Just hearing the phrase “to-do-list” ushers in waves of unwanted stress and frustration. Tension rises as we add items to our list. We’re about to enter a familiar rat-race of trying to cram in as much as possible. We feel defeated if we don’t accomplish everything we set out to do. And even if we do, anything we checked off is only replaced with something new for the next day. The things we do seem so mundane and inconvenient sometimes!
But what if we changed the lens in which we view our to-do lists? Let me share a typical to-do list of my own and share what I mean by changing the way we view this. Instead of to-do, how about if we see those tasks as things we do for someone?
*Pack a school lunch
*Go grocery shopping
*Pick up dry-cleaning
*Pay the bills
Maybe your to-do list looks something like this on any given day. What appears to just be a list of tasks is really much more than that. If we look a little deeper, each of these tasks is something to be done….for someone. So instead of to-do, how about I look at each one as for-who? Let’s look again at my to-do list through the lens of who that task is for:
*Pack a school lunch….for who? My daughter
*Fold laundry….for who? My family
*Go grocery shopping…..for who? My family
*Pick up dry-cleaning….for who? My husband
*Pay the bills….for who? My husband (he makes the money and I write out the bills; we make a good team!)
Now this doesn’t necessarily change the tasks I must accomplish, but it changes my focus from things to people. Instead of something I must check off as completed, I focus on the who I am doing it for. What if when I got up each morning, instead of making out a to-do list, I asked God this question: Who do I need to love today and how do I need to accomplish that? Who needs my help today? Instead of randomly listing things that fill my head faster than I can write, perhaps I should make a list that looks something like this:
*God (What is He asking me to do today to put Him first?)
*My spouse (What does he need me to do to make his day run smoother?)
*My daughter (What does she need me to accomplish for her?)
*Others (After God and my family, who does God want me to reach out to today? Who could be encouraged through a phone call, text or running an errand for them?)
My actual to-do list might not change, yet I’m looking at these tasks through a different lens. The lens of service. The lens of love. I’ll even challenge us (myself included!) to take this a step further. How about as I’m in the midst of accomplishing each said task that I pray for the person I’m doing it for? Can we really do that? What would that look like?
As I’m making my daughter’s lunch I pray for God’s protection upon her as she begins her day.
As I’m folding my daughter’s jeans that are inside-out for the umpteenth time, instead of complaining, I pray for the areas she’s challenged with. As I’m folding my husband’s tee-shirts I pray God gives him strength to face the day ahead with a strong faith.
As I’m filling up my grocery cart, I praise God for His provision and pray for our family’s health. Shoot, I might as well even pray for the lady in front of me in the check-out line whose toddler is having a melt-down!
Whatever task I am attending to isn’t just a thing to accomplish and check off. It’s an act of service for a soul to be loved. No matter how trivial. No matter how mundane. No matter how inconvenient.
Wow, I have a lot of room for improvement in this area of my life! So thankful God is full of grace. So thankful He sees me as His child and not just something to check off his list.
What about you? Are you willing to get rid of your to-do list? And instead ask for-who? Your activities might not change, but your focus will change. And when we change our focus to line up with God’s purposes, amazing blessings are sure to follow.
Colossians 3:17 “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”