I’m a list maker. I’m not sure how many trees have had to be cut down to satisfy my habit of creating daily and weekly to-do lists. It has to be a lot. And for this I apologize to environmentalists, especially since I usually never look at the lists once I create them.
Once I organize and prioritize my activities and things I have to do, and “brain dump” them onto a sheet of paper, I roll into action. Do I ever complete all my activities on my lists? Who knows? I certainly don’t.
It occurred to me this way of approaching my daily life has a deeper problem than not looking at my lists once I create them.
In one of my more meditative moments, the Lord pointed out to me my list-making focused on things to accomplish, activities to be completed, objectives and goals to be met. His message was simple. I was defining myself by what I could do, what I could accomplish, not by who I could be and should be.
Make a To-Do List of What Really Counts
The Lord encouraged me to look beyond the lists to who was making the lists, me. Ironically, he challenged me to create a list of how I will be me, not based on activities that ultimately have little significance, but on who I am as a child of the living God, as a father and family man.
This challenge turned my list-making process on its head. Instead of listing what I had to do, I began focusing on who I am, who I’m serving, and why.
Lists are one of the most important resources in the toolbox of successful people. When you take the time to make a list, you’ve defined what you need to accomplish, and organized it according to your priorities. You’ve also “brain dumped” all the “stuff” in your head that’s been demanding your attention.
Quality Not Quantity in Making Lists
As a Christian, as anyone who wants to live their life the way God intended, living authentically and taking care of the many blessings he has given us, we should focus on quality, not quantity in our list making.
For a parent, it’s family and children first.
For a husband or wife, it’s spouse first.
For a business owner, it’s employees first.
Yes, accomplishing everything on our lists could bring us success, wealth, and fame, but at what cost?
I’ll let the great list maker in the sky make me a list, and the Spirit guide me. List maker, list maker, make me a list, and give me the courage and strength to follow it.
Listen to God’s Words
You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)
Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. (Proverbs 21:21)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Mark 8:36-37)
Also read: Micah 6:8, Matthew 6:19, Luke 12:34
In the Words of Others
“The only thing more important than your to-do list is your to-be list. The only thing more important than your to-be list is to be.” Alan Cohen
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Johan Wolfgang von Goethe
Think About It
Are you a list maker? If yes, describe the kind of lists you make. Do you concentrate on activities and accomplishing things? How do you feel about that?
When you make your lists, do you consider what you may be sacrificing in terms of who you are as a person, as a Christian and believer? Describe where your priorities lie.
Do you look for guidance from the Holy Spirit when preparing your lists? Is your emphasis on what you need to accomplish for your purposes, or what God wants done?