Monday, October 4, 2010

empty boxes

I am a compulsive list-maker. I have lists for everything... a list of groceries, a list of chores that need doing, a list of recipes I might want to try one day, a list of people I would like to write notes to, or email, or call. I have a list of tasks that need doing for our home business, and items I need to buy the next time we go to Costco, and even a list of future projects I want to do when that elusively free day comes along where I have nothing left to do from any of my other lists.

Each item gets an empty box next to it, which I find great satisfaction in coloring in when I finish a task. (Confession: sometimes I even secretly write things down that have already been finished, just so I can color in the box.) There is a rich feeling of accomplishment that comes over me when I look at my list of completed tasks.

The trouble is that for most of my life I have judged my own worth by my accomplishments. It is a common problem. We find it so hard to separate who we are from what we do. Ask any man who has lost his job, any teenager who did not make it on the basketball team, and any mom who has left a career to raise her children.

The Bible says that our worth is found in Christ Jesus. We are not worthy because of the number of productive things we do in a day, or the number of years we went to school, or the number of titles we have earned at work. What makes us worthy is our heart to please God. (Colossians 1:10)

With that in mind, today I am challenged to fore go the list in order to please God by tackling the divine task He has entrusted to me... raising my daughter. This task includes things that are difficult to itemize and check off, like reading stories, having a tea party, pausing to make play dough animals, singing songs, walking out to pick apples and letting her actually do the walking although it will take 20 minutes longer than carrying her. It means that instead of coloring in all 10 boxes next to my daily chores, my list might end up full of empty boxes. Perhaps the presence of empty boxes means I have accomplished so much more of what God wants me to be doing today? My greatest accomplishment today was to nurture the precious child God has entrusted to my care.

"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father..." Colossians 1:10-12

Sidenote: While Annike is not yet able to physically write out a list, I think that she has inherited my desire to stay organized...

... I had better start training her now that our worth is also not found in how well we can place items in a neat line!

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday dear friend! You are a fantastic mom...and a fantastic friend...and a fantastic example of what it means to stop. slow down. and listen to God. Even when that means not getting 'what you want to get done' done. You are right. It will get done...maybe just not in the order you want it to.

    If it makes you feel better...I too make lists, and I too add things that I have already done that day so I can have then checked off. You aren't the only one!


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