The Anxiety-Producing List

5 Dec

I was reading a book for upper elementary students last night called Becoming Naomi León by one of my favorite authors, Pam Muños Ryan, when I came across this quote which made me laugh out loud because it sounds so much like me:

Chewing on the end of my pencil, I got back to my list, which Gram said was one of the things I did best.  I had all kinds of lists in my notebook, the shortest being “Things I Am Good At” which consisted of 1) Soap carving, 2) Worrying, and 3) Making lists.

There was my “Regular and Everyday Worries” list, which included 1) Gram was going to die because she was old, 2) Owen would never be right, 3) I will forget something if I don’t make a list, 4) I will lose my lists, and 5) Abominations.

I am the kind of person who takes the Scripture about redeeming the time so seriously that my to-do lists tend to have tyrannical rule over my life.  I have always taken the Scripture to mean that I should use each minute well.  I haven’t been so careful to distinguish what “using well” actually means.  I make my lists and categorize them, either under area (church, school, family, personal) or importance (imperative & important; not imperative, but important; imperative & not important; or not imperative & not important). 

I tend to put everything I can think of on lists and so I am overburdened before I even begin.  My lists can not be completed in any reasonable amount of time.  I’ve done two things to ease the pressure.  1) I started using to keep my lists.  Not only can I access it at any computer (which, of course, makes me want a Smartphone) but when I don’t complete a task the computer automatically rolls it over to the next day.  Thus, I no longer look at my list through the eyes of failing, but with a brand new start each day.  2) I pray each day for God to set my priorities within me.  Thus when I finish the day, I figure I’ve done just what God wants me to.  I HAVE redeemed the time. 

To redeem the time is to to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own. –Online Bible Greek Lexicon 

Wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good means that I’m going downstairs to watch football with Mike rather than cross more items off my list.  What does redeeming the time mean to you today?

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