Slave to the List

To do list. Schedule. Routine. I have one, you have one. The President even has one. We are owned by the things we have to do. I find myself in this constant tension of, “I have to finish everything on my list for the day” and “I need to just be”. I have the absolute hardest time straying from my to do list. Each week, I plan out all the homework I need to do for each day of the week until the next week. It feels so good to cross things off my list, but I also find this list bossing me around. Sometimes it seems that I’ve literally created a monster.

I live to complete that list. And then what’s next? Another list.

A few weeks ago, I lost my agenda with all of my assignments and a list of activities that I have to do before the end of the semester. For those of you with agendas, you can imagine my angst in looking for that dang thing. It was missing for nearly 5 days and I thought I was going to lose my mind. My entire life is in that. I asked several people, yet I could not find it. After searching for days, it turned out that I had left it at my school placement. The thing I realized in that time is that I depend WAY too much on my lists. I feel WAY to comfortable in my routines.

When I am in my “school mode”, I am not to be bothered. I don’t want to be distracted or interrupted while doing my homework. I won’t ask people how their day was or participate in small talk of any kind. I am determined to finish my work. If I do have conversations with people, I am thinking about that list of assignments I have to finish. I know it’s not terrible to have a list or create structure for myself, but life eventually gets boring and tiring with the list.

I don’t leave any room for the Lord to speak, for random fun events to take place, for a conversation to happen, etc. I live by the rules of my list. I have realized how emotionless and robotic that feels, yet it is so ingrained in who I am that I don’t know how to do it differently. I want so desperately to not be controlled by my list, but in this field of work I find myself in, it’s the only thing that is keeping me sane. It definitely allows my thoughts to stay organized, which is good. But it doesn’t give life.

I find myself feeling numb and cold, almost cut off from the world. It truly makes me feel robotic. I. Must. Finish. This. But I’m at a point now where this list really isn’t giving me any satisfaction. Yes, crossing things off feels amazing. But then I have to move on to the next thing. It never ends. Assignments never stop. There is no break. I just feel burnt out on my list.

I am then reminded that life isn’t easy. But how can I be used in this season of mundane? How can God use my wimpy list to give Him glory?

He wants so desperately for me to throw that stupid thing away and find life in Him. I have experienced it SO many times, yet I always tell Him that He’s not enough by my actions whenever I give that list power over my life. The enemy wants to deceive me by saying things like, “It’s late and you have had so much to do today, you don’t need to spend time with God. I mean, it’s not on your list to spend time with Him, so don’t worry about it. Sleep is more important.”

My sole purpose in this life is to have a relationship with my God, to give Him glory, and bring that goodness to others. Everything else will perish right in front of my eyes. Lord, forgive me and my selfish ways. I want to have life in You and in nothing else. Psalm 16:11 says this, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Lord, your right hand freely gives pleasures. Let that be enough for me.

Don’t be a slave to the list. God offers such a FULL life that satisfies. We’re just too stubborn to really see that He is enough, but He is.

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