The Tyranny of the Urgent

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The tyranny of the urgent is something that holds us back from accomplishing those things that are really important. For years I’ve wanted to write a book but there was never time to sit down and just write. Too many things in my life were urgent and the importance of writing had to take a back seat to just trying to get through the week. That is, until I learned the secret that I am going to share with you. The secret of setting aside the guilt and tyranny of the things that I THINK are urgent and just spending some time each day doing what’s important. To me it was taking the time for writing a little at a time.

You see there are always urgent things to do. There is always going to be things that seem like they can’t be put off another day but there are important things that God is calling you to do that are actually more important and those things believe it or not supercede those urgent things.

What does tyranny mean? The American Heritage Dictionary defines tyranny as this:

A government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power.
1. The office, authority, or jurisdiction of an absolute ruler.
2. Absolute power, especially when exercised unjustly or cruelly: “I have sworn . . . eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man” (Thomas Jefferson).
3. Use of absolute power.
4. A tyrannical act.
5. Extreme harshness or severity; rigor.

Wow! So we see that tyranny is a government that is exercised unjustly or cruelly. Well, I know that I live in the Kingdom or government of Christ. That means that if I succumb to the tyranny of the urgent I am submitting myself to an authority that deals unjustly or cruelly with me. Therefore, the tyranny of the urgent is sent not by God but by Satan to upset the Kingdom in my life. To simplify it further the tyranny of the urgent takes the important things in my life away. The result is that I never reach my full potential because I am running around like a chicken without a head.

It all makes sense! Now it makes it clear why you can’t read your bible without distractions, why you can’t pray without distractions, why you can’t sit and listen to a friend. It shows that the tyranny of the urgent has stolen the important things and has divided your mind. The bible is clear in its statement that a divided mind is unstable in all of its ways (James 1:8). In other words, it doesn’t stand on solid ground. Instead it wobbles. No wonder we wander around in circles accomplishing nothing.

It’s not easy to focus on the important when the urgent is constantly coming to mind but you can do it! It means simply becoming aware of those things that are taking time away from what you have been called to do. You may want to run home to watch your favorite TV show but maybe God has placed a person who desperately needs to speak to you about a problem. The TV is urgent, the person is important. It means we must sometimes do those things God has called us to do over those things we’d rather do. Ultimately it’s about which Kingdom we are submitted to, the tyranny of the urgent or Kingdom of God and those things which are important?

Published in: on March 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I get this. Sometimes it’s really hard in the moment to decide what the priority is or needs to be. The decision of priority usually should be made beforehand while we aren’t in a state of anxiety or panic, then during the call of the “urgent” we can weigh the seeming options.

    The best advice I have ever received was, “Don’t make major decisions in a crisis or when you’re highly stressed” more often than not it always be the wrong one and result will be chains of guilt or debt.

  2. […] opportunities as they arise. Learn to pace yourself so that you no longer live in the tyranny of the urgent. Your anxiety and stress will begin to ease and you will live a more purposed life, as there will […]


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