Like some of you, I’m a master of to do lists. I’ve tried all the apps, paper lists, notes on my phone, etc. to figure out the best way to track seemingly every single thought that enters my brain space. I’ve often become overwhelmed with the sheer number of ideas that swirl around me in different seasons. So much so that I started seeing a counselor a couple years ago for a while to help me figure out how to organize a new work and family rhythm I found myself in. Ironically, the counselor helped me see some other things were going on below the surface of the to do list. Don’t you hate and love when someone else helps you see there’s always a deeper level? I seriously thought it was just about a to do list.
Fast forward to earlier this spring. Our church is up to something pretty incredible and it’s taken most of my focus these past six months. (I have so many things to say about what we’re learning but that’s another post for another day!). Needless to say, my relationship with my to do list became a bit of an issue again.
The list was driving me. It was in charge. I thought I was in charge because I created the list. But the list took over. A quick glance over a list that held 38 beautiful and wonderful and exciting ideas threatened to freeze me on the couch. I could prioritize them in the mornings and work towards the top three. But inevitably, people and new tasks popped up throughout the day and changed the plan. I ended the day unsure of what I had accomplished. And for a One on the Enneagram, that doesn’t sit well with my brain. I wake up in the morning ready to reform everything in my path. I’m wired to make the world a better place and when I sink into the couch at the end of the day with a vague sense that everything is the same as it was yesterday, I feel fidgety and uncomfortable in my spirit.
This past March, instead of continuing this rhythm that would slowly undo me and my work in the world, I chose to get curious. Was there another way to posture my heart and spirit so I could relax a little more into my work? I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by my own force of energy.
This poured forth…
How Do I Measure My Days?
When left unchecked, I measure my days by my to do list.
By the tasks I got done.
The calls I made, the pieces I wrote, the meetings I had.
What if those things simply mark time but should never be used to measure a day?
What if I measured my days by the things that mattered most to me?
I want to measure my days in how many giggles I get to hear from my 3 year old son.
…in how many kisses and hugs I get from my husband.
…in artwork given to me by my 6 year old daughter.
…in kind words from a friend.
…in funny texts from my family.
…in conversations with friends.
…in watching the sun rise and set.
…in breathing deep of silence.
…in listening to music and dancing in the kitchen.
…in cooking dinner for my family.
…with the turn of a page in a beloved book.
…in how God feels about me.
Because it turns out you get what you measure.
When I started noticing the giggles, kisses and artwork on purpose, I became fully present for those moments. Those moments became the most important of the day. And without me hardly noticing, my original to do list started to lose its power. Now, more days than not, I look at the list and choose a couple things that have an approaching deadline and I make sure I have focused time to work. I try to welcome the small distractions that come throughout the day. They’re often the best opportunities for ministry. Then I put it all down when it’s time to go home.
Now my real work begins. Time to notice giggles, kisses and artwork!