Church Life, Crazy Busy, Learned From My Mother, Pray First, Prayer

The To Do List

My mother used to write them out in longhand, her beautiful penmanship rising above the mundane nature of the lists. She wrote of groceries needed, or projects she hoped to accomplish, or books she planned to read. She wrote in pencil, knowing that the tasks ahead of her might change and the list might need revising.

I type lists in the “Notes” function on my iPhone, because I can email them to myself, or know they will be with me when I arrive at Maine Hardware or Trader Joe’s. The icon taking me to it looks like a tiny, little yellow legal pad, and when the app opens, the screen looks like one, too. Just like my mother, I can edit easily, as changes warrant, but instead of striking through or checking off the things I’ve completed, I simply backspace over them until they disappear.

Some lists I still write by hand, though, and those are full of line-throughs and amendments, sometimes in pencil and other times in eccentric colors of thinline markers. I’m working from one right now, trying to use my four days of Study Leave the best possible way. As always, there is plenty to do and more:

1) Write three sermon review articles for a preaching publication
2) Write a new Christmas Pageant, hopefully involving the well the Sunday School is building
3) Read a short book for the worship class I’m teaching at Bangor Theological Seminary, to be discussed the Monday after I return
4) Write a sermon! I’ll need one to preach when I get back. 🙂

In and among all the projects on my list, there weaves a whisper reminding me to pray:

•Pray before writing.
•Pray before reading.
•Pray to be open.
•Pray to be inspired.
•Pray to get the words right, if not perfect.
•Pray to be faithful to God’s purposes.

I think I might need to put it at the top of the list:

Pray. A lot.

What’s on the top of your to do list?

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4 thoughts on “The To Do List”

  1. I am so bad about writing lists, but I should, for the truth is that I know I’ll forget. What did the post going around on Facebook say? “The biggest lie I tell myself is that I don’t need to write things down because I’ll remember.” Here’s hoping you are able to happily mark everything off your list. :c)

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  2. I have to make lists too, often on my iPhone….. My lists usually include “breathe.” I don’t mean the automatic breath one takes but the intentional deep breath. That I think is kind of like praying….

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  3. It’s fun to find an old list tucked away somewhere–“things done and things left undone” come back to me. Sometimes there is a certain sense of loss in this, because I can never quite CAPTURE it all; other times, reassurance that life has gone on, whatever the state of the list was as I left it. And it is reassuring to know that some of the things I left undone have faded away and life went on–it will all be okay.

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