Choosing the Meaningful Over the Urgent
The consequences of living under the tyrant of time is that we spend our time doing the things that seem important, only to look back and realize we missed out on the things that actually are. Historical and cultural shifts make it easy to choose the things that feel normal (because everyone else is doing them) over the things that are natural (because they grow out of how you were created to function).
Choosing the meaningful over the urgent so that our life is unhurried, yet purposeful and reflects the values and the impact we want to make, takes reflection. It takes intention. It takes planning. Pausing to focus on the present moment calms our mind and allows us to think more clearly. When that happens, it is easier to choose the meaningful over the seemingly urgent. This practice of stopping and taking stock of the situation is called mindfulness. Mindfulness is mental training. It is learning to turn off our autopilot and take control of our thoughts. The key to mindfulness is to practice.
When we are laser focused only on what is right in front of us, we treat every challenge equally. The options in front of us about how to spend our time are not equal. If we intentionally choose what’s meaningful over the false urgencies that try to demand our attention, then we can reclaim our time and live with peace rather than regret.
To be meaningful is to be significant, relevant, important, consequential, or worthwhile—worthy of your time. We must choose what is meaningful now. In this very moment. What is meaningful today will also be meaningful tomorrow or next year or even decades from now. Meaningful is timeless. It transcends the moment.
Timeless living means choosing to spend your time aligned with the natural pace of a spiritually grounded life that prioritizes relationships and people and a pace that gives you the margin to invest in what you value. Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 illustrates this balance and pace. It shows that God is the creator of time and that he wants us to work and enjoy the time he has created for us. Time, used well, is a gift.
Just as there are timeless choices, there are also false urgencies. False urgency steals time from the things that are meaningful. Take a moment to clarify what is most meaningful to you about a particular decision. This will help you make better, more efficient decisions with less chance of regret. The truth is, it’s okay to miss out. In fact, with the right perspective we can even find joy in missing out when we see our choices as a sign of personal growth. We must put our stake in the ground and decide what will give us the meaning and joy that God wants us to experience in life.
Think about your top goal in life. What will achieving it give you that you don’t already have? In other words, what makes it worth spending your time to pursue it?
What false urgencies are stealing time from what is most meaningful to you? What do you need to say “no” to?
How can you invest God’s gift of time in meaningful ways? What are your true priorities, and how does the way you spend your time reflect those priorities?