By Jeewan Chanicka
(September 9, 2009) – Our job, while important, is not supposed to be the focus of our lives.
It is easy to think that we work long hours to help our families.
But when we get so tired that we hardly spend quality time building our personal relationships with Allah, with our family members and we get too tired to actually engage in community work – what then?
What are we teaching our children about our priorities in life – which is more important – is it God, people or work?
Understandably, some cases are different – some of us need to work long hours because without each hour’s wage we may not be able to put food on the table.
But for others who don’t, we’ve allowed work to consume our lives.
Sometimes, we happily reflect on memories of the “good old days” when we were younger and more involved, were closer with our brothers and sisters but lament that, now, the “daily formalities of life” have taken over.
So we are either too tired to spend time building our relationships with Allah or our families and community or we do the bare minimum to appease our guilty consciences.
We forget that we must take advantage of our good health and life while we have it.
To put it bluntly – for those of us who’ve become workaholics or allow our time to become consumed in other useless activities, do you think that when we die, our managers will come out and say, “Hey Allah, sorry so and so could not do ….. he was working on a project for me”?
What if we were to re-arrange our priorities?
If we use the list we made in our heads or on paper of the traits we want to change and choose one or two and then set some goals to try and achieve them.
This will help to get us back on the road that will lead us to true happiness.
Then we should begin to explore how we spend our time when we aren’t busy with work – how can we live successfully for ourselves and teach our children what true success is?
Another way to measure success is the ability to live in a manner that is spiritually, physically and emotionally fulfilling – to find contentment in the situations that we face and to remember that with our imperfections there is forgiveness, with our happiness there is gratitude, with tests and trials, there is learning and patience and, with patience, there is victory.
In this month of Ramadan, we can also spend some time reflecting with the “end in mind” to see if we are living meaningfully.
If we are not, then we need to re-prioritize how we use our time.
How can I re-prioritize the moments in my life to help live with the big picture in mind?
What can I do to make a difference in my life and the lives of those around me?
This evaluation is a difficult process.
It means removing the “victim” (I have no choice I have to live this way) from within and starting to take ourselves to task (I am making a choice to live this way and I can make a choice to change how I live with Allah’s help).
1) Track your time – spend some time to see how you actually spend your time.
2) Recognize that “I am in control of my time and life” (within the bounds set by Allah)
3) Is there a balance in your life? Are you nourishing your physical and spiritual self?
4) Make a promise to do something to change – remember SMALL and CONSISTENT is the key.
5) Remind yourself, if the end of my life is tomorrow or in twenty years, fifty years…will I be proud of how I have lived my life? Will I be able to say, “I did my best”?
6) Ask yourself – Did I fulfill my trusts to those who have a right on me – my parents? children? neighbors? community?
Let us take a deep breath and do this for Allah.
It can be done.
We have the best example in the life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and in the lives of his companions.
They lived meaningful lives.
Allah has promised those who follow His Way success in this life and eternal success in the next life.
Who would give away eternity for something that they knew was temporary?