The List


I am a list maker.  I have all kinds.  From things I need to buy at the grocery store, to projects I want to do in my house, to who I want to be someday.  This may explain why one of my all-time favorite holidays is New Year’s Day — A list maker’s nirvana.

To be honest, making lists and accomplishing everything on them are two different things.  In fact, looking back over years of my annual goals/resolutions, one would discover a distinct pattern: they are just a continuation of the years before.   I am a perpetual work in progress.

Exercise 3 - 5 days per week

Pay off credit cards

Cut frivolous spending

Spend more one-on-one time with my kids

I am here to say to all of you fellow list makers, that this is okay.  What I am coming to realize is that we are always evolving, always planning, always adjusting our life strategies.  The problem - if we are to call it that - is that life is a series of moving targets.  It’s fluid.  It is always changing.

There are phases that I try new things, cutting down on sugars and carbs, working out more or less, spending less and saving more.  Relationships are being challenged or enriched.  Kids move in or out, friends come and go, and jobs and responsibilities ebb and flow.  Constantly.  

We have to stay nimble.  We have keep going, keeping it between the lines and at least aiming in the right direction when it comes to achieving the targets we want to hit.

Submitting all our plans to the Lord, believing for His guidance and favor, are crucial in navigating our way through life. In big and little things, when He is in them, we succeed. 

I use lists to reorient my thinking but also as a form of prayer.  They are reminders of what I want to do and become, as well of things I need to move away from and change. These lists act as guard rails; they keep me stepping forward when my progress is unsteady.  

Lists - and prayers - never end.  There will always be something we need to be reminded of, striving toward or healing from.  We may be a few pounds outside our perfect weight.  We may have a charge card that creeps up from time to time beyond a limit we are comfortable with.  We may yearn for deeper relationships or to be freed from a hurt that still plagues us.  God is in every detail.  He gives us discipline, encouragement and strength.

Although our circumstances and relationships change, one thing is constant.  God loves us.  He forgives us when we fall short or when we sin.  He places before us new opportunities to do better with each new day.

I may never get to cross off all the things on my lists.  But I do know one thing that is for sure - with God all things are possible.

And somehow, that is enough.