I woke up and everywhere I looked there was more things I wanted to accomplish. Perfect time to make a list of what to tackle after work. Laundry, making dinner, going on a run, a few minutes of reading, doing the dishes, spending time playing the baby and reading to my little girl. Nothing like a list to keep me productive.
As we walk home for lunch my hand happens to land on my daughter’s head. She feels a little warm. Hmm, maybe that’s why she’s been quiet all morning. The thermometer confirms that something’s going on.
The afternoon is now spent getting a little girl comfortable and hoping the little guy doesn’t come down with whatever it is. Sigh. It’s hard to not feel a tinge of remorse for all the items on my list that are not getting accomplished.
Having goals to work toward. Making lists. Planning what needs accomplished. Working ahead.
These are all good things. Great things, actually.
Doing these things have made such a difference in my life, but they have also become my idol at times. I have had to learn (and am still learning) to know when to forget my lists.
Planning has helped by:
- Reducing stress. Surely I’m not the only one who feels a sense of calm when there is a plan. If I’m trying to come up with an idea for dinner at 5 o’clock and the kids are going crazy I can almost guarantee my anxiety level is going to be through the roof.
- Helping life run more smoothly. Having what I need set together so I can grab it on the way out the door keeps things from becoming frantic.
- Getting more accomplished. Having goals and knowing what I’m trying to accomplish gives me something to work for. It energizes me to finish more projects.
- Weathering the storm. When a crazy day comes I can pull a meal out the freezer from a cooking ahead session. The house needing foundation repair doesn’t send me into a panic; there’s money in savings for that.
Goals, lists and plans are there to work for us. However, we can’t let them rule our lives to the point that we become enslaved to them and they become an idol.
What? Planning and lists can become an idol? Yes, if I am so engrossed in my to-do list and following the plan I have for the day that I neglect to see the opportunity that God has placed before me at that moment, I have a problem. I just allowed what was meant to be a good thing take over and rule my life.
I must remember the purpose of planning is so that when circumstances arise and God asks me to follow Him, I’m able to say yes.
Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
When it’s time to forget the list:
- Sickness. Your baby wakes up with a fever and needs extra snuggles. Forget the list, give your child the love and care he needs without regret. Enjoy those quiet moments together.
- Relationships. The phone rings and it’s a friend you haven’t talked to in ages. Forget the list and build a friendship.
- Children. A crazy toddler is begging for your attention. Forget the list and take a trip the park. An hour out of your agenda will make a little girl’s day and you’ll have a memory together you wouldn’t otherwise.
- Serving. An opportunity to be a blessing comes up. Forget the list and make the meal, watch the child, sit with someone at the hospital. Be the hands and feet of Christ.
How has planning helped you? Have there been times that you’ve needed to learn to let the list go?
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