It is no secret that I am a person who thrives on lists. There are menus, groceries, chores, daily and weekly schedules, monthly calendars, fun projects I dream of completing one day, bookkeeping tasks, visions God has given me for our family’s future, and then there is the daily to-do list. These lists are focused on physical needs, but there is something missing. It is the need to focus on the emotional and relational needs of others.
I have recently acknowledged that I have become so focused on what must yet be done that I lose sight of the present. I tell myself, “Slow down. Be present.” My children are NOT part of a task to be performed. They are breathing, thoughtful, emotional, changing beings which require flexible time for expression. This needed flexibility too often does not fit with my long, daily to-do list. When my focus is the list, I become frustrated with the interruptions that distract me from its completion. This frustration causes me to see the negatives and not the blessings in my present situation. Anxiety creeps in. What if I don’t complete everything? Who will be disappointed with me? Does this mean I am not a good wife and mother?
As I pray about changing this thought process I am reminded of events in my life that I did not initially see as blessings. When my husband and I were newlyweds, we wanted to have boys. Along came two girls whom we LOVE. God knew best. My relationship with my oldest daughter has forced me to acknowledge and confront my life’s messiness because she is just like me. My youngest daughter’s ever changing creative spirit has forced me to accept that some messiness is okay and we can enjoy life and love each other amidst the messiness. We also had plans for our business and a new home which did not work out the way we thought. But, again, God knew best and we were able to weather the financial and real estate storm of the past few years. Blessings – more than I can list.
I am learning to be present with the people and situations at hand, while trusting God with the outcome. It will be a long learning process – engrained thought processes are not easy to cast off. I sometimes have to stop and remind myself that the list is there to help me remember. It is NOT my judge. The ultimate Judge in my life does not care how neatly the towels were folded, if the dressers were cleaned out, or if the kitchen floor was swept. He DOES care about how I am showing love to my children and what I am teaching them about relating to Him and others. He cares about my obedience to Him and my love for Him.
Philippians 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Used by permission from The Burning Bush, Franklin Conference newsletter.