When I married my husband John, my life was so full, I feared I would have far more to do than time to do it. So I created a personal mission statement to define my true priorities and help me determine how to spend my time. I consulted the Bible for guidelines and selected Matthew 6:33, which spoke to me: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
So I wrote: First, the most important thing to me is my relationship with Christ. My success is first measured by how I serve the Lord with my time, talents and treasure. I make decisions based on what Jesus would want me to do, not what I feel like doing. Second, I am a faithful, encouraging, supportive wife and I will be a loving, caring, and nurturing mother, sometimes even sacrificing my own needs to ensure theirs. I work to live, not live to work. Lastly, I take care of myself physically, knowing then I will have the energy and ability to work for the Lord and my family.
I read what I’d written and put it away, feeling good about myself. However, God soon showed me that creating a mission statement and actually living it are two different things.
I was twenty-six-years old when my first child, Meagan, was born. I traveled extensively with a public seminar company, gaining success and recognition in the marketplace. I was determined to be a wife and mother and career woman at the same time. Nothing would slow me down. I could change a diaper with one hand and type a proposal with another: a good proposal. I wanted to do it all—and succeed. So I arranged for my girlfriend, Angie, to care for Meagan when I was out of town speaking, and when Meagan was three months old, I started traveling again.
I couldn’t see that my life was insane or that I wasn’t following my personal mission statement. I wasn’t working to live; I was living to work, striving to meet the world’s definition of success, completely forgetting the one I’d written.
But then I got a wake-up call...literally.
One late afternoon on the road, when Meagan was fourteen months old, I phoned Angie to check in, as usual. I stood at the pay phone in a hotel lobby. “Angie, hi. How’s Meagan?”
“Oh Laura, we had a wonderful morning. Meagan walked today!”
Thud.I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Meagan walked today. And where was I?
My friend went on enthusiastically, “Yes, I just said, ‘Come to Angie’ and she walked across the living room into my arms!”
Sobbing in the lobby of a Holiday Inn in Mansfield, Ohio, 400 miles from home, her words echoed in my ears.