I have always loved ‘to-do’ lists! They keep me focus and at the end of the day I can look at it and see all that I have accomplished. There are times that I would have several ‘to-do’ lists — there would be today’s, this week’s, this month and then the dream ‘to-do’ list. It was great. I was so in control. I was able to
That was the old me.
The new me only has two things on my ‘to-do’ list each and every day.
1. Put God First
2. Let God take Control
Okay, to be completed honest this does not happen every day. Maybe I can call this my new wish ‘to-do’ list! But this is my goal.
I am in the midst of a wonderful online Bible study by Tracie Miles called ‘Stressed Less Living’. This week is chapter 8: Addicted to Adrenaline. I was told after a friend read it that she thought of me, so I was a little nervous in starting to read this chapter. And she was right. This is so me.
I have come to the realization that there was two major problems with the way that I handled things for most of my life. First of all, I never asked God for what he wanted me to do each day. This never came into the thought process that I went through as I decided what I would do each day. (notice that there is a lot of ‘I’s in that sentence). It was all about me. What did I want to accomplish? What did I think was important? I have realized that I was completely wrong!! And the second major problem or misconception that I had was that I was in control. Somehow, I came to the conclusion that I was in control by making these lists and organizing my time.
As this realization came to me, I had to laugh. I can so picture God sitting there, looking at me and saying ‘Finally!! She gets it!! It has only taken her over 40 years to finally get it.’ I am very thankful that my God is so very patient with this slow learner.
During the previous seven chapters, I have had to admit to my involvement in creating my stress, what was within my control and what was not. The hardest thing was facing my giants last week. I have been taking this study very serious and making changes in my life as I have went along. I have not completely faced all my giants, but will to soon.
This week is another week of coming to the realization that I am an addict. Addicted to the adrenaline of getting things accomplished. Of looking at my beautiful and detailed ‘to-do’ lists and being able to check or cross things off. For those who have been in my office, there is often a huge ‘to-do’ list posted on the wall. (I absolutely love the Post-it poster size pages!) I can clearly see what needs to be done. It has always made stressing over what has to be done and not being able to do it today easier when I could sit there and look at it all day. But I have removed the last one from my office. There is no more lists on my desk! Still lots of things to respond to and projects to work on, but they are in managable piles that I will get to as I can.
The main thing that stuck out to me in this chapter was the four types of adrenaline junkies. The four are: the accomplisher, the personal deflector, the organizational deflector and the dramatist. I clearly fall in to the first category — the accomplisher!
“The accomplisher- this is the classic type of adrenaline addict, the one who has an almost innate need to stay busy and cross things off a list in order to feel productive. They like to be able to measure daily process in terms of what they have completed, even at the expense of the bigger, longer-term view. Accomplishers are most susceptible to developing an adrenaline addiction because they are prone to take on more and more work.” (page 163)
Wow! This is definately me! As I read this over a few times, I kept asking myself. How do I change? I have been like this for my whole life, so how do I break the habit? Step one was to continue reading the chapter.
Tracie made the comment that the devil wants us to be busy because that will take us away from spending time with God. This is so true. Why haven’t I realized this sooner? Since starting this study, I have been spending more time in the Word of God and less time worrying about what has to be done. I am trying to delegate more, but still having a hard time in saying ‘no’ to new tasks and projects.
“What is keeping me most busy? Where do I devote the majority of my time?” (page 165)
I have realized over the last eight weeks, that I have been devoting too much of my time to my ministry and not enough to my family or to myself. This is not a news flash to those who know me. I have made a concentrated effort to spend less time working in the evenings, but instead spending time with my family and with God. This Bible study has given me the focus I have needed to start making important changes in my life. While I still have a ways to go, I feel that I am on the right path.
John 9:4 states, “All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.”
I have always been quick to do what was assigned to me, but my downfall was doing what everyone else assigned to me and not doing just what God has assigned to me. This is a huge step in realizing that most of what I do is not what is on God’s priority list. Yes, there is little time left before all work comes to an end, but one must figure out what work is God’s work and what is not.
Figuring out what is on God’s list for me to do each day is my new challenge. In order to do this I must be in conversation with him first thing in the morning and throughout the day. This enables me to keep my focus where it should be and not where the world wants it to be. By being surrounded by God’s Word as I go about my day has enabled me to have less moments of stress and less meltdowns. And I feel great!
Tracie reminds us near the end of this chapter that we have a choice to make each day. “Each day when we get out of bed, we have a choice to make about where our strength will come from to face the day ahead. Will we rely on ourselves or will we rely on God? Will we try to rely on our human strength to persevere, or will we seek the strength that God provides to our spirits, enabling us to get through even the most painful of days? Will we continue to assume that if we try hard enough we will have the power to change or make changes happend, or will we realize that God, and God alone, possessess the power to do so?” (page 172)
So each day, I am making the choice to rely solely on God for strength to face whatever comes my way in the day ahead. I am relying solely on him to give me my daily bread. Not worrying about others demands. Not worrying about what tomorrow will hold. Not worrying about ‘to-do’ lists. And trying my very best not to worry about what is not being done today.