You Need Neglect
Something needs to be said, so I’m gonna say it.
I am sorry.
It’s been four weeks since my last post. My goal is to get at least one post up on the blog each week, but there are some weeks that just don’t allow for that. I want to write. I enjoy it. It’s cathartic. But sometimes, like other things in my life, it has to be neglected.
We generally think of neglect in a negative light. After all, something is being left by the wayside, untouched, dust is collecting, productivity suspended. That can’t be good, right?
I have been meditating on one verse, tucked away in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, for almost a month now. It keeps working me over in new ways (Scripture tends to do that), and one facet of this verse that won’t leave me alone is the way it calls for a rethinking of how we process neglect.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)
That first phrase gets me—above all else.
The inference is that the heart is so incredibly important and its condition so critical that watching over it should be our top priority. The Hebrew literally reads, “more than all guarding.”
We are told that we need to guard a lot of things. You need to guard your time. You need to guard your schedule. You need to guard your children. You need to guard your retirement. You need to guard your credit score.
So many demands call for our time and attention. So many activities vie for a spot in our to-do list. But, what really needs to be done? What must happen?
The words of this verse are reminder that if we are going to do what must be done (and guarding your heart must be done… we may talk more about that in a future post), then we must practice intentional neglect.
Scripture clearly calls for us to avoid evil and even the appearance of evil, but neglect is necessary in a more pervasive way as well. We will have to be so committed to what really matters, that we intentionally give our time to what aligns with our God-given calling and passions, and this will mean that sometimes we neglect good things. Sometimes we say no to what is good, so that we can give ourselves to what is better.
What does it take to live out the imperative of Proverbs 4:23? I can’t answer that for you; only you can do that. But, neglect is part of the equation.
The writer says, “above all else.” What’s the else in your life? Discovering this is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.