Friday Morning Coffee #37: To-Do Obsession

Good morning folks!

A friend and I were laughing at our type-A personalities last week. It erupted as I casually referred to a to-do list as "exciting." Fortunately, we're self-aware enough to know that sounds ridiculous.

Clearly I'm one of those types who likes to get things done, to check them off my list, to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of my day - i.e. all the to-do tasks marked off with dark, straight pen strokes. I have even been known to add items to my to-do list that I've already completed, 1) in order to "remember" that it was finished, but really 2) for the pleasure of crossing something off the list. 

There are some of you now who are thinking I'm a bit a crazy. That's probably fair. There are others of you who are knowingly nodding your heads, perhaps with a grin or a sparkle in your eyes. Because you know. You do it too. 

Lately, I've been getting to the end of the day with fewer tasks completed than I'd like. Even now, my list from yesterday stares at me from my desk, the things undone clear and unmarked. It says, "You could have done more. You should have done more." 

In reality, my expectations for what I could accomplish in one day were unrealistic. I am merely a human. I have limited brain power and mental energy to think and write. I have limited time. But I allowed my unrealistic expectations to latch onto my mind, to shape the judgment of what was a day of fulfilling work. For this type-A girl - and maybe you too, my friend - those unrealistic expectations can be a slave driver. They take simple joy and small victories and crush them.

If this sounds familiar to you, if you know the weight of your own unrealistic expectations of yourself and what you can accomplish, you know this applies to much more than work. It spreads, slowly twisting around our friends, our faith, our marriage, our hobbies. It distracts us from the value of quiet day-by-day faithfulness, from the sweet freedom of being and not doing, from the beauty of small things. 

Thank God that the Gospel flies in the face of these whispering lies. That we were chosen when we had no accolades or accomplishments to make ourselves worthy. That we are loved purely and fully. That His Kingdom comes small and childlike. That He doesn't give us a to-do list to earn His favor. That He simply asks us to follow Him.

It's the sort of message that sets my heart free. It lets me exhale the pressure, the expectations, performance-driven judgment - and rest

I hope you know that freedom today, my friend.