When the To Do List is Too Long

Recently, my parents came to visit from Ontario. Days before their arrival, I jotted down my to-do list and it was lengthy.  I had “a moment”.  In my case, it should more accurately be called “an hour,” but for the sake of my dignity we shall agree to call it “a moment”.

woman stressed out at deskTears filled my eyes, anxiety swelled, and a headache formed. The ‘To Do’ list was too long. I simply couldn’t do it all. Feeling overwhelmed, I slumped into a the kitchen chair barking rebukes at the kids while they bustled about me. I was keenly aware that each moment I remained there meant less time to actually accomplish anything, nevertheless I kept staring at the list.  I was still sitting there helplessly when my husband arrived home from work.

Seeing that dinner wasn’t made, the house was a disaster, the kids were fighting and I was crying at the table, my husband with Sherlock Holmes’ ability detected that there might be something wrong.  Through my sobs and snorts, I attempted to explain my emotional state, while shaking my to-do list with frustration.

My husband skimmed over the list.  “First of all, these things don’t need to be done at all,” he stated as he scratched out ‘dust the top of the fridge’, and ‘glue angel’s arm from nativity scene’. (I am not kidding these are things that I stress over to the point of breakdown. Remember: I am a work in progress.)

Next, my husband wrote his name beside the things that he would do for me. (Yes, he’s awesome and he’s taken ) Then, he listed the remaining items in order of priority.

He handed back the list and instructed, “Start at the top, work your way down..whatever gets done, gets done. Whatever doesn’t, doesn’t.”
“But, but…,” I objected.
“There is nothing to worry about here, just start at the top.”

Start at the top.  Hmmm. I will come back to that.

I have “moments” (pardon me, I mean “hours”….okay fine, its “days”) of panic over life’s to-do list too. We only have so much time here on earth to accomplish the things that we are supposed to accomplish…and then DING…time’s up. I look at the time clock and think what do I have to show for my life? What am I supposed to do with all this?  How will I ever get anything done? What if I don’t get everything done? Panic sets in and I am unable to move forward due to anxiety.

As I contemplate all this, I believe what my husband did for me in my ‘moment‘ is an example of what the Holy Spirit is willing to do for us when we are immobilized with stress about life.  We simply need to allow Him.

1. The Holy Spirit takes things off our life lists that aren’t important.

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

2. The Holy Spirit writes His name beside the things that HE will do FOR us.

“Not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you?” Matthew 6:29-30

3. The Holy Spirit prioritizes things for us, and says ‘Start at the top…”

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

Holy Spirit, in this ‘moment’ that I am having, I invite you to look at my life list.  I give you permission to cross things off that aren’t important.  I gladly release to You all the things that You have promised to do for me and I apologize for not trusting You to do them.  Would You prioritize my life list for me and give me the ability to accomplish all that You have laid out for me to do?  Would You give me a willing heart to let go of all that which You have not laid out for me to do? In Jesus name, let it be so.

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