I have a few issues with "to-do" lists...
First off I get distracted while making them. This is a problem because it only proves how desperately I need to make a "to-do" list. Having a "to-do" list saves me from standing around during those brief moments that are ripe with potential accomplishment, re-assessing the million and one things that need done repeatedly, until I give up and decide instead to spend the following 6 minutes in the bathroom playing bejeweled blitz... At least it would help if i could locate the list during those moments.
And how exactly do I make a "to-do" list? Do I list thing in order of importance or in a chronological pattern? And what about all the other things I realize need done as I go about said list? If "thaw meat" is on the list & my sink is full of dishes requiring me to empty the clean dishes out of the dishwasher & put the dirty dishes in before I'm able to thaw the meat, do I edit my list to include "empty dishwasher" & "load dishwasher" just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing those off the list? And if that's the case should I also include "update to-do list" on my "to-do" list? Where does one stop?
I'm also unclear on what to do with all the stuff that's left on my "to-do" list at the end of the day. Each day brings repeat offenders (dishes, kitchen, laundry, papers...) that I often struggle just to complete. Therefore what's left on the list are the bigger projects (vacuuming, changing sheets, bathing children, organizing closets) that take special energy & opportunity (and yes, I'm aware you're all laughing at that honest list I just made...) My question is how long do I keep making the same list everyday & only doing the same 4 things until I give up on the others?
There's also this deeper issue that I've struggled with regarding "to-do" lists... People get placed on them and I become the list. Let me explain...
I'm busy. This isn't a recent development that came included with a set of twins. I've always been an on-the-go-can't-sit-still kinda gal. I wanted to leave basketball practice 7 minutes early so I could change in the car on my way to ballet class... I took 18 hours of college credits per semester while working part time, playing on the soccer team, training for a marathon & raising money for the diabetes association... I worked two jobs, volunteered with the youth group, played on the worship team & worked hard at my new marriage... I like busy.
I can hide in busy.
In order to keep this life of busyness I had to mentally check off my "to-do" list at every moment. That means constantly pushing my multi-tasking ability to the next level. It means turning time with my family, relaxing with my handsome husband, hanging out with friends, ministry opportunities, running, praying, reading... even God Himself into "to-do's". This is not fulfilling. This is exhausting.
Then came that moment when i realized i desperately needed all the good stuff I was doing to mean I was good... good enough. But busy doesn't equal worthy. It was at that certain ladies Sunday school class (shameless plug... Go to Sunday school. What do you have going on Sunday morning that's more important than digging deeper into God's Word with other believers?) that I was confronted with the truth that God loved me... Not what I did. Just me. No hiding necessary. It was pointed out to me that God made us human beings not human doings. This simple, shocking truth still rocks my world. There is a me beneath & beyond the things I do... Or have "to-do"... And God desires that me.
When I focus on "being" and not "doing" things change... It's not that I necessarily do less or different stuff... But I'm different. I'm not rushing around in a void attempt to squeeze value out of a longer "to-do" list that's completely checked off. I'm free to find rejuvenation in sitting on the couch with my husband... I'm free to leave the dishes when I can sneak in a run... To truly care about the person who I have the opportunity to serve... To have the God of this universe speak to my tiny heart... Instead of seeing all this & more as things I "must do" in order to be worth love & acceptance. The Bible says God loved us first, when we were still His enemies, while we were still lost in sin. And He still loves us today. Just as much. Never more. Never less. Regardless of how much we do or how much we still have "to-do".
I'm still far from great at viewing myself this way. I still believe lies about my worth that sometimes trip me up. I need constant reminding... But I have another day every morning "to-do" WITH God & grow deeper in this understanding... And
I'll keep moving forward in this freedom...
After all it's #1 on my "to-do" list.