Pitfalls of To-Do Lists

Monday & Tuesday were just overwhelming for me (that explains my lack of blogging yesterday). My to-do list just kept getting longer and things were not getting done. Ever had one of those days? The baby needs tending, the dishes are overflowing, and my phone won’t stop ringing. At the end of my day on Monday, I just took a few moments to pray and search my heart as to the reason behind the stress I experience on such a day. My stress resulted in sinning in anger against my child and husband. This is sin! How do I deal with the stress?

The Lord gave me the following insights that I recorded in my journal:

I acknowledge that when I get overwhelmed, stressed or discouraged, the root issue is often pride in my heart. My schedule, to-do list, my plans are taking top priority in my heart, and when they don’t get fulfilled, I falter into stress mode. Whose plans are on the throne? Mine! Who am I depending on? My own measly ability to get things done. Christ is not honored with each check off on my to-do list, but rather when I acknowledge my utmost dependence upon Him to accomplish anything. It’s all about Him!

The Lord is opening my eyes to see how much overemphasis I put on my accomplishments of the day. I often find my fulfillment and feel good about myself when the to-do list is completed. Oh how foolish of me!

Pride goes before a fall! Oh Lord, forgive me for my selfish desires and exaltation of my plans. Help me always to first submit my to-do list to your Lordship. May my focus be upon Your will and not my own.

Lesson learned: Submit my plans to the Lord. Keep my priorities in the right place. God, husband, child, household, and then others. If I can just manage in nurturing my family and a basic maintenance of my household for the day, doing my work unto the Lord, then it will be a profitable day! If not one thing gets checked off my list, but my hubby and child are cared for, and the Lord was the center of it all, then it has been a success!

This is not to say that to-do lists are wrong or unhelpful. I do strongly believe in them when it comes to being productive with our time. But the important thing I am learning is to commit my ways to the Lord and trust His sovereignty in all things! Don’t exalt my plans and base my happiness upon whether or not they are accomplished.

The other lesson learned: Always give thanks! While doing the dinner preparation yesterday, I was already way behind, and yet the Lord reminded me that I could either get frustrated and rush around and dwell on my lack of accomplishments or turn my thoughts and voice to praise and giving thanks to the Lord for His goodness. As a result, I turned my thoughts towards giving thanks and sang worship songs while preparing our meal and cleaning up. What sweet moments at the foot of the Savior!

“...Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hyms and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…(Eph. 5:18-20)”

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

4 Responses to Pitfalls of To-Do Lists

  1. Mali Korsten (The Korsten Chronicle) January 25, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Your wisdom and insight is truly a blessing to me, and in turn to my family. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. Kathleen June 19, 2008 at 7:12 am #

    The verse that popped into my head as I read your post was Pr. 16.3. Excellent post, and a good reminder, too.

  3. Theresa Taylor June 18, 2008 at 10:29 am #

    Thank you for such insights. I behave the same way. Now your blog has helped me see why. I do not yell because I have too much to do,and I am not overwhelmed because I have to much to do, I am overwhelmed because my priorities are on my to do list instead of on GOD’S will for me. I am throwing a tantrum that my will is not done, that my list of stuff is not completed. So my anger is just a tantrum not really being overwhelmed at all…. Thank you again. A great perspective!

  4. Robin June 18, 2008 at 10:09 am #

    This is great Lindsay! This must be the week for stress! I blogged about it, too. Funny how turning everything over to the Lord and putting Him first in our life will bring everything else into the proper focus.

    Take care!