The Lies of the List

todo listBy Chris Moore

My wife is a major planner. Or at least she is the consummate list maker. Day after day, her lists go on and on.  The satisfaction of writing out everything she has to do daily on one list is only trumped by the satisfaction of being able to mark each of those things as complete. Not just a simple line out mind you, but each completed item is covered thickly in dark ink to remove any doubt of the casual observer that the particular task may not have been accomplished. She simply loves her list!

Often though, I notice that the list can begin to take on a seemingly human form in her life and actually begin to speak to her.

“Hey! It is me…yes me, the list. First of all, how was it even humanly possible to put all of these things on one piece of paper? You know, you will never finish me today. And you will especially not finish what is most important. You will neglect your friends, your kids and especially your husband because you are just too busy. I see you have a devotional time on the list. Seriously? No time for that! Not to mention exercise, taking a shower, and other ‘life luxuries’ that are just too expensive for your busy life. I hate to say it to you but you are actually on the verge of serious failure. I mean how can you live with yourself? No other woman, wife or mom feels the way you do. They have it all together. What is so wrong with you?”

Soon the lies of the list begin to take hold and feelings of hopelessness enter the mind and take the expressway to the soul. The lies penetrate the heart and soon the questions begin to emerge, “Why can I never get anything done that I need to?”  Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I accomplishing anything? Why am I so useless? Why has God given me so much to do? Why doesn’t my husband help more? Doesn’t he see me struggling? Why won’t the kids be more responsive? They are so selfish! How can all of my friends do it all and I cannot seem to do anything?

Perhaps this is you. When you consider your “list,” your “to-do’s” each day as a woman, wife and mother…how are you doing? Do you feel defeated? Embarrassed at what is not complete? Caught in an infinite loop of not accomplishing what you think you should be? Lacking time for what you consider to be most important? Thinking that all of your friends are able to do what you cannot?

What you may not see is that your list is just a lie. The desire to accomplish and achieve is wonderful, but accomplishment does not define you as a woman, mother or wife. Maybe it is time to start a new list; a list that includes what really defines you…

…the reality that God loves you for what was finished at the cross and not what you finish today!

…the sweet sounds of your heavenly Father singing His grace and mercy over you every moment of every day!

…the many moments you give a listening ear and wise counsel to a friend in need.

…the smiles you give your husband when he walks in the door that say “there is no one I would rather spend my life with than you!”

…the warm embraces you give your kids when they are hurt or afraid.

…the many moments when you willingly sacrifice your own needs for the needs of others.

So, stand up and stop listening to the lies of the list. Overcome the battle to accomplish. Resist the temptation to think that other ladies have it all together. Rest in the fact that God will provide all that you need to be the woman, the wife, and the mother He has created you to be today and each day of your life even when your list is full of tasks not completed. He will complete the work He began in you because your name is clearly written on His list for eternity!


About the author

chris mooreChris Moore is an environmental engineer for Alcoa Inc and is currently in the midst of a bi-vocational pastoral residency at Cornerstone Church of Knoxville. Chris lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife Cindy and three children, Josh, Neeley, and Seth.


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