Take My To Do List and Let It Be

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On those days when life takes over and conquering your to-do list is thwarted, take your to-do list and let it be. It will still be there tomorrow.

Are you a list lover like me? You know, who you are. A task or project doesn’t look doable unless it’s broken down in a list. Each day is carefully planned into manageable tasks all organized on a beautiful list. Depending on the day, you might even have multiple lists. Occasionally there are days when conquering your todo list is easy. But sometimes your list remains just that, a list of things undone.

dirty dishes in the sinkI look around the kitchen at the dishes piled in the sink. Remnants of the day’s meals littering every possible surface. From my place by the sink I see the baskets of laundry in various stages of “clean”, growing ever larger by the second it seems.

I sigh and make my way toward the desk, the day hanging over me like a saturated cloud ready to burst at any second. I sit down and pull out my to-do list. Surely I can cross something off.

But, no. Not a single one of my carefully listed and prioritized “to-dos” can be awarded to today.  

With a heavy heart I erase today’s date and put in tomorrow’s. At least my list is ready, I think, trying to find a silver lining. 

As I get ready for bed the heaviness hanging over me increases.

What exactly do I do all day?

Why can’t I get these things done?

They are important things!

Why do other wives/moms/caregivers succeed and I can’t? 

I sat down to nurse my now-fussy infant. My mind is still running. I’ll never get to sleep. Then I’ll be tired all day tomorrow and unmotivated. My tasks still won’t get done and I’ll have yet another failed day under my belt. Tomorrow is doomed and it hasn’t even started yet! 
The baby finally asleep, I laid down desperately praying that God would just turn off my mind so I could get at least a few hours sleep in. The activities of the day started playing in my mind as I tried to will myself to sleep.

**queue dreamy harp music**

Remembering yesterday

The day had started with such promise! I was up a half hour early, made my coffee and sat down to my Bible study. I heard my husband’s alarm go off and felt good that I had accomplished my quiet time before my family woke. I started making breakfast for my work-bound husband.
Then one by one my family started waking, and with each footstep my well-planned day started to unravel.
My MIL comes in wanting coffee. I smelled the strong odor of urine before she even made it to the kitchen. After getting her set-up in the shower, I head to her room to strip the bed. She had used the comforter to “clean up” her wet bed so it would have to be laundered too.
Well, here are my first two loads of laundry for today. I guess the towels I had planned will have to wait. 
The noise of the shower woke up the two older kids.

And so it begins

  • Breakfast.
  • Juice.
  • Coffee.
  • Change clothes.
  • Feed the baby.
  • Make beds.
  • Break up a squabble.
  • Move the laundry.
  • Feed the baby.
  • Empty the dishwasher.
  • Answer the phone.
  • Defrost dinner.
  • Clean spilled juice. 
  • Find the reading glasses.
  • Feed the baby.
  • Break up another tiff

messy living roomIt’s only 10am??, I think as I reheat my cup of coffee for the fourth time.

I look longingly at my to-do list as I’m called away yet again by life. I had such high hopes for today. Today was going to be the day I conquered my list. Or at least made a dent in one or two tasks.

Or even started one…

You did what was needed.

Before I knew it the day flew by like every other day and not a single thing was accomplished. Now I’m lying in bed wondering why I was called to these roles anyway if I can’t seem to ever get anything done. As if divine inspiration from above, the thought occurred to me, I did what was needed. 

No, it wasn’t anything I wrote out on my to-do list, but I accomplished a lot. I kept my family healthy, happy, fed, clothed, and united. My kids had a day full of learning and play. My MIL spent more time with us than in her room alone. They all went to bed feeling tired and loved. And yes, I was too tired to do the dishes before bed but does it really matter?

It will still be there tomorrow

Some days you can conquer your lists and other days you’re going to struggle to just complete your basic routines and that’s ok.
God gives us days where our to-do list goes untouched to slow us down and remind us where our priority needs to be. Some days that means the dishes get left in the sink to be done another day.
kids playing on the floorThose days have another purpose.
You may have to look hard – really, really hard – to find that purpose, but its there.
On those days when life takes over and you feel like you’re getting carried away by the weight of it, take your to-do list and let it be. It will still be there tomorrow.


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