What to do with Your “To Do” List
Living can be stressful enough on its own with all we have to get done every day, and even more so when we try to make things happen that are beyond our control. Here’s a great way to pray that will allow you to find release and rest in God when we’ve done all we can do.
1. Ask God to show you the things you can handle on your “to do” list.
I’m a “to do” list kind of guy. On a good day, I finalize it sometime the day before for the next day, but if not, I try to do it first thing after I finish my morning devotional time. I like “to do” lists… most of the time, anyway. I especially like them when I actually get things done that I can cross off my list. It might be returning those e mails I haven’t gotten around to, creating that marketing brochure, or updating my blog. That feels good. I have to confess sometimes I put things on my list I have already done that day just so I can have one more thing crossed off to make me feel better about my day. Without my “to do” list, I tend to become lazy, and I know that’s not good, practically or spiritually. As Proverbs 13:4 (NLT) states, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
2. Ask God to show you the things that you can’t handle on your own.
I don’t like “to do” lists when they have things on them I keep pushing off to the next day. I really don’t like them when there’s something on my “to do” list that I just can’t make happen, like repairing a relationship with someone who isn’t willing, or making traffic disappear so I can be somewhere on time. There are tons of things that are just not in my power to get it done, because if I could, I would. (Not that I struggle with control issues or anything, just saying because I know that’s true for some other people.)
3. Make two lists every day – your “to do” list and your “to You” list.
So, God gave me a solution- it’s nothing new, just a new way to hang onto it and apply it. It’s a variation off of the Serenity Prayer. It goes like this- every day I make two lists. The first one is my “to do” list. I write down everything I need to do, want to do, and can’t lazily hope someone will do for me. It’s my stuff, it’s on me, and I just need to buck up and do it. The second list is my “to You” list. EVERYTHING that won’t fit on my “to do” list because it’s beyond my ability to make it happen goes on that “to You” list. Then I pray, “God, give me the energy and desire to do the things on my ‘to do’ list, and trust the rest to You.”
4. During the day when you start worrying about things beyond your control, mentally pray, “God, that’s on my “To You” list. Help me to trust You with this one.”
As I go through the day, many times, the enemy will try to distract me and steal my joy by playing to my desire to control by drawing my attention to those things that won’t fit on my “to do” list. He whispers lies to me in an effort to get me to doubt God’s ability to handle what I’ve released to Him. Lately I’ve been immersed in a job search, which can really drag me down, since I’m struggling financially. A Scripture that is so precious to me that helps me find God’s peace at those times (and in a hurry) is Psalm 62:1 (NIV), which says, “My soul finds rest in God alone.” Reclaiming that truth aloud or silently produces an almost instantaneous peace, and the release that if I’ve done today what I can and should do by submitting resumes, checking job boards, and the like, I can rest in God that He will care for the rest. It’s so cool to experience God’s touch on my life and bring back a proper perspective of what I’m to do and what I’m to trust to Him.
So there. You might want to give it a try. I find it gives me peace and purpose. It might work for you too.
Copyright Greg Griffin 2011 All rights reserved