I am a list maker.

I love everything about the list.

I love crossing things off and seeing the list shrink.

I love the organization of the list and the visual management of my life on paper.

I really love the list with all of my heart.

And when it comes to the list, I’ve been programmed for decades with a certain criteria for my list.

It’s a non negotiable. I’m sure you’er familiar with it.

It’s the idea that Jesus is at the top of my list.

This idea has given me a false sense of comfort and peace. It’s driven me to strive harder to please him. It’s held me by the noose and worn me out.

And I’m finally beginning to understand why the list must go.

I bet you know what I’m talking about. Here, let me illustrate my point to you.

If I were to ask you to list the top 5 priorities in your life right now, what would you say?

Ya. See what I mean? You would make a list that might look a lot like mine: God, family, friends, church, work, play.

I used to commend myself for having God at the top of my list.

I used to revel in the fact that God was numero uno in my life.

I started my day with God religiously, and gave him my best self exhaustingly.  I even felt guilty when other things crept in on occasion to bump God.

But I started noticing a problem that was eating up my soul.

I noticed that once I gave God his morning time, I would sort of forget about him until the next day. I mean, unless I had to prepare a Bible study. Then I might think about him again. But once my feet hit the ER? Forget about it. I was too busy to even look at my list.

But even worse was that I started really missing God. I mean, I missed Jesus deeply. And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t feel this sense of closeness and intimacy with him.

For a while I did what most list makers might do. I gave God a bigger chunk of time on my list.

I even doubled him up on occasion.

But eventually even that didn’t work.

See, despite what you and I have made Matthew 6:33 to be, God never intended to be the top of our list.

God is not satisfied to simply occupy first place in your life.

Somehow, in my effort to make a God honoring “list” I’d missed the heart of what it means to be a Christian.

Maybe you’re there now. You believe that God is the most important person in your life, but for the life of you, you can’t figure out why you can’t keep him at the forefront of your mind.

You miss God.

You don’t feel connected to him.

I have the answer for you today and it’s easier than you might think.

You know that list that you’ve been holding on to?

Do me a favor and get it out. Then rip it up. Shred it to pieces. Burn it up completely.

The list must go.

The list is over.

The list is destroying you.

Today, you move from life by the list to God at the core.

Jesus at the center of it all.

So that whether you’re eating today, or drinking, or running, or writing, or painting, or doctoring, or mowing your grass, you’re not working on your list anymore.

You’re simply letting Jesus be the center of it all.

The minute you gave your life to Jesus, he moved into your heart. Christ in you became your hope of glory. You have been crucified with Christ, you no longer live on your own. He lives in you.

He is in you. He is never leaving you. He is with you.

I don’t know when I forgot the secret to the Christian life – or maybe it’s a point of maturity.

But these days, you’ll catch me without a list in hand.

These days, you’ll catch me listening more, watching more, yielding more, and on occasion, you’ll see my lips move.

I haven’t lost my mind.

But I have lost my list, and I have no intention of ever bringing it back.

These days, I’m reveling in the abiding presence of Jesus in my life.

I’m waking up to what’s real and loving every minute of it.

Won’t you get rid of your list too? Won’t you start living this life God has dreamed for you? 

 

10 thoughts on “For all you list makers out there: why the list must go.

  1. My husband used to say that Jesus is #1 on a list of 1:) Praying you stir up some trouble for the enemy today.

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  2. I am deeply challenged with that. I am a list maker. You are absolutely right.
    We just enjoy being with HIM and being empowered by HIM who is in me.
    It will lead us to have victorious life !!

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  3. We still need lists as reminders, but Jesus is not on the left standing, He is not a to do thing, He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
    The bridge to God

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  4. Eat breakfast – check
    Quiet time with God – check
    Read Lina’s profound posts – oops…check!

    Again you hit the nail on the head my friend. I love Jesus and miss him when I’m not sitting in my ‘Jesus Chair’, but you are right, He doesn’t have to be designated to my list. I’m learning to Let Go and Let God direct my days. The “list” has been a crutch of protection in an attempt to maintain some unattainable control in my life. Even though the list isn’t tangible, it’s still in my head. I’m praying for God to be the pencil of my daily list. Lina, your honesty and openness is refreshing. Thank you for your devotion as a believer and as a Christian ER doctor. You offer so much to the mentally and physically impaired.

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  5. Just goes to show that sometimes making lists is just another way of putting God in a box instead of letting him perforate our entire lives. Thanks for the inspiring words!

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  6. Thought provoking. I am wondering if it is the list that is my problem – or that it doesn’t read:
    1. Jesus+
    2. Jesus+
    3. Jesus+

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  7. You usually throw something in there to make me laugh when I don’t know I will. I may have lost my mind a few times, but hey, people thought Hannah was drunk so we are in good company. Thanks for the reminder. Life would be easier without the list. I’ll work on that.

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