Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Jet Fuel Day

The Jet Fuel Day
Ryan had just returned to school after missing two days with strep. throat.
We had gotten all his assignments while he was out, or so we thought. Unfortunately, there was a 118-question language paper that had to be completed and he had started the week way behind. He had so much other homework to complete that he had been up until eleven p.m. finishing. After that, he had a speech to write for the public speaking competition the next night. We finally turned out the lights at midnight.
We were both tired after too little sleep and were rehearsing the day’s “to-do” list as we drove to school. I felt more like 100 years old than a youthful 48. There were clearly more things to do than hours in the day. Every single item on my list was pressing. There were articles to complete, fences to mend, manure to scoop, clothes to wash and iron. Ryan’s list was not much better. Everything had to be completed by 5:15 p.m. so that we could make it to the public speaking competition. I was feeling harried already. 
Ryan started laughing. “You know what we need, Mom?” he said. “Help?” I replied. “No, we need a pair of jet-fuel tanks! It’ll take rocket fuel for us to go fast enough to finish this list.” He laughed again. “Are you sure you have to do all that today?” I assured him I did. It all had to be done, and done right away. Everything on MY list was VERY IMPORTANT. “I don’t know, Mom, that’s an awfully long list.” Ryan was skeptical.
 His words echoed in my heart as I drove back home. I felt awful from the lack of sleep and could see that it was going to be a miserable day. After I finished feeding animals and cleaning the barn, I headed to the house. As I walked upstairs to change my muddy clothes, I remembered what Ryan had said. There was a lot to do, but it didn’t really have to be done today.
I sat down with the list. One article had to be completed then, but not all six. The manure was already scooped, and the fences just needed to be started. I would never be able to finish them in one day anyway. There were some clothes that had to be washed and ironed today, but it wasn’t necessary to do all of them. By the time I finished, the list was achievable.
Finally, I did the only thing that made any sense at all. I took a nap. I slept soundly for an hour and a half and awakened feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. The new list was completed early and I had time to spare. I wasn’t fussy or in a hurry when Ryan came home from school. I was nearly as peaceful as he was, despite having to move quickly to avoid rushing.
As I made my do-list the next morning, I thought about how much smoother my day had been when I set realistic goals and didn’t try to push my body past what it was reasonable to expect. Life is much more pleasant when we balance our expectations with realistic possibility, especially where our bodies are concerned.
Are you running at the speed of sound and wondering why you never get everything done? Do you feel awful but don’t know why? Are you fussy and overwhelmed? Are you rushing to do what matters most in the Kingdom, or just trying to complete a list? Maybe you are trying to do what is impossible to accomplish. Perhaps you need to pare down and slow down. Take a serious look at your life and your priorities. Treat your body with the same consideration you would an expensive sports car – give it adequate fuel, appropriate maintenance, and a reasonable driving schedule. Put the things that are truly important on the top of your list, and everything else will take their proper place. You’ll be surprised how much fuller your life will become, and how much more enjoyable.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life...
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 5:25,33 NASB