to do list

1pm. That’s the cut off for when I either post this to you or chuck it. That’s 55 minutes away. And since most blog posts take me upwards of 4 hours, this may be impossible. But, I’m going to try, so here it goes.

I’ve been EXHAUSTED since we moved into our apartment. That was September 9th and now it’s November 13th and I’m just in awe at how tired I am. All. The. Time.

There is a lot of stuff to blame it on. I could list it all here but now I only have 53 minutes to wrap this up. So I’ll get on with it.

The exhaustion is not just physical, it’s mental exhaustion — the feeling that I’m literally never. going. to. get. ahead. At the end of every day, when my husband says “man this was such an amazing day”, I nod and smile and in the back of my head think “if only I had gotten ________, _________, and _________ accomplished.

This Saturday for instance…SUCH A PERFECT DAY.

Sort of.

I went to my nephews birthday party… isn’t his smile contagious??IMG_9132Got a major project done in the house, watched Auburn WHOOP Georgia (War Damn!), ate delicious food, cuddled with my husband by the fire, and…. why did I feel so discontent on Saturday night?

Lukas raved about how wonderful Saturday was and I’m over here internally pouting because I “could have, should have” gotten more done. There is a giant basket of mail that needs attention. There’s a handful of closets that need organizing. I didn’t cook dinner the way I had planned. The list goes on.

Yesterday I sat in “my chair”, for the first time in, I literally can’t remember how long, and I just wrote and prayed and sat and read. IMG_1975

I felt like God was telling me, YES, this, this is where you get the most things done. Not running around crossing off a to do list. Time with Me is the most valuable way to spend your minutes.

At church on Sunday we were in John 20 where Mary Magdalene gets to Jesus’ tomb super early in the morning. We watched a movie reenactment of this chapter in the Bible and I was astounded at how intimate her face was when she looked in Jesus eyes. Okay, it’s a movie, it wasn’t the “real thing” but still, it was humbling. She knew Jesus so well, she loved him so well and I was reminded of the concept of having a “Mary heart”. (Click here to find an amazing book on this topic if you’re interested in learning more!)

In short, because now I only have 41 minutes, Mary and Martha are sisters. Jesus came to their house (Luke 10:38-42) and Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to his teaching. Martha ran around making sure everyone was served. Jesus traveled with a crew of people so I’m sure there was lots to do around the house when you have the KING OF KINGS there with his posse.

Martha was annoyed at Mary for JUST SITTING THERE, geez, help a sista out!! And confided in Jesus with her frustration…

“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

Jesus doesn’t tell Mary to get her butt up and do something. He actually tells Martha something profound (surprise surprise).

Before I tell you what Jesus says, let me point out that He says Martha’s name two times. I believe every single word of the Bible is intentional and has a meaning and purpose. From what I’ve learned, typically, when God says something twice that means the same as your grandfather saying “children, listen up now” aka this is REALLY important!

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things (duh), but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Mmmmm. Good, painful stuff. Martha, you are scrambling around trying to do – do – do, when Mary is DOing the very thing that will sustain her and cannot be taken away from her. She’s sitting at my feet and she’s listening to my teachings and she’s TRUSTING that I will provide all she needs.

This morning, I got up and did some yoga, got distracted by my a phone a bit and kind of ran around the house figuring out what to do. OKAY, I will sit down and go through this giant stack of mail.

But before my rear end could slide into the dining room chair to tackle the task, “my chair” stared at me out of the corner of my eye and I decided to do things a little differently than I have been the past few months. I started the day in my chair, again, something I haven’t done in a LONG time.

As I sat there, I saw the printer on the ground STILL not set up. I saw the fire log box that needed trowing away. To the right, there was a junk closet that hasn’t been touched since we moved in. There’s a kitchen to clean and a pile of things I need to mail. IMG_8218As I sat there, I considered whipping out a to do list to write them all down so I wouldn’t forget. But like a mac truck out of know where, I had this realization — am I writing a to do list because these things NEED to be done, or am I writing them down because I think “if I accomplish the things on my list, I will feel satisfied”?

Did the printer really need to be unpacked? I’m not printing anything today or need to in the near future so what’s the rush? Do those boxes need to get thrown away? They aren’t in anyone’s way. The kitchen being cleaned — okay, that could get smelly but couldn’t that wait until tomorrow if necessary? The box of mail — it’s been there for a few weeks, is anyone going to die if I don’t get to it today?

I opened my Bible to my daily text and the first verse read —

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Psalm 123:1

Psalm 123 goes on to say “as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master…so our eyes look to the Lord our God”.

Mmmmm…I will look to You as the One to tell me what NEEDS to be done today. I will let You, not a to do list, make me feel satisfied and accomplished. As a servant looks to his master, I will seek your face, time and time again throughout this day, and ask you “what’s my next right thing?”

NO MORE TO DO LISTS. Okay, this is my extremist personality coming out. There are needs for lists. Like at the grocery store or when I’m packing for a trip. Or when I commit to completing something for me boss. But the lists I make to get things accomplished around the house to make me feel satisfied — NO MORE. I will no longer create a list to make me feel accomplished, I will trust that what needs to get done will get done if I continue to LOOK UP and ask “what’s my next right thing?”

I considered not writing this post to you until I had accomplished this social experiment with myself. My hope is that I will feel satisfied and complete at the end of the day, instead of empty and unaccomplished the way I’ve been feeling lately. I could have an extremely gratifying day (like Saturday!) but feel empty, all because there was a stupid “things I need to get done to feel good about myself” list hanging out on the kitchen counter. No more!

After that whole to do list realization, I ended up having a pretty intense cry fest in my chair as Jesus helped peel back some pain from a friend’s rejection I thought I was “over” but realized, oh boy, I was NOT, there was still unhealed pain there! I dove into my anger and within about 15 minutes, came out on the other side with a lesson from 1 John 3 “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

Identifying wounds from a friend and healing from rejection wasn’t on my to do list this morning, but because I sat in my chair and looked UP, God met me and we did what NEEDED to be done.

I want the rest of my day to be the same way. There are a BAJILLION things that “need” to be done but really, do they? Today’s list now has ONE thing. IMG_0828.JPGAnd it’s only on there because if I don’t cook the chicken I bought at the end of last week, it’s going to go bad. It’s on the list because it NEEDS to be done, not because I need to accomplish it to feel satisfied.

Y’all, it’s 12:50 and I’m already finished. That’s UNHEARD of in my world of writing to you. I don’t know if God stopped time or just gave me the words more quickly but after a quick re-read for spelling errors (give me grace, I only have 9 minutes left for refining) it’s coming for you.

I’d like to think Jesus is watching me and saying ….

“[Virginia] has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Having a Mary heart was WAY easier when I was living in New Mexico (or New Jersey), with a hotel maid and no bills to pay. It was easy to get hours of time, sitting at Jesus feet. But this is a new season with a new normal with new ways to figure out how to do this Jesus relationship thing. In this season, when I pick up my pen and paper every morning, I’m going to challenge myself to have a Mary heart — “what really NEEDS to be on my to do list?”

xoxo, va