I bought a planner today. Not because I particularly wanted one… not because I EVER use one… but because I know that at some point I’m going to have too much going on to remember it all at once.
The past month has been a flurry of activity. I wake up and I’m off. It’s a jumble of dates with friends and family and people I haven’t seen in forever. It’s a constantly revolving door of social engagements with all of the pesky things that I’ve neglected all year crammed in between (emissions tests, trips to the bank, returning things, buying things, etc.)
I was sitting in the doctor’s office today, with a moment to spare, flipping through a magazine and mentally, through my ‘to-do’ list.
It seems like no matter where I am in my life, that I’m busy. And it’s the same for everyone around me. When I talk to a friend for the first time in awhile, the first word that comes out of their mouth to describe their life is either ‘crazy’, or ‘busy’, and sometimes both.
And as I was sitting there… with a few minutes to think without distraction… I began to wonder:
“Why do we do what we do?”
I began to think about the purpose behind all of the things I had on my agenda for the day, and as I allowed them to be paragraphs instead of bullet points, my list became a really beautiful and really telling story of my life.
I’ll show you what I mean.
Here was my to-do list today.
- Finish a video for the opening night of my college ministry.
- Go to the doctor (‘female doctor’ gross…)
- Go shopping to buy some things for my apartment in Georgia.
And if you were to look at that list the way I did when I woke up, I was severely grossed out by one of those items, dreading another and knew that finishing the video was something I just had to get done.
Here’s what my list said when I allowed the bullet points a bit more time to speak.
- Finish video for the opening night of my college ministry.
If you’ve heard my testimony, you know that I began to attend The Annex (the college ministry at the University of Colorado) as a favor. My best friend was an intern there and I figured that the least I could do was show up a few times to support her.
What happened in that place changed my life completely.
I walked in waist deep in a pool of binge drinking, an almost omnipresent hangover, unhealthy relationships with guys, messy and hurtful relationships with my friends, an identity that was entirely wrapped up in my future career and a self esteem that was dragging behind me like toilet paper stuck to a shoe.
I walked out as a new woman. I walked out refreshed and redeemed. I walked out with the best friends in the world, sober, having walked away from my messy and destructive relationships, and knowing (at least beginning to know) who I was, what I was worth and what I was meant to do with my life.
God used that ministry and those people, as a point of total transformation- and I couldn’t be more grateful for my time there.
And now they’ve asked me to create a video that will open the first Annex of the year. A video that will set the tone for all that is to come. An invitation into everything that the ministry stands for, and for what God does in and through it.
This is beautiful and important work. It’s an honor and a privilege to get to be a part of something that God used so much in my life… and in creating this video, this invitation, I’m getting to invite new students and old into the thing that God used to change my life.
- Female doctor. Gross.
I maintain that what happens in that doctor’s office is probably one of life’s most uncomfortable moments. But as I sat there, feeling a bit sorry for myself, I realized the truth of what I was actually doing.
I was going to a wonderfully trained and educated doctor who was going to ensure that I am healthy- something that VERY few people have the privilege of doing.
It’s her work, her meticulous care of me and my body that is going to make it much more possible for me to have a family one day. Which is a miracle in itself.
She is aiding in that miracle, paving the way for it.
And I am absolutely blessed to have access to medical care especially considering the fact that so few people do.
- Running errands at the mall.
Granted, I would have much rather spent the day lying in the sun, reading a book. But even the things I did at the mall today were beautiful and important in their own way.
In buying things for my apartment in Gainesville, I was beginning the process of creating my first home.
For the first time in my life, I will have a place of my own. I get to unpack and settle in and create a place that’s safe and cozy for me and my sweet roommate. We get to create a place that’s nourishing and comforting and that allows room for us to learn and grow and change and become.
And we get to invite our friends and family into that safe place as well.
In our home we’ll get to house people, feed people, nourish people and love people- and each other. And that is beautiful, important work.
Our lives are so much more than a to do list. They’re a story. And when we realize that, we can make sure that the story we’re telling is one of love and beauty and importance. And sometimes all that takes is a moment to realize not the ‘what,’ but the ‘why’ of how we spend our time.
I got to see, just in examining one day, the bigger things that I’m getting to be a part of.
And it was beautiful and it was important.
What are you doing today? Why are you doing it? What is your life a part of?