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Saturday, 15 August 2015

To Do or not To Do

My eyes pinged open this morning, earlier than they should have for a Saturday. Things on my mind. Things that need doing. Am I just moving slower these days, or is the To Do List getting longer?

After breakfast I wrote another To Do list which, though incomplete, still has 25 things on it. Leapt up and cleaned out the fridge, ditching the out-of-date jams and so on. Then I headed for the prayer alcove.

I can almost imagine God’s glee as he waited for me to discover what the reading was for this morning in the plan I follow. The irony of it all. The clarity of the message to Me. It was the story of the two sisters, Mary and Martha. Martha probably had 25 things on her To Do list too, and maybe Mary did as well, but Mary had abandoned her list and plunked down at Jesus’ feet, where she was hanging on to his every word. Martha, meanwhile, was seething with resentment that she was left to get on with all the work while her sister lounged with the honoured guest.

No problem seeing who I was being this morning, so I spent a few minutes there, also sitting at Jesus’ feet, soaking in his presence, telling him I love him. 

Sometimes, especially during hard times when we are under pressure and anxious, it is very tempting to focus totally on ‘doing’. It distracts us from that which worries us. It makes us feel like we can do something right, that we can make a positive difference in our little corner.

‘Being’ is so much healthier, though. God calls us to be in relationship with him. He longs for us to sit with him, without agenda, just in companionship and love. He invites us to sit in silence and listen. He has the words of eternal life, and they are light and life to the heavy heart.

It’s nearly bedtime now and only three things have come off the list. But meantime I enjoyed a BBQ with family. I am often a victim of the tyranny of the to-do list. There is something that feels virtuous in ticking off the tasks. But more virtuous, and of infinite more value, is the time I spend nurturing relationship – first with God through Jesus, then with others. Somehow, in God’s economy, that nurtures my own soul.

I’ll keep working through the To Do List, mainly so I don’t forget to do some of the things which have been awaiting attention. But I will resist letting it rule my life. I will do it in my own time, choosing to use it as an aide memoire and not allowing it to drive my life.

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