Only Mine to Do

I’m a sucker for a list. Hand me a pretty notebook or agenda and I will make magic out of its pages. I’ll fill in dreams, to-do’s and even give life to all that has been happening in my thoughts. Maybe it’s a word love affair. One of my girls’ loves making lists too. She, like me…pours her heart out on paper whether it be a grocery or shopping list or just a notebook to keep organized and on time to this or that.

I do such a jam-up job on making TO-DO lists….I thought maybe making a TO NOT DO list was just as important. If you think about it, there are many different voices constantly trying to get our attention. Not all of them are good, helpful or even of value but we (out of guilt or being easily distracted) fall into the trap of focusing on stuff that doesn’t truly matter.

What matters in my life may not in yours.

Let me make this simple. I will do what I value most. Just like you are probably doing in your own life. Some people think making their bed each morning is a waste, I do not. Making the bed fills something up inside my love tank and releases endorphins that shoot off an arrow of happy right into my heart. Every time I walk into my bedroom throughout the day and see my beautiful bed, peyong! That arrow hits me one more time!

Have you ever been to someone’s house and needed something? Anything? A napkin? Fresh towel? Extra blanket? Did you peek around for one? Or just outright ask? I mention all of those items because those are things you will always have at my house. I think of those things as very important. However, not everyone does. I’ve been to many friends homes that do not set out napkins with a meal. Why? I have no idea other than to say that maybe they just don’t need or use them. Filthy animals! 🙂 I suppose using my sleeve to wipe off that BBQ sauce is fine.

See what I’m saying about our differences?

I don’t want to get off track here because the truth of the matter is there are things in this world that are only mine to do. Things that have nothing to do with creature comforts or how I run my house. I want to section those things out and face the reality of WHAT IT IS GOD WANTS TO ACCOMPLISH IN AND THROUGH ME.

I’m only going to be here for a limited amount of time.

My TO NOT DO list may look something like this:

1. Worry.

Worrying doesn’t change any of my circumstances. It only causes what I’m zeroed in on to fester and grow into a monster bigger than God ever intended for it to be. What a waste of my time.

2. Focus on what I don’t have.

I’ve noticed how much I don’t have when I scroll online at what others are showing off there. It also reminds me to be careful of what I brag about to others. Even if it’s out of pride. Someone struggling could be hurting and my fancy couch, new bathroom, constant Nordstrom sale shopping, fun repeated vacations, expensive dinners out and whatever it is that you see online that makes you feel low…only emphasizes what that person can’t ever have.

PS – I do not have any of those things happening in my life. So, don’t hate.

3. Compete.

I never ever want to go back to a place where I feel my value is tied to what others think of me. Younger gals, I’m sorry you are in such a world. Don’t fall for that lie. It’s not necessary to compete with other women to be awesome! Matter of fact, it’s awesome to pull as many chicks up with you as you can. Let’s all win.

4. Blame others.

Watching your kids grow up and face the world opens your eyes to a myriad of weak spots in your parenting. Don’t believe me? Just wait. If you’ve taught your little punkins to own their mistakes and face up to their responsibilities, then good on you. If you haven’t, you may be privvy to a life of watching them blame others for every calamity that comes their way. Oh, I’ve been guilty too. It’s easy to blame someone else for what’s wrong in your life. I don’t want to do that. No, God doesn’t want me to do that.

5. Fight every battle.

I clicked like on a Facebook post the other day on a hot topic that I felt needed my approval. WRONG. It didn’t. Later that day, a beloved writer that I follow posted a prayer for the one who felt she had to add her two-cents online. While I know she wasn’t talking to me, I heard her. I do not need to jump in for every battle. You’d think at my age I’d have this figured out. I’m extremely gifted in the opinion area. No one needs to hear it or wants to. Sorry kids.

6. Assume.

My very first day at college, God handed me on a silver platter the greatest English professor. On the board he wrote the word ASSUME. He went on to warn us that this word would wreck us if we allowed it any power in our lives. Not just in English class but life in general. He jokingly pointed out that more often than not when we assume something….it ends up making an ASS of U and ME. I’ve never forgotten his lesson. Mostly because it holds a deep amount of truth to it. Assuming is guessing. Guessing is not knowing it as truth. Don’t assume.

7. Give up.

I’ve wanted to give up so many times over the last year but God hasn’t let me. It’s important that I experience hard things. Knowing what I know now about how long my husband has been unemployed blows my mind. Had I known at the start……I may have given up. The lesson, I have learned to keep going, to keep praying and believing. God never gives up on me. Why would I give up on him?

8. Wish away my life.

I know a friend who wishes every problem away. There’s never a positive possibility from her troubles. Everything is doom. In my human nature I too can be completely consumed with getting out of hot water. Still, my life isn’t a mistake and neither are my troubles. God has a plan and when I wish my life were something it’s not I’m being pretty ungrateful for what I do have.

9. Pay back evil for evil.

My mother-in-law is the queen of finding a positive in a rotten situation. She can turn around a tumultuous experience and challenge you to find the good. Every time. When my kids were small and had an issue with another child, I would try to help them believe something good about that kid. What may have sounded as an excuse for their behavior wasn’t really that, it was my way of helping them to soften and love the other child because the heart will betray us. If we are not very careful, when someone wounds us we allow it to fester and make us vengeful. I want to love my enemies.

10. Forget my pain.

I have worked too hard to survive this last year. Every struggle, every heartbreak and every rejection. They taught me very valuable lessons. I don’t want to toss those aside when God ends my current situation. I am the person I am because of everything I’ve experienced. What the devil meant for harm God means for good. So, I’m going to hang on to all the things that pushed me closer to God. I’m going to use them to help others and to hold myself to the fire. Pain is a constant reminder that there is more.

So, see….I have work to do that only I can do. I have young adult children who need me, I have life to share with friends and family….I have a husband to fight alongside and stories to tell. Every day is a new opportunity to do or not to do whatever it is that fires up my soul.

What would your TO NOT DO list look like?