Tuesday, November 27, 2007

To List or Not to List. . .


"One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy."

~ Elisabeth Elliot ~


I like lists.

If I write it down, I remember it better and give myself permission to forget about it for a while (it makes sense to me).

When I was a new mother and began this SAHM gig, I made a list every day of what I hoped to get done. I even put down the tiniest of jobs, stuff like "Make bed" or "Take a shower" or "Unload dishwasher." It wasn't that I was THAT forgetful, I was merely groping for things to scratch off my list. The more I checked off, the more evidence of my accomplishments. The problem came when my plan for the day didn't always materialize. Sometimes a baby would be especially crabby or an unexpected visitor stopped by or an impromptu trip to the store was necessary. At the end of many days I would look at my list and the war zone I called my living room and shake my head thinking, "What d'you do today, Tami, anything?"

Yet I realize you can't put a value on rocking a child or comforting a hurting soul. Extending lunch with a friend is more enriching than time-consuming. When I help a kid with trigonometry, I'm building a relationship. Plopping on the couch late at night, watching syndicated reruns is not wasted time. It is relaxing with my husband. Reading a good book does more for me than a spotless kitchen floor.

Now I'm more realistic. I allow for changes in my schedule. When I make my lists today, I don't limit them to time. My goal is to check things off within a span of a week or so. I don't include daily things like "Cook dinner" or "Pick up kids from school" or even "Exercise" (yes, I know what you're thinking). I WISH for unexpected phone calls or visitors to pull me away from things. I'd pick hanging with you any time over cleaning! My prayer each morning comes from Psalm 90:17,

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us--yes, establish the work of our hands.


Amen, Lord. Your will be done.


For more In "Other" Words impressions, visit To Motherhood and Beyond

12 comments:

Susan said...

Great post...

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us--yes, establish the work of our hands."

What a beautiful prayer and goal for us all.

Thanks for sharing your heart today.

By the way I'm a "list person too".

Susan

MiPa said...

I, too, put things on my list that I am assured to mark off--that need for assurance, lol. Learning how to seek and enjoy the unexpected has been difficult for me. Praying that I see it more and more in my life. Bless you for sharing.

lori said...

HA! It was like therapy!!
I write stuff on my list that I have already done, just to have things to cross off!!!:)
Great minds think alike...
I am learning to make the list and allow changes too...that is life, and the unexpected happens...I don't ever want to be such a slave to the list that I miss what GOD needs me to do!!
Your Will Lord, be done!
amen...
loved it!!
could have written it;)
lori

Rachelle said...

I love your approach to lists and I really resonate with the way you are putting the proper value on things. Yes, I'd take hanging out with a friend over cleaning any day! It's so easy to forget what's important... what's eternal. Your post will stay with me as I struggle through all the "urgents" and keep trying to focus on what's "important."

ellen b said...

I love the Psalm prayer and I'm going to add it at the top of my weekly list! Blessings on you this season...

Brenda said...

I have the opposite problem in that I have to make myself be deligent to get things done and accomplish what I should. So....when do we do lunch? : )

Amy Grant Bayliss said...

OK you busted me! I have a list that I check off EVERY DAY! :o)

I also agree that laying on the couch watching TV is quality time with the hubby. After we put the boys to bed this is our time together.

Great post... I do not want to even begin to think about trigonometry! Thank goodness it is a few years aways still!

Heather@Mommymonk said...

Those days when you feel you've accomplished nothing and yet you are exhausted remind me that God didn't put me here to do "stuff" but to love people. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah said...

I really like your attitude about your lists. Refreshing!

Sarah

Laurel Wreath said...

I have to say as I was reading this I kept thinking of the difference of a "first time Mom's" list and a "third time Mom's list" by the third child you list may consist of WAKING UP. Check, ok now I am done for the day, hehe. I am teasing here.

You are right you can not put value or even "accomplishment" on time spent with a baby, or helping with homework, etc... but they are what is important in the span of eternity.

Blessings.

Robyn said...

Hi Tami!! I'm a lister, too! I'm such a nerd that I have a notebook that I keep different lists in with tabs to keep them all straight. I know that is really bad!!

As you know, your writing and just who you are is an inspiration to me. I've awarded you with the "Uplifting Blog" award over on my blog today. I'm sure I'm not the only one you lift up but I just wanted to remind you how meaningful your blog is to me!!

Sandy Carlson said...

You speak for me in this one. I grew up in a task-oriented family, and getting stuff done was always very important. I decided eventually to list "feed the baby, change the baby, cuddle the baby..." I realized how full my days were. I was always speechless when old friends would pop up, hear I was a mom, and say, "What else do you do?" Now I ask, "What else is there to do?"