Either you are or you aren’t. I am. I am an unapologetic list maker. So much so in fact that I often wonder how non-list makers can even function. I make lists for everything. Lists of things I need to buy, lists of places I want to go, lists of goals that I have, lists of steps to take in order to accomplish said goals, lists of people to call, lists of things to do. Lists. Lists. Lists.
I have been a list maker ever since I can remember. As a teenager I received a book as a gift entitled, The Book of Lists for Teens. It was a book composed entirely of lists covering a wide range of topics from how to be successful in school, to ways to eat an Oreo. I loved that book! As I got older, I started making lists to aid me in the big decisions of life. Pros and cons list for various career paths, lists of things I was looking for in a future husband, etc.
When it comes to “to-do” lists, I find great satisfaction in being able to cross off things that I have completed. I confess. There are times when I have written down a task that I have already completed just to experience the pleasure of crossing it off the list. Pretty bad right?
As a teacher, a much anticipated time of year has finally begun. Summer vacation started yesterday! Yesterday. Already I am thinking of the the lists of things I need to do to prepare for next school year. Every summer I create a massive list on the white board in my classroom that I continue to add to over time. It’s nice.
Lists help keep me focused and organized. As I had lists playing through my mind today, just waiting to be transferred to paper, I began to think of some spiritual applications.
- Making appointments with God. Some people may think it wrong to write “spend time with God” on a to-do list. This can make our time with God just another thing to check off our list. While I do believe that this could be a danger, I am of the opinion that for us list makers, scheduling time with God can be very helpful. I would not miss a doctor’s appointment, an appointment to meet up with a friend for lunch, or a date with my husband. All too often it is easy to forget to keep my most important appointment of the day. My appointment with God. For any of the other things on the list to matter, this essential item must be done!
- The Negative Side. It is hard to admit that there is a negative side to list making when there are just so many positives, but in truth, there are a couple of drawbacks to being a list maker. There can be a sense of discouragement when we end the day unable to check all the boxes and a sense of disappointment when all of our dreams and plans don’t pan out. I am learning that there is also the danger of being consumed by the need for lists and to accomplish the things on the list. We can get so busy trying to cross off each of the things on OUR list that we miss opportunities that God has for us, unplanned opportunities to witness or to receive a special blessing.
I will always be a list maker, but with God’s help I will also be flexible enough to see the other opportunities that He has for me. I will have the courage to toss the list, when necessary, in order to follow a different plan that God may have for me, and before I start checking things off my list, I will not miss that most important appointment of the day.
Are you a list maker? What lessons have you learned?