Last week, I left you with a quote from Dwight Moody that I had been mulling over and suggested that I would share some of my own takeaways from it with you. Well, I went on to join some link-ups and wrote some other posts last week and, truthfully, almost forgot about following up. But that wouldn’t be right and I still wanted to leave a quick thought or two. I’ll admit, my thoughts are a bit of a jumbled mess and this post may one day simply serve as “note to self” but, nevertheless, here goes. And, as a reminder (if you have not idea what I’m talking about), here is the quote:
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.” ― D.L. Moody
It does not seem to matter what season of life we are in or what our daily lives look like, all of us are busy. We know how to keep our to-do lists long and keep our days full. But this quote has had me considering exactly what matters. What really matters. As a Christian, I want to know that the things which get my real effort, priority and concern are the things that matter to the Lord. And, as a Christian (a Christian wife, mom, friend, etc.), there are many things that call for my attention. Plenty of things – good and needful – things that vie for my time and my effort.
I want to do my best for the Lord. I want to be involved – and to busy. Even busy for the Lord. There are Bible studies to attend, or even facilitate. Choir practice. Sunday school classes to teach. Hand bell choirs. Visitation programs. And ladies’ programs. The list goes on and on and I am eager (even excited) to do it all. But can I really do them all? Do I need to do them all? All of these things (and the list could go on) are good things. It can be super easy to quickly focus more on the doing – and getting it all done – than on the one we truly want “to serve.” Without sincerely seeking His heart and knowing what matters to Him FOR OUR LIFE, we run the risk of doing “good things” but not necessarily the right thing for us. What “matters” in this season or at this time of my life.
All of the opportunities of service and ministry I mentioned above are things that I have been privileged to be a part of…at one time or another. Some I still continue but others I have stepped away from – because I believe the Lord led me to do just that. However, He has opened doors of new opportunities – which are exciting as well. I have found a real benefit to this season of life has been the extra time for “quality time” with Him. Extra time to come aside, be still, and draw close to my Heavenly Father. Extra time for rich Bible study and intercessory prayer. And I am grateful for those quiet times but I often sense a struggle. (Our enemy will always keep the struggle real!) He wants me to believe that I’m doing less. That I’m not as productive or even as useful as I once was. Sometimes, I find myself considering those lies. But, I’m not doing less in this season of life. Truthfully, I’m simply trying to focus on what matters most right now.
I’ll admit, seasons of life change. And change can be challenging. Even the days and times in each season seem to ebb and flow, and never remain completely the same. This time of health challenges in my current season has brought a new rhythm (and schedule) to my days. And, again, I find myself asking the Lord “what truly matters” to you, for me, in these days? What is needful, important and necessary? It might be that I need to do less. But He will direct and I have no doubt, there will be new opportunities – new adventures, even – wherever and however He leads. And it is in those things that I want to succeed (to refer back to the quote).
I know we all have challenges – whatever season of life you might be in – but I would love to know some of the privileges or blessings that you are finding and learning to appreciate in your current season. I hope you will share in the comments. Thanks friends!
18 Replies to “Succeeding In What Matters”
Jennifer, I know exactly what you’re talking about 🙂 My season of life right now is “going with the flow” which isn’t my strong suit. With my husband being out of work and home all day, my routines have been changed and God is stretching me, as he has many times in my life. Flexibility isn’t my thing (except when I want to flex 🙂 Normally I like routine and structure for the things that need to be done. I work hard in the mornings and a little lighter in the afternoons. Of course my husband is just the opposite. The past 5 weeks have left me feeling like I’m just walking around in a daze, trying to figure out what’s important for that day (probably exactly what God wants me to be doing).
So that’s where I’m at. I know it will all go back to order when my husband finds a job, but until then, I’m trying to really listen to what God’s telling me or teaching me and trying to be ok with not knowing.
I plan on sharing an update on my blog this week, so you may see a repeat of this if you visit. 🙂
Debbie, I will look forward to reading your update..and repeat:) Flexibility is not one of my strengths – whether it comes to touching my toes or changes to my routine:) I totally understand you with that! God is, no doubt, working even in these days of walking around in a daze!! Thanks for sharing today!
I really liked this quote when you first had it in a blog post. I sent the quote to my kids who are in college and I shared it with the middle school girls in youth group. Maybe it’s because my kids are young adults but I took it to mean success as in how the world defines success- wealth/ popularity/ power- things like that. I like how you’ve thought it through and written more about it. I am finding blessings in answers to a very specific prayer that I had for years. Not everything is resolved but there has been movement in the right direction. Have a great Wednesday, friend, and stay warm!
Maria, I too am seeing prayers answered. Ones that have felt slow in coming. Let’s pray this is a season of seeing fruit for our labors and persistence in prayer!!
I definitely don’t want to spend my life doing something that doesn’t matter! Nor do I want to fill it with activity just to win a badge of honor that says busy!
I want to do the things that will earn me a “Well done good and faithful servant,” when I get Home.
That really was a thought-provoking quote, and your post has reminded me to consider carefully where I put my time and energy, and if it’s the BEST use of those resources. These days I have little on my calendar, so it’s easy to spend an entire day just doing what I feel like around the house, which is sometimes time wisely spent but more often is time frittered away. God recently reminded me that I need to prioritize things that are healthy and productive for me even if I don’t feel like it and trust him for comfort and hope and joy. I have to believe he’ll show me what his purpose for me is as well. Visiting from Sweet Tea & Friends today.
Looking back I spent much of time as a young mother focusing on things that really didn’t matter… I have finally learned to let go of the idea that our house always has to look picture perfect and now we just live in it and clean it when it needs it. I find I have more time to clean and much less inclination because really– who cares if my floors are clean enough to eat off of?
Hello! What a lovely and inspirational post. I agree that all the seasons of our lives are beautiful in their own way, but the transition can be challenging. I tend to cling to the one I am leaving behind, especially when it involves my children growing. I also think that time seems to pass quicker as I get older. I find myself trying to slow down and be more mindful of my time. Thank you for your thoughts, my friend.
Hi Jennifer. This is a really beautiful post and so rich with food for thought. Thank you!
You know, this is so true. I never thought of it like that but it makes sense. This is very insightful and encouraging. I appreciate this today.
Visiting today from Let’s Have Coffee.
So, so good, Jennifer, more than ever the older I get the more I want what I do to matter, but not just in the world, but to God. You are right, we can pursue and succeed at so many things, yet it still seems a failure if it has no value for God’s Kingdom. Great thoughts which will stay with me for some time, thank you!!
Jennifer, hi. I hear you about the jumbled thoughts … and yes, it does seem like putting pen to paper helps us sift through things and get some renewed perspective. May all the changes coming our way serve only to clarify who He is and what He’s inviting us to.
Jennifer, I can relate to your thoughts here. It is so easy to be busy for busy sake … because it’s what we do. A former pastor of mine said once that for many believers, it’s not so much a choice between the good and the bad as it is between the good and the best. At 73, I’ve had to learn that I truly can’t do it all and do it well. The hardest part is when people you love don’t really understand. But I know that reveals the people-pleaser that I tend to be. Yet, I want to be a God-pleaser first. I want to do what He has called me to do and learn to rest in the fact that that is enough. Thanks for speaking to my heart this morning.
Jennifer, the Moody quote is a thought provoking one for sure! I am finding the older I get, the more I long to do that which will last and be of value to God and others. My One Word this year is “guide” and I am grateful He guides us through the years and changes. This week as I pondered my word, I found myself very grateful He loves us so deeply and will never leave us in our misguided ways. May we lean ever so closely to hear Him each day for then we will be sure to do that which truly matters. Thank you for sharing the quote, your thoughts, and this post! Blessings!
My thoughts are jumbled right now too. I am currently in a season where I need to make friends, which is harder at my age. Being new to a place is hard, and it requires a lot of effort to try and put yourself out there, so to speak. Today I am struggling with a bit of depression and not wanting to get off the couch to do anything. I am seeing God’s blessings in our life too. Monday my son got his braces off-praise the Lord! Praying you are doing well.
Praying God meets you right where you are! Praying some of those blessings are evident soon….and that He sends a new friend along the way!
Jen, that quote is thought provoking. I want to do what matters for Him. I’m in a season of waiting, I’ve been here a while, but as my relationship with Him grows daily I’m okay with the wait now.
Thank you for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month dear friend.
Great perspective, Paula. When waiting draws us closer to Him…what a blessing waiting can actually become! Thanks so much for stopping by!