The to-do list
Wait, that may deserve bold type:
The To-Do List
If you are a list maker, you get me. You get that if the thrill of making a to-do list is surpassed by anything, it is only surpassed by the thrill of
Marking Something Off the List.
Word. Some of you are feelin’ me. Am I right? Yep, your head’s nodding too.
BC (before cancer), the productivity of any day was directly proportional to the number of items marked off a to-do list. Therefore, by the Law of Inverse Something or Other, a day was not productive at all if nothing was scratched off the to-do list.
So when I started my experiment, I had a dilemma. A serious one. I was leaving my days wide open for God, and though there was more satisfaction in that than I can put into words, my own to-do lists were gathering dust. Items on those lists were being eliminated at a frighteningly slow rate of speed. I know, I KNOW, that my priorites are much closer to where they should be now than they used to be. But old ways of thought die hard, and I couldn’t fully escape this sense of being “unproductive.”
Finally, one day it hit me. I mean it hit me like a ton of bricks. Duh, Sara, duh. All you need to do is come up with a to-do list that you can actually do. A list that matches your new priorities.
So here’s my new list:
Follow God’s agenda for today
(Psalm 119:133, Jer 10:23, Prov 3:5-6)
(I Thess. 5:17)
Constantly list my blessings
(I Thess. 5:17)
Train the warriors
(Deut 6:6-9, Prov 22:6, Prov 29:17, Eph 6:4)
Serve my husband as I would serve Jesus in the flesh
That’s it. Not rocket science, I know. As I face any decision during the day about how to spend my time, I see if it fits one or more of these items. As I lay down every night, I think through my day and determine how many of those items I could cross off for that day. I freely admit I rarely complete my list. (But if I could easily cross off the whole list each day, then it wasn’t a real to-do list, was it, list keepers? 🙂 Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. There’s got to be a challenge.)
In case you are wondering, “Train the warriors” is of course about raising my boys. I have just decided in recent months that I wanted to become a little more focused in this regard, and using the phrase “train the warriors” helps me to remember the seriousness and importance of my goal in parenting them. We don’t just want to raise them to be generally well-adjusted members of society. We want to raise them to be courageous men who fight on the Lord’s side at all times while they pass through this life as strangers and aliens.
Oh, I still have the other kinds of lists, but to be honest I only look at them a few times a week. They no longer control me and they no longer get to dictate whether or not I have been “productive.”
So, here’s an example of how this helps me:
A few weeks ago I planned to run an afternoon errand with the boys – taking some items back to Sears. For some reason that day, I thought of a shut-in that we hadn’t visited in quite awhile. I didn’t know why she came to mind that day, so I decided maybe we needed to go see her. (See my last post.) I also know that I want to train my boys to have a Godly love and respect for the elderly, especially their spiritual elders. So I figured out this activity fell into both #1 and #4 on my list, and I decided to abandon my other to-do list item of making returns. That sweet lady died just one week later, and I am eternally thankful God prompted me to go and visit her just one last time. My mom was running errands the other day in Cool Springs and was able to make my Sears return for me quite easily. Thank you, God, for helping me make the right choice that day.
I give you this example not to be boastful, but just to encourage you that though I get it wrong most times, when I do manage to get it right, God makes everything else work out.
So for my list-making friends: if you are thinking about trying “the experiment” but balk at the idea of abandoning the to-do list, I humbly recommend that you try making a new one. One like this one that can be added to the top of your other lists. Yours probably won’t look like mine. Many of you may come up with better ones. I’d love to hear if you try it, and I’d love to hear one or two items you think of that I should think about adding to mine. It’s a work in progress. I hope that I am constantly learning more about how to walk in God’s paths; constantly being transformed closer to the image of Christ.
Just a few of my thoughts for today, friends. May God richly bless you this day with a greater sense of His abiding presence. I can’t think of any better blessing He could give. Unless Jesus were to come back. That’d be just fine by me…