To Do List…Redeemed

March 11, 2009

in Everyday Redeemed

There’s always been a tension for me when it comes to ‘to do’ lists.  So, today, I want to introduce you to my newly renovated list-the ‘to be’ list. Instructions for creating your own are found below.  So, read on and find out how to make a list that’s more about be-ing than do-ing.

The Problem

To do lists are dangerous for me because I can lean towards a ‘works-oriented’ pride.

  • A list that provides me a place to feel accomplished as I tick the boxes can easily drive me to think that what I do is more important than who I am.
  • My to do lists are often more task oriented than people oriented, and we all know how much easier it is to do tasks than to deal with people.
  • My to do lists can also have the opposite effect of their intended purpose-making me feel swamped and stuck rather than accomplished and focused. As my mind starts revving with tasks, the list is quickly too long and I throw in the towel at the sight of all there is ‘to do.’

But, recently, I’ve started to set up my ‘to do’ lists more like ‘to be’ lists and I’m finding the change refreshing and helpful.  So, I thought I’d pass it along for those who love the lists and even for those who are don’t.

Here’s the gist: I set up the list based upon my roles in life and I order the list based on the priority those roles currently have in life.

The Method

Start on a Saturday or Sunday when you have a chance to sit and reflect for a longer period of time.  Sunday afternoon has worked well for me the past few weeks.

1 List the roles you currently play in life, and list them in the order of their importance.

Mine are:

  • Disciple of Jesus
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Household Manager
  • Family Member
  • Church Member
  • Employee
  • Friend & Neighbor

2 Search for Scriptures that apply to that role and lessons you’re currently learning in that area.

You get the idea.

3 With the focus of these roles and the Scriptures that give you direction, list your top 3 goals for the week under each role.  For instance:

  • As a Family member, one goal for the week is sending a note to my grandfather who recently lost my grandmother.
  • As a neighbor, one of my 3 goals is baking an extra loaf of bread to deliver next door on Saturday.  Or it could be something more general like being out in the front yard for 4 hours this week.
  • As a church member, one of my 3 goals is praying for a stranger to talk with at church on Sunday and being intentional to find him/her and introduce myself.

You get the idea.

4 At the end of the week, as you make your list for the next week, reflect on what worked and what did not. Talk with God about it.  Talk with others about it (especially the ones that are benefiting from your list).    Ask God for more grace to dig in deeper to further become all He’s made you to be.

5 Find new verses, fill out the priorities and get out there again the next week.

Now, I know that this method of list making can make life seem less integrated than it really is. For instance, the goal of reading Scripture every day as a disciple is going to benefit every one of my roles, not just the role of Disciple. And respecting my husband will provide a great example and loving environment for my children and will impact my interactions with other family members. Nevertheless, if I don’t focus on each role separately with specific goals for each role, I find that some roles will be neglected. And roles that are not first priority will somehow sneak back up to the top of my to do list.

Your Turn

So, what do you think about my ‘to be’ list? Thoughts for revisions or ways to make it better?  I hope to provide you with a free download of the template later this week, so stay tuned…and get out there and fulfill your ‘to be’ lists!


{ 3 trackbacks }

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April 15, 2009 at 5:41 am

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jn March 11, 2009 at 11:10 am

I really like this idea of doing a ‘to be’ list. I know my struggle will be writing the list in the order of priority and realizing that my priorities are not in the order I would want them to be in. I already know this struggle of mine and am afraid to see it on paper! I feel my list is more in the order of what is demanding of me today…such as a school assignment due tomorrow that I am really behind on completing, etc. However, I sit here this morning after reading this post and remember that everything I have and all that I am, including my ability to complete this school assignment, is from God. This thought begins to move the task of being Christ’s disciple up the list, and remind me that I really want to and need to thank Him, praise Him, and know Him better. Thanks for this post and encouraging me ‘to be’ instead of ‘to do.’

2 Amanda March 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Wow, that is really powerful. And I think my list will have a lot in common with yours. :)

Amanda’s last blog post..A trip to a local dairy

3 burningbushes March 11, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Yes! I forgot to include that in the post-that as I made my ‘to be’ list, I realized how I am often obsessed with ‘to do’s’ that aren’t included anywhere on my roles. Or that I can give so much to my kiddos that I have little to give to my husband or friends, etc. So, for me too, repentance is part of the process of making the list. And, like you also said, humility in trusting that God will help me do all that needs to be done if I commit my way to Him and look to Him for what I should ‘be.’ Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment

4 Marcus Goodyear March 11, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I like the idea of approach our task list from the perspective of identity rather than productivity. Who am I? Then, what does that mean I should do?

What if I’m so busy meeting deadlines doing things that I don’t have any time to reflect on who I am anymore? How do we stop the train if we want to get off?

Marcus Goodyear’s last blog post..Does your social media honk like a bad oboe player?

5 Amy March 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I love, Love, LOVE this post. Good job. What a practical way to move me from my fog of Post-its and to-do, into taking real steps to becoming the woman he created me to be!

6 David March 30, 2009 at 10:55 am

Wonderful. We are, after all, human ‘beings’ and not human ‘doings.’

great and unique appraoch

David’s last blog post..Anger in the workplace – is it ever appropriate?

7 Amy April 1, 2009 at 11:04 am

I am so glad I came across this post! I have read about this type of list in a book on marriage (I think) and I’ve never been able to remember the name of the book or the author! I’m thrilled to find this again! What an excellent idea. I am starting today. Thanks so much for the encouragement and may God bless you!

Amy’s last blog post..Take Every Thought Captive

8 Melanie May 29, 2009 at 11:14 am

I agree with everyone above. It definitely makes it “easier” to focus my to-do’s of the day on my “to-be” list. I will be printing out the template shortly and giving it a whirl. Thanks so much for sharing this. I also really like how you linked your to-be’s to Scripture. God’s Word always helps me when I am working on different aspects of my identity. That’s what it’s all about…following God’s word by loving Him and loving others…the ultimate “to do.” Blessings!

Melanie’s last blog post..5 Minutes for Mom’s Mother’s Day Giveaway 2009

9 Karen June 16, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Just came over after reading your comment on Small Notebook so I’m totally new to you and your blog. Just wanted to say that this post is quite inspiring. Even without doing it yet, I know that my list for next week will look so different. It’s made me realise that everything I “do” doesn’t actually reflect the person I want to “be”.
Thanks for that,
Karen (Scotland)

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