I have a love/hate relationship with to-do lists.
I don't really think I could function without them, yet they make me upset at the same time.
Every day I quickly scribble out a list of things I need to get done in the next 24 hours. Sometimes as little as three things, sometimes as long as fifteen things. I write it all out to make sure I don't forget. And I have the satisfaction of knowing that everything's written down so I won't forget about completing it.
Yet every day I fail to measure up to this standard I have set for myself. This standard that says I won't be happy or I won't be good enough until I get everything done on my list and feel accomplished. I fail to cross every item off on my lengthy to-do list and consequently feel that I have failed at my day.
Maybe things came up and changed the plan for the entire day. Maybe I got distracted (Is there such a thing as Pinterest addiction therapy?) and ended up wasting some of my time. Maybe I forgot the to-do list and ended up getting other things done, but not crossing off every item on my list.
Yes, I love the to-do lists because they keep me on schedule and help me stay focused, and they are a good thing. And yes, I hate to-do lists at the same time because I can never measure up to completing them and they cause me to feel like a failure when I don't.
Maybe you have the same kind of relationship with lists. Because I think the problem with our lists is that we measure our worth next to them. We measure our worth based on how much we can do and how much we can accomplish. We tell ourselves we're fulfilled if we complete everything we want to, and we convince ourselves that we're not enough if we fall short.
But the thing is, we'll never measure up to the standard the world has set for us, we'll never even measure up to the standard we have set for ourselves, and we certainly won't measure up to the standard God has set for us. We will always come short.
But that's where grace comes in.
And He gives us more than enough.
"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." ~2 Corinthians 12:9
His grace is sufficient to meet our every need, our every weakness, our every inadequacy. For every place where we fall short or don't measure up, His grace covers it.
The world has put us in the mindset that to be loved, to be accepted, we must do more and be more. We must accomplish the most and do, do, do. Yet God teaches the opposite. He did it all so that we could simply rest in what He is giving to us and find our worth in what He thinks and says about us. In Him we are enough and we do not have to strive to reach the measure of perfection that we can never attain. He tells us that to be loved, we must simply accept His gift. To be accepted we must simply choose Him. We don't have to do anything.
When we allow ourselves the freedom to rest in His grace that covers us abundantly, we no longer have to hate those to-do lists that we can never seem to finish. We don't have to hate those lists of dreams or plans that we can never accomplish. Because finishing them doesn't define us or give us our worth. Having that freedom gives you the chance to instead focus on loving Jesus better and doing the next thing He is asking of you, whatever it is.
And if you finish your to-do list at the end of the day, great. If not, that's okay too.
Focus on doing what God has for you and finding freedom in His grace, and the rest will fall into place.
Isabella Morganthal (21) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.