Last night I woke up about 10 times, my mind riddled with mix of real concerns and paranoia. (For an example of the latter, I took the phone off the hook at 2 am just in case someone decided to call friends.) As I lay there and thought of the week's schedule, and getting the playroom ready our upcoming house guest, and how I truly might end up on December 25th with nothing to give, my heart began to pound.
Bum BUM. Bum BUM.
I'd run a mental marathon and had gotten nowhere.
Have you heard that story about the religion class final exam?
A professor taught his students all year from the scriptures, the New Testament I believe, about compassion and Christ-like charity. He also told his class that their final exam was 100% of their grade and that it was imperative that they arrive on time.
On their way to the final the students encountered all sorts of obstacles. It was snowy and some passerbys asked for help with their vehicle, another person dropped a stack of books, a stranger asked for directions, and so on.
Most students focused on being on time for the test, and didn't stop to help.
But when they got to class, the professor informed them that they had failed.
Because the true test of whether they understood what was taught in the scriptures wasn't in the recitation of the doctrine--it was in the application.
Fair, unfair? Urban legend? Faith-promoting rumor? Whatever it is, I've been thinking about it.
Everything on my schedule is pressing. Everything is time-sensitive. But not everything is equally important.
I would like to throw out all the less-fun, more difficult matters to make room for more fluff. Who wouldn't?
But fluff distracts me from the heart of the matter. In this season we celebrate the birth of our Savior, who healed the sick, ministered to the poor, taught and by word and example, and spent His days in service and love. He died that we might be forgiven of our sins and attain eternal life. He is the Savior of the World.
I know this.
For me, right now, the hard things are most important. I have to let the other things go, even good things. It makes me sad because that means I will be letting some people down.
And if you know me, you know that is the worst thing I can imagine.
This is really hard for me.
Why are the hard things so hard?
It stinks because this means I have to cancel the one thing I really want to do today.
I think the only way to stop my heart from beating out of my chest is to focus on what really matters.
Perhaps then everything else will fall into place.