Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday Thinking – Out of Order

I don’t like it when I fret.  I’ve been fretting. 

Julie Beck, president of the General Relief Society organization, gave a wonderful example of how to prioritize.  She said she divides things into three categories:  essential, necessary, nice-to-do. 

As far as the body goes, I understand essential.  Essential is our brain, lungs, heart, liver, kidneys.  Essential is really important.

As far as the body goes, I understand necessary.  Necessary is our torso, arms, legs, neck, feet.  Necessary is important, but not essential.

As far as the body goes, I understand nice-to-have.  Nice to have is a good complexion, no cellulite, strong fingernails, healthy hair, strong nails.  Nice-to-have is nice to have.

When I read Julie Beck’s method of prioritizing into three categories, I visualized three baskets (wire, lined with muslin, with cute tags or little slabs of chalkboard paint signs on the front of course, sitting on the top of our refrigerator) saying “essential, necessary, and nice-to-do.” All I had to do was sort my goals and activities into the baskets.  Since I’m a pretty good sorter – socks, rocks, clods, beans – I figured sorting my priorities would be easy.  And it was . . .

I sat down and wrote the three category headings in my notebook.  Next I began to sort my goals and activities under the categories.  My list was similar to Sister Beck’s. 

Like her, I wanted those things that were absolutely essential to my eternal well-being in my essential basket.  Since receiving personal inspiration is the only way that I can know the Lord and follow Him, I put that at the top of the list:  Receiving Personal Inspiration.  In order to receive personal inspiration I need to pray often, read my scriptures frequently, ponder (which I do best while exercising), go to the temple, study and learn new things, and serve other people.  I put those in bullet form underneath Receiving Personal Inspiration.  Since Calvin and the kids are so valuable to me and depend on me to help them reach their eternal potential, being a wife and mother who honors her covenants, teaches and nurtures, and strengthens her family was the next thing on my list:  Being a Woman Who Knows (What is Important).  Specific ways that I can help my family are put in bullet form under this title. 

In my necessary basket are the things that help me and others to feel the Spirit of the Lord in our home – things that make our home clean, safe, comfortable, and attractive.  It means cooking meals and keeping the garden and chickens alive so that we have food to keep us strong.  It means learning new skills and understanding the things of the earth and the things taking place on the earth so I am prepared for opportunities and challenges.  It means being a good teacher at my job, and serving those around me.  It means keeping a record of our family.  This basket is clear full.  

In my nice-to-do basket I put the things that I love to do that make life pretty and more fun – things like scrapbooking, blogging, pleasure reading, craft projects, computer time.  There are lots of ideas in this basket. 

And those are some of the things in my imaginary priority baskets.  And sometimes they’re neat and orderly, and sometimes they’re not. 

This afternoon while I was jogging I thought, “You’re fretting again.  What in the world do you have to fret about?”  I mentally listed the things that I’m responsible for and couldn’t think of a thing that deserved undue worry.  But the fret feeling has been nagging for a few weeks and I wanted to get to the bottom of it, so I prayed that I could figure out where it was coming from so I could put it in its rightful place.  I continued to jog and as I did I thought of my priority baskets.  The necessary and nice-to-do were especially messy – they were spilling into each other.  I began to mentally resort and immediately things became clearer and the fretting ebbed. 

Funny how life works.  Funny how there is enough enthusiasm, energy, and time for the nice-to-do things if I do them when the essential and necessary things are done first.  Funny how there is seldom enough enthusiasm, energy, or time for the essential if I do nice-to-do first.  Funny how I know these things, but I still let my baskets get mixed up.  And just as soon as I get all my essential and necessary baskets in order I’m going to do a nice-to-do craft project with three cute wire baskets . . . and muslin liners . . . and cute tags.


Michelle said...

Jane, I need to make me some baskets! I've had that feeling recently too and didn't quite know what to do about it. I think you've effectively myth-busted that for me. Thanks!

Deanna/Mimi said...

Beautifully said!! You should submit this posting as an article for the Ensign magazine. It would help so many people. Give it some strong thought. Loved it.

Cali said...

I love that talk and that method. My daily to do list has those three sections and I sort my day by them. I'm so glad you wrote this. I have a very wise mother

Ande Payne said...

This was very nice to read today. I have been abandoning some of my baskets. And consequently fretting. Thank you for helping me put it in good perspective. I love you.

michelle said...

So, so true. I love your last sum it all up paragraph!

Jill said...

You know I love this message so much as it has been life changing for me the past year and a half since I first heard Sister Beck give it at Women's Conference.

I hate fretting, but appreciate it when it signals that I need to re-align something (or reorganize my cute wire baskets).

I'm glad you got to the bottom of yours!

Rachel said...

Good blog. I like to hear what goes on in that head of yours. Miss you!


Becky said...

This talk by Sister Beck has been life-changing for me as well. Every single time I feel that life has become too overwhelming and I am not doing well emotionally, I can trace the source to my baskets being out of order...