What’s On Your To-Do List? What Should Be?

Lists

What’s on your to-do list?

I’m writing this starting after 10:00 tonight.

Some bloggers have posts planned months in advance, but me, I have nothing planned months in advance. In part because I don’t have time to catch up with where I need to be never mind time to get ahead, but there is a bigger reason too.

I used to have lists and lists planning all sorts of things I expected to happen.

Some of them were big:

when I’d be done with my Masters Degree,

when we would buy a new car,

when we’d have the mortgage paid off.

Some were little:

what workout routine I’d follow today,

what ballgame the boys needed to be at,

what to buy at the grocery store.

But, big or small, there were always lists keeping me motivated and on task, helping me not become overwhelmed by the monotony of day to day living.

Lists to me meant having a plan, keeping focused, celebrating accomplishments.

But when life undergoes such an incredible change and the future is so uncertain, we realize the truth behind the phrase, tomorrow is not guaranteed, and our lists change.

I always took  that guarantee of tomorrow to mean “We may die tomorrow,” but maybe we are putting too much emphasis on our own death and oversimplifying the message by limiting this to the life and death of our personhood.

Maybe it is saying we just don’t know what will occur tomorrow and that death comes in many forms.

One day, I had a loving husband.

The next day, he was gone.

We did not die, but our marriage was slaughtered, and his children and I (and he too) have been forever changed. It is no exaggeration to say,

The lives of our children and our children’s children will not ever be the same.

And all the big things on that to-do lists – don’t really matter anymore.

my Masters was finished but expired before I found a permanent job,

the car he bought with our retirement was quickly traded in for his newer one,

the mortgage was foreclosed upon, and we had to leave our home.

Suddenly that little to-do list is much more important. I realize I’ve made a worthwhile contribution to my family if

treated myself to a workout DVD – or better yet, raced around the block with the boys,

attended the boys’ games and cheered them on,

made us a sit-down dinner.

In the last 5+ years, I’ve updated my Masters Degree, and I look forward to getting a “real job” or seeing where my test prep business takes me. I look forward to getting my credit back on track to buying my own home one day, and the car…the car, yes, I will still buy a used car (better value), but I am definitely looking forward to the day I don’t cringe at the site of my own car in my driveway.

But that’s the difference. Now, I look forward to things with a hopeful, wishful anticipation

But not with a planned list of expectation.

The Bible tells us the importance of not planning too far in advance because we never know when the Master will come. We take this to mean death, but it is important to remember that we also never know when the Master will just allow things to be shaken up a bit for reasons we cannot comprehend at the time..

Plan as you should. Make your lists. Stay on track. Prepare for the future, but know what you are planning for. My big plans were for earthly things, but those little day-to-day lists that I took for granted (taking care of myself, going to the boys’ games, eating meals as a family) all seem to be planning ways to spend quality time with my family.

Family time – That has to have infinitely more value than a new car or a paid off mortgage.

Today, think about and prepare for the future, but don’t expect anything from it. Instead, plan how to get through today in order to make for a (possibly) better tomorrow, and don’t forget to schedule in prayer because without scheduled time, we too often forget it, taking it for granted.

No matter how well we prepare for a better tomorrow, the Master may allow things to be shaken up a bit; the best way to withstand that shaking is, not by valuing your own lists of expectation, by building your plans on His foundation.

What is on your list today? What is your top priority? What could you eliminate to spend more time with God in prayer or with a loved one here?

God Bless…

(Matt 25:1-13)

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