I started a new book, Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. Right out of the gate I was struck by one sentence. When sharing that she was stretched super-thin, Niequist says, “I was eating on the go, sleeping in my clothes and worshiping at the altar of my to-do list.” That phrase, “worshiping at the altar of my to-do list” really hit me hard. I love a good list and I feel like it’s a good thing to stay organized, but has the devil used it as a tool to keep me distracted from being present? Do I worship it to the point of being enslaved? Am I enslaved by the need to feel productive?
I think the answer to all those questions is YES.
I live to check the box, to feel like I’m making forward progress, to feel accomplished. It’s in my blood. I was raised by midwestern, German parents: We practically invented work ethic.
But is this how it’s supposed to be?
Checking the box on the to-do list has become more important than just … being. I’ve come to the place where I see any given moment just as a stepping stone to the next instead of an opportunity to love my children, connect with friends, relax in the arms of my husband, or sadly, even to find peace in the presence of Christ.
So I’ll ask you the same thing: Are you enslaved by your to-do list? If you are nodding, yes, how ‘bout we take a step in removing those handcuffs? I’m not to that chapter of the book yet, so honestly, I’m just trying to wrap my head around how to even begin to do this. Here’s what I do know:
For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
Handcuffs take on different forms. Sometimes they are dingy and dark and hidden in shame. Other times they look shiny and pretty and get a place of honor on social media, like two dozen cookies for the class party, a vacuumed-out car, or running a booth at the church carnival. Jesus does not want us to be enslaved by the dark, embarrassing stuff or the stuff we speak about with pride.
So for now, let’s put “deep breaths” on the top of the list. Better yet — scratch the list and just take a deep breath. Now.
Copyright 2018 Abby Watts