A To-Do List You Can Live With – Amber Redmond

A To-Do List You Can Live With

What does it look like to bring your daily tasks to Jesus?

I spent my entire morning trying to get motivated. Everything I needed to do laid heavily on my soul and I didn’t even know where to start. The easy way to spend the day would have been to spend it writing. The problem, though, I knew I needed to do a lot of other things.

Reverting to my days as a student, I decided to make a to-do list. Often, I try not to make a to-do list because at the end of the day, it is an illustration of all the things I couldn’t get done. However, today I felt like I needed an organized outline of what needed to happen. Enter: the soul-sucking first list.

I sat at the table and pondered everything that was bothering me, writing the first thing that came to mind:

Clean the house, room by room.

Seriously? Talk about soul-sucking.

Then I pictured my house, room by room, and everything that needed to be done to make it spotless.

Do dishes,

Clean off counters,

Sweep and mop kitchen floor,

Do laundry,

Clean Toilets,

Pick up living room nonsense,


 Feed yourself,

Pick up dining room nonsense,

My pen suddenly died. I tried writing spirals and swirls to get the ink to start again, but alas, no good. So, I stepped inside and rifled out a pencil with a satisfyingly sharp point and gathered myself to go back to the life draining list. Already, I could feel my inadequacies adding up against me.

I stepped back to the table, looking at the list and thought, “Thank you God, I didn’t need that pen or that list anyway.”

Instead of finishing the first horrid list, I decided to flip it over to the blank side and write a real list, asking Jesus to meet me here.

Pick up nonsense in the living room,

Pick up nonsense in the dining room,

Listen to your body,

Slow down (it’s okay)

Feed yourself,

Pay attention to Julius,

Look around – it is enough. Remind yourself,

Limitation: I don’t have enough space.”

The new list brought me honesty and a whole heaping pile of grace.

I do not have adequate space in my soul (or this day) to clean the house room by room, and it is okay. The tasks I do have space for are enough.

What can we learn from these lists about who we are in Christ? As I wrote the first list, my shoulders got tight and my head began to ache. My body was telling me the first list was too much. Slow down, it was saying. It’s okay, my soul reminded.

The second list gave me a new perspective on the things that are important in this God-life. It is important to do things like pick up nonsense, and clean your house when you need to, but it isn’t the most important. It is much more important to bring your honest capabilities to God and give him those.

For me it looked like this:

Pay attention to Julius. Not because I don’t talk to my son throughout the day, but because I needed the reminder to spend a quality moment listening to him. Too often when I am striving to do enough, I forget to slow down long enough to really check in with him. At the end of the day, I realize every single time I talked to him I was distracted by something else. Distracted by the dish I was scrubbing, or the laundry I was folding, or the grocery list I was writing, or the million other things that take up my attention all day long. “Bring yourself to Julius, look at him when he tells you his stories. See how he is changing and growing and learning.” Jesus was inviting me to remember my assignment here is to be with him.

Look around – it is enough. Remind yourself.  So often, I feel like I need to do more, be more, achieve more. The house could be cleaner, the laundry shouldn’t multiply like that, the toilets didn’t get scrubbed! Jesus is telling me when I’m finished with the to-do list, I need to look around and remind myself that it is enough.

Limitation – I don’t have enough space. Taking an honest look at my limitations helps me remember how Jesus meets me with grace. This line is like a prayer, “Jesus, my limitation right now is that I don’t have space to meet the needs of this house, alone.”

When I’m doing housework I so often find myself believing since I don’t work, I should be able to take it all on. That toxic head-space is a joy thief, straight from the Devil. I can’t take it all on because nobody can. God didn’t make us take it all on. God sent his son to take it all on for us. When Jesus died on the cross he said, “It is done.” I need to find him in these moments and believe he has made us new. He did what we could never deserve. Instead of beating ourselves up about what we don’t deserve we need to accept his sacrifice and surrender ourselves to him.

Thank you, God, for your unending grace, your powerful love.

Be honest with yourself about what your value is in Christ. He isn’t asking you to be more, do more, or achieve more. He is asking you to bring your daily tasks to him.

What would it mean if you brought it all to him?