Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Difference In Lists

In April, 2009, I wrote the following article for Above Rubies magazine; Issue 76.  I came across it the other day and . . . well . . . got sorta smacked in the face.  Today I share it with you as a reminder to us both of what is important in our lives—time spent in relationship with those we love!

Deep blessings and peace as you walk with Jesus,

“It is not how much you do,
But how much love you put in the doing”

Mother Theresa’s words got me thinking. We women are famous for our daunting “could never accomplish in three days let alone one” TO DO lists. What if, instead of making a list at the beginning of the day of all that needs to get accomplished, we turn it around a bit? What if we made a list at the end of the day of all the “unseen” acts of love? I believe this list would be more telling as to how productive the day actually was.

Imagine the following…it won’t be much of a stretch, I promise :
  • kissed and bandaged an invisible “owie”
  • read baby his favorite book seven times
  • held my tongue when the boys traipsed mud through the house after digging up all the flower bulbs along the front walkway
  • officiated over a toilet funeral for the beloved goldfish
  • sang a song and smiled each time a diaper was changed—that would have been 27 times
  • lovingly rocked and soothed a little one cutting teeth
  • spent all night cleaning up vomit since all the children decided to share their germs with one another
  • made Daddy’s favorite dinner
  • gently combed the tangles out of daughters hair
  • softly, calmly soothed an autistic son as his frustration began to escalate
  • fulfilled a request made by hubby that seemed unimportant
  • stayed on top of the day’s lessons although feeling mentally spent
  • set down the day’s lessons recognizing tensions were high over that math concept
  • lovingly picked up a crabby baby who really should have napped longer, knowing it was going to be a long evening
  • forgot about needing a shower and smelled in the sweet aroma of the new baby
  • asked for forgiveness after being too quickly bothered by an act of childishness
  • disciplined rightly, lovingly and firmly when an infraction of God’s or house rules occurred
  • played a game instead of spending those few precious “free” minutes in a book
  • got off the computer when wanting to “surf” a little longer, knowing it had been enough
  • baked chocolate chip cookies and let everyone have a spoon of dough
  • started up a pillow fight
  • listened intently to older son explain how something works that you have little to no interest in
  • opened ears and closed mouth when older daughter wanted to “talk”
  • gratefully accepted a bouquet of dandelions (or swamp grass :)
  • drove to Homeschool Co-op when wanting to stay in the bathrobe all day
  • danced with either Prince Charming or Cinderella
  • graciously accepted tea and crumpets served on plastic dishes, resembling water and stale crackers
  • read a book to kids old enough to read to themselves
  • made popcorn for family movie night
  • cheerfully helped with a science project knowing a big mess was awaiting in the end
  • drove a child to the Special Olympics event and cheered for everyone
  • laughed when really wanting to cry

We still need that TO DO list. It keeps us focused, on track and accomplishing those things that are our responsibility. Maybe we could add to the top of that list, after the word “do”, the words “in God’s time”. Offering up our time to God (Psalm 32:15) to be used as He desires is a beautiful act of worship (Romans 12:1).

I’m going to make my list tonight and I encourage you to do the same. I think you’ll be amazed to see how much love you put in your doing today even if it looks like not much got done. Similarly, if you don’t have a lot to add to that LOVE list but you got a lot accomplished from the day’s TO DO list, keep that in mind when writing out the next day’s list. Maybe “love a little bit more” should be at the top of that one.

Just a thought...