Sunday, August 7, 2011

Do You Have a Million Things to Do Today? I hope NOT!

We certainly are fearfully and wonderfully made!

My most recent book report illustrates that so clearly, LEFT NEGLECTED. It is written as fiction but based on experiences the author, a neuroscience major with her Ph.D. from Harvard, has witnessed and studied.

The story is about a sadly all-too-typical American family who is rushing through life. With three children, fast-track careers, and a mortgage on a gorgeous home in a much-envied neighborhood, the main character has a million things to do daily.

With such a frantic pace, something must be sacrificed. That something is of course, family. Seeing a soccer game, attending teacher conferences, helping her struggling first-grade son who is suspected of having ADHD, all must be put on a lower part of the priority list as the parents take turns running from business meeting to business meeting.

Then, while trying to place an important business call and driving, it happens. The mother doesn't see the brake lights in front of her until too late.

Waking up in the hospital, days later, she begins her struggle to walk, read, and live again. The damage to her brain has resulted in LEFT NEGLECT. Although her left side of her body can work just fine, and her eyesight is fine, her brain can not find anything on the left. It no longer remembers the LEFT.

As a result, when she draws a picture, she thinks she has drawn the whole image. Instead, she has only drawn half. When someone walks to the left side, they have disappeared. She does not know where her left hand is. She can only read half the page of the newspaper or reports or a book.

I don't know why, but the main character's struggle was so fascinating to me that I finished the book in one afternoon. I appreciated her struggle and her new perspective on the priorities of life.

I used to be like that. I used to pride myself in my list of busy things to do for the day. It made me feel valued, important. It was like the key chain I had as a principal of a large suburban high school. The more keys on the ring, the more "important" I must be. It showed I was trusted with access to everywhere in the building and often to other places in the large district.

My priorities, like the protagonist of this book, were distorted. Even though I was a Christian, I rationalized my Sunday mornings were my only time to "sleep in," to "take a break from others' expectations." I struggled to attend church, to read the Bible, to fellowship with other Christians. I dropped out of Christian life.

I did not see it at the time. It took a jolt for me to discover how far I had gone. Like LEFT NEGLECTED, I had a traumatic wake-up call, and I had to learn what life on this earth was about all over again.

My fifteen-year career vanished in one day. I lost my job. Try as I might I could not find another one. A wall had come down. I had turned down offers in the past, been "courted" by other districts, and now could not even get a call returned from former friends who had "connections."

God had to break me before I could start again. My new perspective today is so much better. I thank God daily for picking me up out of the ashes of my former life. I had it all wrong.

Don't misunderstand me. I still don't know if God took the job away or not. I do believe He was true to His promise of "working good for those who love the Lord." God did make something good out of a very bad situation.

Too busy to have family, I had waited a long time to try to conceive. After years of trying, I realized we had waited too late. I could not have a child.

After losing my job, the option of adoption opened up for my husband and me. There was one small window of opportunity from China. We were a couple of years away from the deadline of being too old. It was now or never.

We chose NOW. God provided me with an amazing daughter. I marvel each day when I watch her around the house or swimming or at gymnastics. Sometimes she asks me why I am staring at her. I just smile, not realizing I was, and tell her what a blessing she is, what an amazing gift from God. What grace He has shown me out of a dark time.

Like the protagonist in LEFT NEGLECTED, I thought I was seeing the whole, the right perspective of life. I was only seeing part. I had LEFT NEGLECTED GOD.

I am so sorry I left neglected the priorities of God in my past. I am so sorry I focused on career above family, on pride instead of prayer, on balancing a list instead of the Bible. I regret that I saw my life valued ONLY in terms of how many things I had to do that day rather than how much God was leading me to do for His glory.

I am so grateful God stuck it out with me and created an amazingly good thing out of a bad time.

I now love to attend church. I can't get enough of the Bible. I relish being around sisters in Christ and hearing their stories.

What about you? Do you have a million things to do today?

I pray not.

For His Glory,

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