I had these thoughts as I was on a walk with my son Harrington last week, so I started speaking them out loud and recording them on my phone because they felt weighty and important. I am passionate about these words. My neighbors who overheard me throughout my walk probably thought I was insane (if they didn’t already think that), but I was willing to take that risk for your sake, my friends. ;)
I wanted to share these words with you. If you’re not a driven, Type A person like me, you might not get this. Maybe you don’t know what it’s like to have your to-do list suck some of the joy out of your life, or what it’s like to realize you’ve turned your to-do list into an idol. Maybe you don’t feel tempted to measure the success of the day by how much gets checked off your list.
If you can’t relate, that’s wonderful.
But I know from experience and from working with my clients, that a lot of you can relate, so I wrote this for you. I can relate and still do. God’s brought me so, so far, but I will likely always be a fairly task-oriented person by nature.
Friends, let’s remember this: Our fight is not ultimately against to-do lists. It’s against the devil. The to-do list is a tool he tries to use against us (and sadly a tool that we sinful humans sometimes use against ourselves). I’m fighting back against that. You with me?
The to-do list battle cry
I will not let my to-do list define my worth. I will not let it drown out God’s truth about my identity.
I will not open my planner to consult my to-do list religiously and yet open my Bible scarcely.
I will not allow my to-do list steal my joy.
I will not let my to-do list control me. It’s an inanimate object. It’s not even a real thing. It cannot actually control me.
I will not let my to-do list knock Jesus off the throne in my heart, to put my list above him.
I will not use my to-do list to accomplish things for the purpose of earning myself glory, praise, a pat on the back, or a “like” on Instagram.
I will not relegate my daily time with the Lord to something I complete simply so I can get it crossed off of my to-do list.
I will not fix my eyes on my to-do list more than I fix my eyes on the Author of my salvation and the Creator of heaven and earth.
I will use my to-do list as a tool to advance God’s kingdom. I will use my to-do list to make Jesus famous—to make him known and admired.
I will find my true satisfaction in the One who said, “It is finished,” rather than in my ability to get to the end of the day and say “My list is finished.”
I will brag to people about how good my God is, not how long my list is.
I will allow God to redeem not just me, not just my sin but also my to-do list, my calendar, my agenda. I will rise and greet the day with open hands of surrender, asking God to help me accept his plans and divine appointments for my day, instead of waking up and telling God the plans that I have for the day that I expect him to bless.
I will find rest at the foot of the cross and at the sight of the empty grave, in the God who took my burden on himself and gifted me rest—including rest from to-do lists—as a sacred gift.
I will cling to the truth that if Jesus has defeated sin, death, and the devil, then a to-do list is certainly nothing to be afraid of and nothing that can control me.
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