Thursday, May 1, 2008

Library due dates are harsh and other organizational issues

Sometimes I lose track of all the things I'm supposed to keep track of. I was most recently reminded of this yesterday when I owned up to some library fines for overdue books. I thought I could take care of this and keep it a matter of conscience, lesson learned. Unfortunately, while I certainly wasn't trying to be secretive, I neglected to let my husband in on the little charge that showed up on our online banking info. He is now referring to me as a philanthropist and sent me this message via email this morning:

I noticed that you made a donation to the public library (I looked at our account). You are a generous person.

Busted?? Or maybe this is what it means to be accountable.

Most of the time I really thrive under pressure. As a university student I would often have several research papers going at once and then, days before (or maybe just the day before), I would pull them altogether into something worth handing in. All that time letting things whirl around my brain seemed an almost necessary part of the process. I realize that in many ways I am better at short-term commitments (not relationships, just tasks). Tell me you need a specific goal met for a certain project with a definite deadline and I am your girl.

Sadly, this doesn't always translate well into everyday life as a wife, mother, homemaker, and teacher. Housework is definitely not something that I should leave "'til the last minute." Child-rearing seems to take some ongoing commitment. You cannot leave all meals until the end of the day and then cram breakfast, lunch, and dinner into one meal and get away with serving "brunchner." Just doesn't work. I'm continually looking for better ways to "keep at it." One of my favourite Christian writers, Elisabeth Elliot, inspires me with her "do the next thing" philosophy. Elliot was inspired by this poem, author unknown, as am I:

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

I so need to remember this when I'm trying to get all the things in my head sorted out so that I'm not always working under pressure. Enjoy God's grace today as you "do the next thing."