Sunday, April 3, 2011

Right Now

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, 'Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow' -- when you now have it with you."  Proverbs 3:27-28

What a convicting verse. 

I am so guilty of pushing things off.  Procrastination is something I have perfected. 

I'll get to that...later
I'll spend time with you...later
I'll help you with that...later.
I'll take food to that family...later.
I'll call that friend who is having a tough day...later.
I'll donate money to that worthy cause...later.
I'll make a difference...later.
I'll take you to the park...later.
I'll let you build an entire city out of our recycling box...later.

Whether it is laundry, dishes, helping those around me, reaching out to those in need, or just spending time with my loved ones, I am really good at tell them, "Later!"

My youngest son recently called me on this.  Isn't it remarkable how small children can say something that will pierce you all the way through?  Once again he was asking if he could do something (I don't even remember what it was), and I responded with my usual, "In a minute!"  Well, all you mom's out there know that when we say "In a minute" we really mean "When I get to it!"  He turned his sweet little 5 year old face to me and said with complete sincerity, "Mommy, your minutes are soooooo long." 

In the midst of juggling all I have to get done each day, it is so easy to continually put things off.  My boys are always wanting "Mommy time" right when I get a few minutes to myself to sit down and rest.  They want me to play a game with them when I am trying to dig my way out from under a mountain of laundry.  My husband wants me to hang out with him at the end of the day when all I can think of is a hot bath calling my name.  I see on Facebook that a friend is having a rough day, and I am too exhausted to talk on the phone.  I see so many 'causes' that I could help with, and I put it off because I don't want to think about the suffering of others.  The dishes pile up in the kitchen to the point of rendering the room utterly useless, and so I avoid the kitchen. 

Unfortunately, these tactics never fix anything.  The dishes are still dirty, friends are still in need of an ear to listen to them, 'causes' still need champions, my kids still want "Mommy time" and my husband still wants to spend time with me.  Are any of these things horrible?  No, not at all.  Do they all take something out of me?  Yes.  Are they worth doing any way?  Absolutely.  Avoiding them or even delaying them only seems to send the message to those around me that they are not very important in my life.   

I love my family and friends.  I want to serve them and take care of them and spend time with them.  It is easy to say that my priorities are in order: God, family, friends, others.  But is that evident in my daily actions?  Not usually.

And so, as with many aspects of life, I am constantly straying off the path only to be yanked back on.  I am ever so grateful that God is a gentle shepherd who guides us, cares for us, searches us out when we stray and brings us back to where we need to be.  His merciful kindness overwhelms me in times like these. 

He sends His messages to me through His Word.  Many of us are familiar with the phrase, "Love your neighbor as yourself."  The New Testament says this phrase ten times.  Jesus says it is the second greatest commandment, only after "Love the Lord your God".  Unfortunately, it is so familiar that it has become trite.  We can recite it, but we don't put it into practice.   

However, every time I read this verse in Proverbs, I am really convicted:

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, 'Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow' -- when you now have it with you."  Proverbs 3:27-28

Somehow, this one hits home a little more.  Maybe because it is more detailed.  Maybe because it hits the nail on the head, so to speak.  Maybe because each time I read it, I can recall a specific instance (or two or twenty) within the previous 24 hour period when I was guilty of putting something off till later.  All I know is every time I read it, my immediate response is "Ouch!"

And so here I am again, feeling the stab of my conscience, the prod of the Holy Spirit, directing me back to the right path. 

At this very moment, my kids are getting ready for bed and my husband has just walked in the door after a long day at work.  So I am going to end this post. 

I must go tuck in my boys and spend some quality time with my best friend....right now.

1 comment:

crystal cripps said...

I sit here with tears in my eyes. There is nothing of which I am more guilty. It is so easy to loose sight of what we think has to be done right now rather than what needs to be. We will never get this moment back...