Thursday, April 2 2020 - 5:09 PM
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Don’t Let Lists Ruin Your Life

Laying out my gel pens, I sifted through my event planner. Bright colored pages with thought bubbles lined the crisp, notebook paper. I held the book to my nose and breathed the familiar scent of fresh ink.

“What are you doing?” My husband stared at me in complete amusement.

Without looking up, I responded. “Getting ready to make lists.”

He face remained puzzled. “Lists for what?”

“Lists for everything I need to accomplish. This year I’m going to get my life in order.”

It’s only been a month since this conversation, and I’ve come to realize just how chaotic my life is. At the beginning of this year, I was determined to organize a category of detailed note-taking so that my life would be perfectly planned out. I spent hours making the following lists: yearly goals, gym routines, vacation checklist, cleaning schedules, and daily musts. This year was written out in bright, colored font with perfect little bubbles to check off each completed item. Yet, somehow, I’ve managed to avoid completing such specific tasks.

Every day I find myself making lists. I’ve become this person that’s obsessed with organized planning. No matter the task, I need to write it down with a little checkbox. Lists are a way of motivating myself to get things done. But in doing so, I’ve made it impossible to dive into something without a detailed plan.

In my spiritual journey, I find myself making lists – lists that include all the things I need to change to have a decent relationship with Christ. I’ve spent hours trying to create a detailed plan of spiritual success, but have missed the meaning entirely. My search for spiritual perfection has overshadowed my personal walk with Christ. I’ve become reliant on my “spiritual list” instead of relying on my Heavenly Father.

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).

This verse soothes my soul and provides comfort. Slowly I’ve come to realize that Christ doesn’t need me (or any of us) to make a list for Him. He already knows our hearts, and what we’re capable of. Although making spiritual, or goal-oriented lists can be healthy; however, it’s never good to rely solely on our own written agenda. All Christ asks is that we devote ourselves to Him and let the Holy Spirit work through us. We need our Heavenly Father to accomplish anything worthwhile, because as humans, we’re incapable of doing it on our own merits. Detailed plans and list-taking don’t guarantee perfection. We genuinely need our Father to transform us fully. Without Him we’re unable to complete any part of our spiritual journey.

Madeleine Lowe writes from Indiana.

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About Madeleine Lowe

Madeleine Lowe

writes from Indiana.

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