I have be be honest. Some list people bother me. I make lists. I use them but they don't use me. Lists should be something that are subject to change-quickly, drastically, and at any time. I make grocery lists, errand lists, and stuff to do today lists. These are necessary, especially at my age. I know people however who plan out every second of every day and if they don't accomplish what's on their list they have a meltdown, or at least a hot flash. May I say.....THAT'S RIDICULOUS! Lists, just like facebook, blogs, entirely too smart phones, computers, and all the other modern conveniences we say "save us time" are meant to be our tools, not our task masters!
I have things that I want to accomplish on a daily, weekly, monthly and life level. I don't need a list to tell me to do laundry. It's sitting in the basket in the corner of my bedroom screaming "wash me, wash me." I don't need a list to remind me to read my Bible and pray. That's my habit. My Bible resides within arms reach of my bed and sits under my cell phone/alarm clock. As soon as I turn off my alarm, I reach for my Bible. And I don't "schedule" God into my day. If He wants all of my morning before I leave for work, He gets it. The other stuff can wait. I don't need a list to remind me to vacuum my bedroom. The dog hair stuck to the bottom of my shoe reminds me that it's time to brush the dog and vacuum the carpet. My stomach reminds me, a little too often, that it's time to fix and eat dinner. I do write myself reminders like "bring goodies to work tomorrow" or "get the neighbors mail after work" because that is out of the realm of the normal.
Some people tell me when I bang on list dictators that it's their personality to make lists. Maybe, but I have to say that they are usually control freak type people who rarely smile or have time to enjoy the spontaneous moments that God brings to their lives. What's even more sad is that they rarely have time to help people unless those people have scheduled in their services for that day. Helping people in need is never convenient, but for a list slave it is excruciatingly painful because something on their list has to suffer. They cannot easily drop everything and go do something else without that list nagging at them from afar the whole time.
So I've come up with a solution. I call it the un-list.
At the beginning of every day, I think about what I'd like to get accomplished that day. I then pray a prayer that I have prayed for most of my Christian life every day that goes like this "Lord, order my day." Yep, that's it. Simple, heartfelt, and sincere. Then I go about my day. When I complete a task, I write it down...on a list! (See I told you that I'm not totally anti-list!) At the end of the day, I sit down and take a look at all that I did and I think to myself, wow, you got a lot done today! Do you see how free-ing this could be? And most of the time, it's not full of wood, hay and stubble stuff. Who gives a flip if the hall closet is not entirely neat and tidy? The only time I get in there is to get a towel because I have shower water dripping in my face and I forgot to grab the towels from the dryer, or someone (daughter #2-you know who you are) used the last of the roll and didn't replace the toilet paper, or someone is bleeding to death and needs first aid at which point, I don't even notice the state of the closet.
Who cares if the grass grows one more day? Eventually it will be letting me know, "hey, it's time to cut me!" and I will, but not because some list dictated to me that it has been exactly 7 days since I cut it the last time.
The most beautiful part of my un-list is that it is always filled with spontaneous events that God placed in my path that I wasn't planning on or anticipating. When my hubby, who is exceptionally spontaneous and organized at the same time, (I wish I knew how he does that!) says "hey, lets go do this", I don't have to look at my list and schedule him in or try to rearrange his schedule so that he gets to do what he wants to do with me without disrupting my schedule. How selfish is that?
My list may say that I took extra time at the grocery store to chat with an old friend or encourage someone. It may say that I wrote a journal entry about something that God spoke to me that morning when I spent extra time reading His Word.
It may say that I took time to sit and listen to someone who is hurting or to text riddles to my friends to make them giggle.
It may say that I spent an hour chatting about recipes with a budding cook or perusing the latest Target flyer with one of my kids.
It may say that I walked to the top of the hill at the park to sit and watch a particularly beautiful sunset and wondered at the beauty of God's creation. That will put your soul at rest!
It may say that I did 3 loads of laundry, took one more bag of unwanted things from the overstuffed garage to the curb, shaved my legs (believe me, with my inseam length, that is no small task!), got groceries, or organized my closet.
I'm not anti-structure. That's important. But when structure becomes rigidity or is fueled by the need to control, that is sad, dangerous, stressful and unhealthy. I honestly doubt that the Apostle Paul, Peter or even Jesus for that matter had a list. They just went with it and look how much they got accomplished! I don't care if my epitaph says that my house was clean, my clothes were wrinkle free, and that every part of my life (except my spiritual life of course), was immaculate.
Scripture explicitly commands us to live one day at a time. That doesn't mean that we have no goals or plans to reach those goals. It just means that we don't know what a day holds and we have to be able and willing to adjust to the demands and surprises of each day, using the grace provided for them and delighting in the goodness of them without getting our panties in a wad. We are all smart enough to know what really HAS to get done on a certain day and if you're not, God is. Why not let him do the organizing? The rest of it....well, it can wait!