for everyone who needs freedom from their to-do-list

July 21, 2016

As I flip the calendar, I am reminded of the time of year quickly approaching for so many of us mothers.

The beginning of school.

I don’t know about you, but just the thought of reading yet to be completed, uniforms still to purchase and the hectic schedules of fall sends my stomach quickly into knots.

I have list after list of things to accomplish before the first school bell rings. And, unfortunately, I know some that will not be done despite my best efforts.

I feel like I need to be reminded of how precious these last few weeks really are.

Maybe, instead of spending the last few weeks of summer stressing out over things yet to come or still be completed, we should pause to look at the list and genuinely evaluate what part it plays for all of us.

My current list(which I actually started in May for summer – I know that is so sad!) looks a little like this…

  • Finish summer reading (no, I am not actually reading, but we moms all know that after you have begged, threatened and bribed over it, you may as well have read it to them!) including posters, projects, paragraphs and such.
  • Renew boys’ passports (because we must all go together, including dad, and there is never time during the hours of 8-5, Monday through Friday that we are!)
  • Order uniforms (yes, for the man-child who is now taller than me and almost as tall as dad and the younger brother who is sick and tired of hand-me-downs all. the. time.)
  • Shots for sixth grade ( for the youngest, the ONLY one in the family who has health issues! Why me? is his common phrase lately?!) – CHECKED and DONE!
  • Buy shoes (because if we wait much longer there will be no ‘cool’ ones left and our last year’s models don’t fit and look horrible.)
  • Oral surgeon appointment (because same little guy is having a summer of shots and oral surgery and nothing fun it seems.)

Squeeze in some two-a-days for the oldest, a few haircuts,  church activities, hitting lessons, a vacation and a job and you may have one stressed out mom before August arrives!

Perhaps your list is similar. Or, longer. Or, completed already with lots of check marks! Whatever it may be, these lists can quickly become all-consuming joy killers if we let them.

Sadly enough, we all know that none of these things on my list are really do or die. So many people are dealing with things much more important this summer. And, yes, most of these are just first world problems. People all over this great world would love to have the opportunities this list represents.

However, regardless of what our mind knows, our emotions can take over. For most of us, the list causes one of two feelings. A sense of accomplishment. Or, defeat.

Just one little piece of paper and planning (or lack there of) can evoke so many emotions.

Anxiety. Busyness. Disorganization. Excitement (when you cross one-off!). Failure (when you don’t). Gratitude (that you were able to actually do said item). Heartache. Insecurity. Jealousy (because someone’s list is more exciting or completed already!).

Today, an honest assessment of my thoughts regarding ‘the list’ would be disappointment. I had such grand plans and great intentions early on! And, the majority of my list still remains undone.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. {Proverbs 19:21}

Many feelings we experience in regards to these to-do-lists are far from positive. And, I know most of us (whether we are moms are not) really need lists.

Could we perhaps work to train our minds and thoughts to look at them differently from now on? Perhaps more for planning purposes than prophetic purposes. Our completion of these items is not a race of sorts. And, most definitely should not define us or hold us captive in defeat.

Yes, my list consists more of my ‘stress related items’ than my ‘have to’s’ unfortunately.

Understanding that our to-do- lists are great reminders, but not great references for our abilities or character is a must.

And, even more so, not comparing our lists to everyone else’s OR my ability to complete it, is necessary to survive in this world of comparison. Really friends, I keep reminding myself, comparison IS the thief of joy.

At times, our to-do-lists can become somewhat of a stumbling block. Or, an idol. Just another way for the enemy to continue to weigh us down. To lie to us. And, to make us doubt our true identity.

Maybe, for the remainder of the summer we can all take a deep breath and spend time on important things.

I am hoping to think of other ways to tame my list while unleashing myself to actually do more. More of the things that really will matter.

Others. Time. Attention. Memories. Prayer. Joy. Love. Jesus.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. {Colossians 3:2}

Those are the things I want my to-do-list to be weighted down by. And, my mind to be set on. On things above.

If we truly focus on what matters and ask God in prayer to guide us, I really believe that we will all be able to manage the little things that life requires on our list with much more ease and fewer distractions.

And, yes, our true identity will be defined by the One who provides these precious moments in time and supplies the needs of our list.

No longer a slave to our ‘to-do-lists’, but rather free to be exactly who our Heavenly Father has planned for us to be.

Not defined by our lists’ accomplishments and check marks. Or, by the enemies’ lies or comparisons. Stealing our thoughts and desires while leaving us empty and yearning for peace.

Rather, a woman after God’s own heart, willing to give up control and time to bring Him much glory. With His perfect peace and powerful Spirit throughout the craziest of seasons.

That is really all I need to accomplish all I need.

More surrender. Less stress.

More Jesus. Less me.

Thank you, precious Father, that your purposes prevail for our lives. Your ways are perfect, and we confess, we need to trust you more. Help us in these last few weeks of summer to surrender our time, thoughts and talents to you. Grant us peace in our minds and homes as we serve you. Please, Lord, in a world overcome with chaos and fear, just give us more Jesus. In his holy name we pray. Amen.







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