Two nights ago I found myself wide awake at 4:45 AM. My mind raced with a mile long list of to-do’s that needed to be crossed off quickly. There were the Christmas gifts I still needed to buy, the laundry that needed attention, the prepping of the guest room, client work, blog work, house work, the list went on and on. While I laid in bed fretting about all the items I had to do, the weight of worry settled heavy on me. I wish I could say this was an isolated occurrence, but really, if I don’t have a middle of the night panic attack more than once a week, I feel like I’m on the top of the world.
Getting it all done often feels impossible. Toss into the mix that all day I had felt like I’d swallowed hot coal from a lingering cold that I can’t seem to shake, and I was a mess in the early hours of Monday morning. For several hours I tossed and turned. I strategized and plotted my Monday, but nothing worked in getting my mind to rest
Until of course I decided to pray. Duh! Now, I love hearing eloquent prayers, but my own prayers tend to be a bit more raw.
“Lord, this list is a mess, and I can’t see a way out. It all feels impossible to get done. Help me see what items are most important to you, and give me the strength to get those things done.”
I woke up a couple hours later with Matthew 19:26 repeating through my mind
“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Impossible was the word I used and here was God reminding me that the impossible is possible when we allow Him to help us.
It’d be nice to say that I woke up feeling great and knocked everything out. Real talk though – that’s not life. Yesterday I felt horrible. The kind of horrible that makes you want to curl up in bed and sleep for 12 hours. I basically didn’t do much at all, and my list didn’t suddenly get finished.
Yet, my anxiety had all but disappeared when it came to my to-do’s. There are still plenty of things to take care of, but as I continued to find new items to add to the list, I simultaneously prayed,
“Lord, help me see the to-do’s that mean the most to you.”
An earnest prayer to a loving Father who wants to be involved in our everyday, mundane lives.
Paul Tripp once said
“If God doesn’t rule your mundane, then he doesn’t rule you. Because that’s where you live.”
Whoa, mic drop right there. I don’t know about you, but things don’t get more mundane than my long to-do list. The tedious tasks that I really don’t really want to do. And yet, it’s in our approach to those tasks that we see just how much we truly allow God to reign in our lives.
A couple weeks ago we started something new. Each Tuesday morning, I take one of our older boys out to breakfast before school for a “Mommy Date.” We stop at McDonald’s, spend a few minutes together while they enjoy pancakes (a rare treat for a school morning) and chat about school, friends, life, whatever they want. This morning, still struggling with this cold, I debated rescheduling, just postponing for another day. It would have been far nicer to stay in bed a bit longer and not deal with the freezing cold temperatures. Not to mention the extra time I would have to get other things done, if I weren’t going out to breakfast and doing the morning drop off.
I prayed once again “Lord, help me see the to-do’s that mean the most to you.” Within seconds, my “date” came bounding into my room asking when we were leaving for breakfast. The enthusiasm and joy on his face could have been seen a mile away. He was so excited. And in that tiny moment I could hear the Spirit say “This is my most important to-do. Eat pancakes and enjoy this little one.” So we did.
Nothing grand happened during our date, nor did he have much to say this morning. The happiness that radiated out of my boy as he dug into his stack confirmed to me though, that this was exactly where I needed to be. That God was taking care of my boy and his heart by prompting me to spend a little time with him. My son didn’t care that I wasn’t the chattiest. He was happy to just have my attention and a little one-on-one time. And just as God cares for my little boy, He also cares deeply for me and you, so He’s diligently working to care for our lists, if we just allow Him to.
For today, I’m still taking it a bit easy, all the while tackling my list today with God leading the way. I’m asking Him to show me His plan for me, where He needs me to show up most, trusting He knows my limitations and needs. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but slowly I’m letting go of “my plans,” what I think is most important, to instead follow His lead.
Tell me, how do you handle an overwhelming to-do list?