What’s Urgent versus What’s Important

Why the best shortcut to healing is doing it right.

Sometimes life just hits us like a ton of bricks. In a recent blog post titled “Triumph or Torture: Where Are You Headed?” I wrote about the importance of keeping our bodies fit.

Image from Photodune.

Because we only get one body in this life, it’s pretty essential to pay attention to our physical health . . . or lack thereof!

Honestly, these days, I fall into the “lack-thereof” category. Have you been there too? I get to the point where I’m happily content if nothing is falling apart or falling off.

By the way, this mind-set applies to more than just physical exercise.

Damage Control

Really, it applies to every facet of life. Instead of thinking ahead and planning time for the important stuff of life, my focus swings to damage control—to scrambling to fix what’s urgent . . . dealing with emergencies . . .




I get so caught up in emergencies, I forget that the urgent stuff that grabs my time and attention often matters far less than the purposeful plans I’ve made.

So why is it so hard to balance—to discern what is most important in life?

Trying to Shortcut Healing

After my back surgery several months ago, I admit I tried to shortcut healing . . . not in major ways but by making little choices that eventually added up to a big mess.

I blew off little aches and pains and ignored recommendations for follow-up appointments because . . . well, because I thought I could take a shortcut rather than the long road to healing. In essence, I avoided the important and instead focused on what I thought was urgent.

Picture a quarter-pound, tiny, hairless, nervous, yapping dog that you want to muzzle because she barks and barks at the wind. (For DAYS!) Add some poundage and hair and you got it . . . right here. That’s me!

We are promised . . .

  • Peace
  • Rest
  • Freedom from worry
  • Freedom from fear through Christ

And I had a total “lack thereof.”

Our Legacy: Make It a Godly One

Dwight D. Eisenhower outlined a decision matrix for life management—a process of deciding and acting upon what was important versus what was urgent. The late Stephen Covey and other organizational leadership experts created or examined many time-management concepts and put their own signatures on how to make good decisions that result in healthy and meaningful lives.

It’s all about the choices we make every moment . . . because that moment is all we’re promised.

What you do moment by moment and day by day adds up to what you leave in this world. In the end, isn’t it about what makes a meaningful life anyway? Ask yourself:

What is the legacy that I want to leave?

Further, ask what God wants you to do. Does He want you to hurry and scurry, huffing and puffing until the house is blown down, or does He want you to make choices that will leave a godly legacy?

If you’re unsure how to get the picture, the unfailing truth of the Bible will show you.

The BIble

(Photo Courtesy of Unsplash)

Keep Things Simple

Long before the birth of Eisenhower, Covey, and countless others, the topic of living well, being steadfast and solid, was outlined in the Bible, repeatedly.

When a theme is repeated in Scripture, it’s especially important . . . and the theme of caring for our physical and spiritual health is repeated. Take note. We give the enemy a free ride into our lives, our homes, and our hearts by being inattentive to time and ignorant of God’s truth. Life works well when we function well. It’s as simple or as complicated as we want to make it.

I simplified. I dug into God’s Word and found that throughout Scripture, individuals have chosen to focus on the urgent rather than on God’s big picture.

  • They focus on fear rather than on faith . . .
  • They focus on the trouble at hand rather than their Redeemer.

Unity: Body, Mind, Soul, Spirit

I’m convinced that one of the biggest reasons why we don’t function as a unified whole in the church is because as individuals we are still in pieces. Fear fractures a steady, secure trust, and insecurities often lead us to impulsive reactions.

But when we focus on cultivating and integrating God’s truth into our daily lives, trusting in His sovereign care, those choices engage our,

  • Body
  • Soul
  • Mind
  • Spirit

People who attend to this process provide incredible opportunity to unify as a healthy church body.

Health 101

So where do we begin to navigate these important body-life needs?

Just as I mentioned, we dig into the truth and apply it to our lives . . .

  • Body: Paul often compared the physical body to the spiritual life. In 1 Corinthians 12:12–17, he speaks of each part being important, physically and spiritually. So I ask, what do you do weekly to work on your physical health? By practicing wise choices for physical health, we are able to contribute to the church body more effectively.
  • Mind: Psalm 119:105–112 speaks of God’s Word as a light. Are you putting His Word into your mind on a regular basis? Psalm 1 and Romans 12 call us to meditate on God’s Word and renew our minds DAILY. Are you doing that? In the body of Christ, there is one truth; we will never find unity by believing truth is relative or based on anything other than God’s Word.
  • Soul: Hebrews 6:19 tells us our souls are anchored to eternal hope as believers. Every single day we hear bad news and face tough stuff. But when we have anchored our soul to God’s truths, then assurance, confidence, and hope enable us to work through life’s storms. Is your soul anchored to God’s hope?
  • Spirit: Romans 8 is full of fantastic, life-changing truths about our spirit and life. Essentially, we choose what our spirit focuses on . . . either the truth or the flesh. A divided spirit leads to a divided life. A divided life leads to divided behaviors and decisions.

Let Me Hear from You

Maintaining physical and spiritual health is a lifelong journey, on which we choose our direction one choice at a time. Each choice is important. Where are you on your journey, in regard to your physical and spiritual health?

How can I help you be the best you—body, mind, soul, and spirit?

What one important decision can you make this week that will lead to a stronger, unified body?

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4 thoughts on “What’s Urgent versus What’s Important

  1. Hi Colleen,

    Thank you for this post. I am so guilty of this…it is easy to just go…I do not have time to do this, and end up in the ER.

    Could you send me information on how to better handle adding that quit time in to life. You so laugh..I timed my family trying to just eat a meal sitting down at the table..my husband was done in 6 minutes. We have an autistic son, who is rushing through eating lunch to escape the lunch room. I said to my husband “we need to not flee, it is okay to eat slowly and talk.”

    In Christ,

    • Kim, I think many of us are ‘guilty’ of overcommitting for many reasons. The first way to get a better handle on it is to examine the “why” behind why you are overcommitted. What motivates or pushes you internally to say yes when saying “no” is in keeping with what’s important. Are there internal messages you wrestle with like “I should”, “I have to”, or “what will they think if I say no”? There are reasons why we make choices and getting to that ‘why’ is essential in making changes. Once you uncover the ‘why’, I suggest making a list of things you value…it may be time, soul care, giving time or resources to those in need, work that you enjoy, relationships, making memories, so on. Then, begin to evaluate if you are choosing to pursue what you value by where you are spending your time. Your example of the dinner table is excellent. I would ask ‘why are we in a hurry to eat’? Are there things that need to be discussed that we are avoiding, are there frustrations or irritations, fears of really talking or fears of not knowing what to talk about…? You get the idea. Several years ago we purchased a little box of cards called “Table Topics”. On each card, there is a thought, question, or idea. The question is read, then each person is given time to answer. No one can answer for the other person, no one is to interrupt or tell the person how they ‘should’ or ‘ought’ to think or feel, and it’s not meant as a time to ‘preach’ or ‘drive home’ a message someone needs to hear; it’s simply a relationship building time which helps those around the table get to know each other. Quite often, the conversation will evolve into a discussion that leaves a lasting impression or deep message but that isn’t the goal. You also mentioned your son who eats quickly in the lunch room. Does he have sensory issues which make the lunch room painful…to bright, loud, busy, puts him on overload which floods his brain with anxiety chemicals? If the lunch room isn’t accommodating to his needs, the school is mandated to provide a support or alternative for him to eat peacefully. I would, IN WRITING, request a meeting to discuss this with his teacher and the principal. If there is pushback, elevate the issue because your son’s school experience is vital to his development. Wrightslaw.com is an amazing site for helping with issues like this; I would start there in the accommodations and supports section.
      Kim, it sounds like you are doing a great job observing and identifying your family. It’s so very hard to pull these things together when you have a child that has different needs and things are rushed. It could be your husband doesn’t know what to say or do so instead of being very vulnerable and saying that, it’s easier to rush off and be done with things. But, that’s isn’t a great way to build a lasting relationship. I believe you are on the right track, you are doing such a good job in a very hard situation and I applaud your efforts. If there is anything else I can provide or help you with, please connect. And, if you just want to keep the conversation going, write anytime…I would love to hear from you and walk with you through these experiences. Thanks for reaching out. Colleen

  2. Hi Colleen,
    I pray you and your family are well. I hadn’t stopped by since we last talked and wanted to say hello and keep you abreast of what’s happening in Winkle Life here in California. I enjoyed the above article as it spoke to me specifically about being fractured and running around attending to emergencies, but never really seeking a slower, well-thought out schedule which began it’s day w/ my Savior! I love Him, but my harried nature many times omits my foundation of Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
    It has seemed these past months that I have let the worries of the day, and month, and years….. You get the picture, get in the way of my relationship with the One who gave me life. Please pray as you are able; that I would begin that process and remain steadfast. That fractured nature is one that is hard to get control over when you seek to “do all things,” but forget the Lord in the equation.
    Specifically, may I ask you to prayer for my mother who recently moved in with us for a time. Our relationship is tentative and she is not a believer. Also for Noah as he turns 17 this December and all those issues that accompany this age and add autism in there to boot… I myself am working on restoring my physical body to health. I have gained 60 pounds back after losing it last year. Jack is our wonderful husband and father, yet his work has been especially difficult lately. His desire (if the Lord’s) is to gain different employment.
    Thanks for listening my friend. I will keep you and yours in prayer. Please let me know how I may pray for you.
    Julie Winkle

    • Julie, Oh my friend….I’m so, so happy you chose to connect! It’s great to hear from you! I’m so sorry that life seems to have rushed in like a title wave, one hit after another that pounds away at our resolve, our motivation, and our determination to ‘make it’ through. If it’s any consolation, I TOTALLY get it. Obviously, hence the piece above. I am learning the enemy can be quite crafty in distracting us….putting things directly in our path that appear like an emergency and keep us running on that ‘hamster wheel’ until we are exhausted and want to crawl into a ball and cover ourselves with whatever is around. I think the weight issue is only a bi-product of all that’s happening…you will get it off and yes, it can drive you nuts because I’ve been there. But, here again, it’s a distraction. With your mother moving in, your son’s needs, work issues…who wouldn’t want to crawl up with a bowl of cookie dough and scarf down!! I WOULD! = ) So my prayer is that you will be able to regain a clear perspective on what is important…beginning with YOU. Your health is vital-can you carve out at least 30 min of time to exercise/stretch/quiet your mind and take care of the one and only body God made just for you? It is so very hard; some seasons I wanted to punch anyone who suggested that so I get it. But, I also have learned the value of doing so because it’s in those times the Lord seems to open my heart and mind the most. Then with your mom….I wonder how you could “reframe” the time with her. It may have an awful, sticky past; and you may have the joy of watch God work and change it to be a peaceful time for however long he allows. I would love to walk with you through this. One reason is that I just went through a life/death experience; so much so that it’s changed my perspective on my relationships. If what I’ve been through can be of any support to you, I would be honored. Julie, there are so many things in this life we cannot change; and many things we can change if we take a different path. We can’t change others, we can’t change autism; but we can ask the Lord to change our hearts to be like His. That’s been my prayer recently, and I’ll pray that for you as well. I pray the Lord is your resource of hope, peace, contentment, acceptance, endurance, and resolve. May the Lord give you sound wisdom, clear direction, renewed hope as you move forward these days. As always, I’m here to help and support you however I can…just let me know. So good to catch up. I believe in you, my friend! Colleen