):
- Want to/important to me– I do.
- Not important to me/don’t want to do/not interested– I don’t do.
I felt an embarrassing sense that what was important or unimportant to me could be ascertained merely by looking at what I did and didn’t do.
And now I think that is only partially true.
Yesterday I suddenly had three categories (which, technically, was four categories, since I didn’t list anything from the above #2).
I began creating a more finely articulated hierarchy of priorities. Everything on the list was important to me, or I wouldn’t have put it there.
Sunday school came in at tier 3, which was utterly appropriate, even when I came back to think on it more.
- Tier 1 had to do with our nuclear family, God, and my callings/ability.
- Tier 2 was those things I’m primary responsible for and/or want to do. They make my daily life more rich and peaceful.
- Tier 3 was where my periphery interests sit, and the things I do simply because they need to be done.
Jay asked, “So you really put teaching Sunday school lower than doing housework?”
“Well, yes,” I said (having my epiphany). “Home is supposed to come before outside ministry. Putting Sunday school in tier three didn’t lower teaching as much as it raised (emphasized) that housework sits at Tier 2.”
That was one of those needed-to-write-down-to-understand things.
I seem to have a lot of those… But at least I’ve got the mechanism down.