A Lesson from- and for- Unexpected Days

Micah spent a few days last week in the hospital. In some ways life charged forward as we made arrangements for the other boys and Justin’s work and postponed to-do list items. And in some ways life ground to a halt as we sat in the hospital and let fluids do their work and waited on labs and watched movies.
The easiest thing is to think that today doesn’t matter. If it’s a good day, it doesn’t count because how often does that happen? If it’s a bad day it doesn’t count, we’ll wait until it’s better to “do something with our lives.” If it’s a day we didn’t expect we just throw everything out the window and flail our arms. But each day counts. Each day is part of the story of our lives and we’ll miss it if we’re always dismissing where we are, even if it’s in hospital room.
If we’re only counting by our to-do list sometimes we do throw everything out the window and flail our arms. Those days that Micah spent in the hospital? The only things I checked off my to-do list were done before he woke up that Thursday morning.
What if we quit measuring by our to-do lists? Instead of counting the day successful if we did something, what if we counted it successful if we were someone? (I know somebody’s going to jump on me for this. I understand that we don’t have to do anything for our worth. God loves us regardless. But there’s a big difference in what kind of person I am and I am in charge of that.)

That’s a stretch for me. I’m rather Type A. I have a plan for every moment. I’d like to plan out my days in color-coded glory, working incessantly until I plan to take a break, then jumping back to it. And sometimes, if I don’t get to do that, I feel like I haven’t done anything. I believe I’m a failure. When you come back from the hospital and everyone is clingy and there’s laundry piled up to your ears and the to-do items didn’t just leave because you weren’t there to do them, it’s easy to get discouraged.
I always say that I’m responsible for what type of woman I am, regardless of what’s going on. If my kids are crying and sick and having problems, I can’t blame my bad attitude on them because I’m responsible for myself. If nothing goes the way I plan, I can’t blame flying off the handle on anything but me.
 unexpected quote
So why don’t I measure my days like that? What kind of woman was I today? Was I gracious? Did I love my husband and my kids? Did I show the joy and love of Christ to others around me? Did I walk through the day knowing He was with me? Maybe the baby cried and there were dirty dishes in the sink and crumbs on the floor while I cooked dinner. Maybe I sat in a hospital room waiting on lab reports instead of taking the kids shopping.
I’d be better off asking if I mothered them the way Christ would want than if I got my list checked off. What good is the accomplished list if I left the to-be list somewhere else?
It’s much less impressive to focus on what kind of person I am. It doesn’t feel as good to begin with.
  • Maybe my house isn’t perfectly decorated but my husband loves to be here.
  • Maybe I can’t throw elaborate parties but I welcome others into our home.
  • Maybe I don’t cook gourmet meals but my family gets fed on the regular. (And sometimes I feel like all I do is feed people. These kids can eat.)
  • Maybe my kids aren’t on any honor rolls and don’t excel in any sports but I love them and I train them and they know God has a purpose for them.
  • Maybe I don’t have one thousand Twitter followers but I try to honor Christ in everything I post online.
What are we measuring with our lives? What story are we telling? Whatever kind of day we’re having, it counts in that story.
You know I’m all about doing your best work. Whatever God has given you to do- do that and do it the very best you can. Mother those children. Care for those patients. Write that paper. Nail that presentation. But if we are being who we are supposed to be, we’ll do what we’re supposed to do.
Even if it’s not what’s on our to-do list.