When Your To-Do List Gives You The Evil Eye

Friday, October 10, 2014

Do you ever feel like your life is controlled by a to-do list?

Do this, make this, study this, prepare this, accomplish this, on and on and on!  It's embarrassing how many notebooks I've filled with to-do lists.  I'm a list gal, but I feel like I might have an obsession when I make 2 page long to-do lists in MY DIARY.  My diary!  Diaries are a place for deep, gut-wrenching tearful rants about how our internet is still not fixed, or how I've had tacos four meals in a row and will bail and hitch-hike to Japan if I have to eat another one!  It's a real problem. 

My point is that my brain thinks in terms of lists and getting things and done and checking it off.  Example would be my latest to-do list from Monday night:

  • I need to finish my worldview test and read Cat of Bubastes and Science tomorrow
  • What good arm workout could I do? 
  • Pocket, swing through.  Step, swing through, pocket.
  • I need to find out if Shea can trim my bangs.
  • I'm tired.
  • I have a lot to think about.
  • I wonder if I prepared enough for Spanish tomorrow...
  • Lunch: Chicken on lettuce w/ grapes. 
  • I really hope Mr. Bowman can fix our computer.
  • How much do volleyballs cost?  Does lala have money to contribute?

In case you were wondering, my lunch was excellent (albeit a little dry without any dressing), I did not finish "The Cat of Bubastes" (more like the Cat of BORING), and Mr. Bowman handed us the news that our computer has a virus (so I pleaded with my dad until he let me write one blog post on his hands-off work computer).
The crazy thing about all this is that I'm not worried or stressed about really any of it now!  Life happened, I swung through my serve, and life moved on.  Huh.  It's like I'm worrying over inconsequential, earthly things! 


Sometimes I write lists just to get it all out of my brain so I can really concentrate, mainly when I'm praying/doing school late at night.  I call them "I'm thinking about" lists.  Every random thought whirling around my brain is grabbed and stabbed onto the list until I can really devote time to thinking it.  The list above was one of my thinking about lists.
But then sometimes (confession time), I make to-do lists so I feel like I have a sense of control somewhere in my life.  Except it rarely works out that way.  There never seem to be enough hours in the day to "get it all done"!  Not nearly enough time to finish everything in school, play with my siblings, read my books, write blog posts, email friends, actually get together with friends, work out, babysit, do my quiet time, pray, and on and on and on!

I like to make to-do lists because I feel like then I'll see SOME progress SOMEWHERE.  I actually did a math lesson today?  I'm so good.  I baked cookies for my volleyball team?  I'm such a servant! I straightened my hair? They're going to think I have it all put together.  The thang is-get ready for a real shocker-

I don't.

My mind buzzes with ideas 24/7.   I've always been like that, coming up with grand schemes on crafts I could craft, sleepovers I would throw, food I would make (only to find out half-way through that we're missing the peanut butter for peanut butter cookies). 

Sometimes, that's how my life feels.  Like a peanut butter cookie- except without the peanut butter.  Life is crazy good, except I'm missing something.  Something big.  Someone big. 

So how do I do it?  How do I live my insane life, and yet still live my insane life for Christ? 

My natural reaction is to drop all and book a flight to Uganda tomorrow morning.  And that really is a dream of mine.  But it's not for today.  Honestly, that'd be the easy choice.  Sure it'd be a new place, new experience, new language.  But I'd be 'down in the trenches, winning souls for God'.  I'd be witnessing to people 24/7.  I'd be seeing so many things, experiencing so many things. 
Here, there's Algebra and siblings who push your buttons and glitches in your volleyball year that you didn't expect.  It just doesn't have the same glorious ring. 

Yesterday, I started something that I want to try for a month. 

Every day, at specific times, I will stop what I'm doing and go and pray.  JUST PRAY.  Nothing fancy or detailed or super time-sucking.  Just a few minutes at most. 

The original idea came from Jen Hatmaker's book '7', where she fasts from different things for seven months.  On the seventh month she fasted from stress by praying seven times a day at specific times (can you tell she has a thing for the number seven?) 

Her times were these: Early morning (7:30), Mid morning (10:00), Middle of Day (12:00), Middle of Afternoon (3:00), The Day is Ending (6:00), and Evening (10:00).  To make it seven times a day she added in praying at midnight, but I didn't feel like my parents would appreciate me waking up at midnight every night:)
My iPod is set with alarms for each of these times, and as soon as I hear them I will (to the best of my ability and depending on where I'm at) go and pray.  Already I can feel my focus re-shifting.  Taking the time to welcome God into my day and keep him there is huge. 

To-do lists were becoming a bad thing in my life because I found my worth there.  To-do lists in themselves are not inherently evil.  IN THE SLIGHTEST.  So get that out of your pretty lil head.  They're blessings and help save me time.  But when they're all I can see, then I know that they've become an idol.   Even if I can't check off every little box on the list, I'm okay.  What a relief, huh? 

Today, I believe that God is a God of grace.  Today, I take a deep breath in the midst of the crazy.  Today, I remind myself that I don't have to perform for God's love.  Today, I remember to find my worth in Christ.   


 What are you going to do today?

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  1. I do these to-do lists all the time for the exact same reason! Life can be stressful, and sometimes writing it all out can somehow make it less stressful. I'm glad you've acknowledged this and have found your own de-stressing solution. Thanks for this marvellous post!!

    The Life of Little Me

  2. Great post! I also have a huge tendency to go overload on my to-do lists, and that's when sometimes I just have to remember that God IS in control, not me :)

  3. This is an amazing post! So inspirational...
    Thank you <3
    The Journeys of My Beating Heart


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