The Things that Matter

I haven’t posted an update for a while. At first, I will admit, I was distracted by the Winter Olympics (most Canadians love to get excited about the winter Games, especially during gold-medal curling and hockey matches (did I mention that we won all four gold medals in those events?)) but then, as another week slipped by, it was easy to just continue delaying writing a new blog post.

Actually, I’ve been facing a conundrum that regularly pops up in various areas of my life: Does it really matter if I blog regularly? If not, why am I making myself feel bad about it? If yes, why can’t I discipline myself to do it?

I have these inaudible conversations with myself regarding things like weight loss (Does anyone else really care if I’m 15 pounds overweight? Who am I trying to impress? But it’s important for my health so I should do this…) and my writing (I really should buckle down and work on some article and book proposals. But I’ve got enough work — why do I need more? Is this about promoting myself or about being a good steward of the talents God has given me?) and just about anything else I need to make daily decisions about. I constantly find myself questioning my motivation behind why I do things — things that are not wrong or right on their own but could be wrong or right depending on my motives.

I think it’s because, every day, I am confronted with two sets of standards: the world’s and God’s. And I need to decide which one to live up to. The world tells me to look beautiful, wear stylish clothes, be clever and hip on social media, drive my book and author rankings up on Amazon, take gorgeous photos, read all the right books, cook like Emeril, know who’s who in Hollywood, have the right politics, listen to the right music and watch the right movies and quote the best TV shows and… Phew! It’s exhausting.

For a world that says it hates religion for its do’s and don’ts and commandments, it sure knows how to dole out its own unforgiving list of wrongs and rights. We’re constantly told what foods not to eat, what companies not to support, what products to avoid, what causes to stand up for or oppose, whose rights to defend or take away, what moral values to tolerate or reject or teach to our children and, if you live where I live, even what languages not to do business in.

Jesus said: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) He doesn’t weigh me down with a to-do list that I can’t keep up with. He asks me to “love the Lord [my] God with all [my] heart and with all [my] soul and with all [my] mind and with all [my] strength” and to “love [my] neighbor as [myself]. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

All of these thoughts were inspired by a quote I came across last night by Marjorie Pay Hinckley:

I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.
I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

I came here simply wanting to share this passage with you but all the rest came out, too! So I may not post here on a perfectly timed schedule. I hope you’ll forgive me. The photos I post will likely be grainy or awkwardly lighted and composed. I won’t have solutions for losing weight or making it big in your career. But I will do my best to be real and to share with you the love that God has generously poured into my life.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. If it encouraged or inspired you, I hope you’ll share it with a friend. God bless you!

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4 thoughts on “The Things that Matter

  1. stevefrank1 Friday, February 28, 2014 at 1:41 pm Reply

    Thank you, Ann-Margret, for sharing this. I didn’t kniow that you had a blog. Would it be alright with you if I shared your blog location with people who receive my blog? God bless you! Steve Frank (http://achesandpraise.wordpress.com)

    • Ann-Margret Friday, February 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm Reply

      Hi Steve, of course, I would be honoured to have you share my blog! I’m also going to save yours in my favourites to have a look. It’s been nice to connect with Karen on Facebook. God bless you!

  2. Joke Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm Reply

    Hi Ann, I hope you have a good Sunday and that you get some time not to worry about all the things you have to do (or not!!)
    All the things you mentioned are also true “the other way around”
    Like how much is too much if you care about looks ( everything you mentioned)
    The devil wants to keep us busy worrying and giving us a guilt trip.
    I think as long as it isn’t an obsession and it doesn’t become an idol, we can decide ourselves what to do and not
    Joke

    • Ann-Margret Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm Reply

      Hi Joke! It was so nice to see a comment from you on my blog. We did have a good Sunday — it was busy but now I’m relaxing. 😀 Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s so true that the devil distracts us with worries about what we should or shouldn’t be doing. That’s why I’m thankful that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us.

      God bless you!

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