I’m a morning person but there was a day, years ago now, when I rolled out of bed only to feel every last ounce of my reserves literally drain from my body. I had no way to retrieve them, nothing to go on, and a whole day ahead of me. Feeling defeated & depleted, I plopped down on the chest at the foot of our bed. That’s when the precious Holy Spirit sidled up next to me and whispered sweet-somethings into my ear, “Do what leads to life.”
I know a little life word when I hear one, so I scrawled these instructions onto a piece of paper and tucked it safely into the back pocket of my jeans, which I had finally managed to pull on.
All-day long, one step at a time, the Spirit (and the scrawling) reminded me to do what leads to life: Take a nap. Phone a friend. Do your work. Drink water. Write a letter. Go outside. Give thanks. Find beauty. Count to ten. Cry your tears.
Breathe, daughter: Do what leads to life.
This little mantra has now seen me through something like 3,672 days and I am extremely grateful.
Today, a new mantra arrived: Do what matters most.
I’ve been thinking a good bit about mattering. In last week’s letter, I named the scientific definition of matter as something that takes up space.
Simply put, what matters to us takes up space in our lives.
I was talking to God this morning about a creative project I’m engaged in and how much it matters to me when I realized it’s been taking up a lot of space.
Should it be, though?
Especially when I suspect it’s not the project itself as much as my perfectionism that’s mattering so much? (#true confessions!)
My mind turned to Jesus addressing the religious leaders in what was, to Him, no small matter. He minced no words:
“You are obsessed with peripheral issues,” Jesus said,
“These matters are fine, yet you ignore the most important duty of all:
to walk in the love of God, to display mercy to others, and to live with integrity. Readjust your values and place first things first.”
Matthew 23:23 (Passion Translation)
Jesus told these leaders they were “focusing on minor matters, while neglecting the weightier ones (Amplified Bible).” And it made me wonder, do I do the same?
Am I obsessed with peripheral issues and minor matters? Do they take up too much space and place in my life? Is there room for what matters most?
Ummm … yes, yes, and sadly, no.
Jenny, do what matters most.
There are a lot of things to do, yes? And a lot of things that matter. Why am I so obsessed with the peripheral, and so very far from the center? Come home to love, dear one. Come home to love!
I hear Jesus again saying things like:
Don’t worry about what you will eat/drink/wear/say.
Goodness, don’t even worry about tomorrow (you’re kidding, right Jesus?)!
And dear Martha, calm down with all that fixing and fretting.
Choose what matters most: trust. presence. love. justice. compassion.
Jesus, how is it that pride, performance, perfectionism, and the perception of others didn’t even make your list?! And what of primping, proving, & well-laid plans??
Oh, and hey there Good Samaritan, you who stopped what you were doing and where you were going in order to tend your injured enemy. I see you.
Do what matters most.
Friend, this new word is challenging me!
This morning, my focus was fixed on getting this letter written to you. However, when someone needed my time and attention, the Spirit was present whispering sweet-somethings again: Do what matters most. This letter matters, but love and compassion matter more, and perfectionism just doesn’t.
Oh sweet Jesus!
It’s not just what matters, it’s what matters most.
Ephesians 5:2 says, “MOSTLY what God does is love us,” so maybe just maybe that’s what matters.
Do what matters most: Our Little Life Words of the Week.
- What peripheral issues are you obsessed with? How do they spin you away from the center?
- What minor matters are taking up too much space in your life/relationships/work/church?
- What do you believe truly matters most and how can you create space for it?
- According to Jesus, what values do you need to readjust?
- When faced with just about anything, pause and ask yourself what matters most. Then do that.
- When consumed with worry over something, ask how much it truly matters. Return to your center.
- Grab a piece of scrap paper and write “Do what matters most.” Put it in your pocket as a reminder.
- Our song of the week is: Big Love, Small Moments by JJ Heller.
- Hear God ask, “What’s the matter? What’s taking up space and weighing heavy on you?” And then pour out the answer. Tell Him all about it.
Friend, there’s much to do. Let’s do what matters most:
“Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” Micah 6:8