To Do List
I flopped into bed, exhausted and emotionally wiped out. It had been another one of those days that seemed to go in a wildly different direction than I had planned. A late school bus threw us off schedule and everything else followed suit – forgotten lunchboxes, car batteries that died, dinner that was overcooked, a troubling phone call from a friend, and soccer practice that was moved to another location 30 minutes before it started.

As I melted into my cozy mattress, I began to mentally list the things I had not accomplished – the long list of To-Do’s that didn’t get done. There was a pile of dirty dishes still in the sink…a load of laundry that never made it into the dryer and would certainly need to be rewashed… a looming client deadline that would now require me to pull some late nights… and several errands that simply had to wait until tomorrow.

I felt like another day was lost. I was so discouraged that I was now “behind schedule” once again. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we obsess with tackling our LIST and feel like a failure when we don’t GET THINGS DONE?

We measure our success based on how much we accomplish. How many miles did we run this morning? How quickly did we shower, make lunch and get the kids off to school? How many tasks did we cross off the list at work? How many phone calls did we return? How many bills did we pay? How well did we get that orange juice stain out of the carpet? And how much did we save with coupons at the grocery story?

I don’t know about you, but when I rock these tasks (heck, even when I simply complete them haphazardly), I feel like a huge success! I go to bed at night feeling accomplished. Validated. Feeling like a GREAT mom! These are all good things to accomplish – as long as they don’t come at the expense of truly BEING a great mom (or wife…or friend…or sister…or daughter).

The wise and wonderful Colleen O’Grady from Power Your Parenting posted this message on Facebook earlier this week and it was just the whisper I needed to hear: “Moms, remember -- what you do for your family isn't what blesses them. YOU ARE THE BLESSING!“

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a huge fan of checklists and productivity. I’ve always been organized. (Ok, so maybe a tad bit Type A.) And that quality serves me well. It helps me stay on top of the many responsibilities God entrusts me with. But sometimes I get caught up in the tyranny of my To-Do’s. I get hyper-focused on DOING everything that needs to get done.

What I fail to see is that the more I accomplish, the less available I am – to my family, friends and to God. What I fail to realize is that some of my most important tasks never make it on the list. What I fail to understand is that I should concentrate more on what I am called to BE and less on what I am called to DO. Wow – talk about a shift in direction!

So from now on, while I cross things off my To-Do List, I’m also going to work on my To-Be List. Here’s what my To-Be List looks like right now:

My To-Be List

  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Wise
  • Joyful
  • Peaceful
  • Grateful
  • Loving
  • Faithful
  • Generous
  • Compassionate
  • Encouraging
  • Strong
  • Hopeful
  • Understanding

Tonight, when I collapse into bed I will try not to think about the things I did or did not accomplish today. Instead, I will recall the type of person I was today. And I’ll pray that God gives me the resolve to focus less on what I am called to DO and more on what I am called to BE.

What about you? What’s on your To-Be List?

Copyright 2014, Theresa Ceniccola