Yesterday I picked up an order for my daughter so that she wouldn’t have to leave the house with her infant son. Easy enough. I drove there, picked it up, and headed back.
On my way I encountered several four way stops. At one in particular there were red reflectors attached to each stop sign. I thought it was unusual since I hadn’t noticed it at any other intersection.
I slowed to a stop, checked to wait my turn, and as I slowly let up on the break it happened.
A truck blew through his stop sign.
My first reaction was anger. I blared my horn at him, and he slowed down briefly before moving on down the road.
When I got to my daughter’s house and told her what happened, she brought up that we had thought about going together to pick up her order and then decided to just have me go on the routine errand.
An errand that was nearly life changing.
Later, I became reflective and I realized how moments like this greatly influence our priorities if we let them.
Nothing is guaranteed.
I’m as guilty as the next person when I think I have a treasure trove of days ahead of me. If I don’t get something done, I simply think, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Not so fast. The only guarantee is the moment we have right in front of us. Yesterday is in the rearview mirror and tomorrow is not promised. There’s no look ahead mirror.
God gives us signals daily.
Your belief or not in a higher power is your business, but I believe in God and that He watches over me. He gives me signals daily, but I don’t always notice them or pay attention.
I firmly believe He planted in my brain to notice the difference in this four-way stop. I firmly believe there was a reason I slowly let up on the brake without stepping on the gas. I firmly believe He made sure I stayed right where I was supposed to be.
You can firmly believe in whatever you choose.
I choose to believe God was watching over me like He does every day and I was in tune with the signal He gave to me on this particular day.
Figure out what is important.
While I feel like I do a good job of keeping my priorities straight, I know I can do better. I bet you feel the same way. Hopefully it hasn’t taken you as long to get to this realization as it took me. Perhaps it comes with age, but each day I think about what footprint I want to leave on the day.
Do I want to tie myself down to a task list? Do I want to be productive or do I want to be effective? At the end of the day, do I, as author Todd Henry says, die empty?
Dying empty doesn’t mean exhausting myself until I simply fall into bed at night. Not for me anyway.
Dying empty means pouring myself into others. Spending quality time with my family, checking in on friends, serving others to empower their lives, making a difference educating the young people I get to be with in the classroom each day, and living the best life I know how to live.
It means taking care of myself so that I can do for others. If I am depleted, I can’t pour myself into others. I listen to soothing music, drink a glass of wine or a mug of hot tea, take a bubble bath, meditate, journal, go for a walk in nature, snuggle with my newborn grandson, or sit in silence.
Whatever you want out of life, make sure you figure out what is important.
Do that today. Repeat daily as long as you are given the opportunity. I know that’s what I’m doing.