Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Compulsive Listing

I love lists. Writing them, organizing them, checking them off {I smile just thinking about checking a box}.

What? No one is surprised?

Actually, I love lists because I'm not naturally organized. I'm a habitual forgetter - drove my mom nuts. When I can't do anything, I remember, then forget when I could. This causes great anxiety because my forgetfulness always lets someone down, usually DH.

But once a task is on the list, it's as good as done. No more forgetting. It's in black and white on Evernote, so computer and phone and even DH can remind me to get it done.
When I sit down in the morning to read and pray, my mind spins with what I need to do, when I have time to do it, what order, what priority. I want to start my list. Then I won't have to think about it any more. I can focus:

God, let me get my stuff in order, then we can talk. Just let me schedule my day, then you can have my full attention.

That sounds so reasonable. 5, maybe 10 minutes to order my tasks and clear my mind before I spend time with God. But it never works. Now I am distracted by the list. Did I forget to add something? Should I plan the rest of the week too? Did I leave room for blogging and cleaning and playing with the girls?

Monday, I went to make my list. So much going on: 2 baby showers, play dates, doctor's visits, small group party, worship practice, bills... even as I type, I'm remembering things I haven't taken care of yet. Starting the list was overwhelming. I felt my heart rate quicken with anxiety, deep, I'm-never-going-to-get-ahead, I'm-going-to-fail-someone-I-love anxiety.

The message read: An internal database error has occurred that prevents Evernote from functioning properly.  If the problem persists, please contact Evernote Support. Which really says: You cannot access your list by any device on the planet at this moment. But don't worry, we'll fix it. I'm about to stomp feet and reach for an archaic pen and paper, irritated that I will have to lug a physical list around when,

It will all be there when we're done.

Huh? Lord, you can't be serious. You know I'll forget. Yes, I'm throwing the baby shower, and the fabric is all over the dining room table, but I can still forget.

It will all be there when we're done. Trust me.

Time to lay out my anxieties before the throne, trust that my heavenly Father knows what I need before I ask. Isn't that what I've been learning in the Sermon on the Mount:

Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?... Therefore do not be anxious, saying "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:27, 31-34

Is the anxiety adding one hour to my span of life? Is any of the work done because I wrote it on a list? Or is the list making one more human grasp at control? Is my insistent ordering the product of an untrusting heart?

I didn't delete the evernote app. In fact, "they" fixed the database problem, and my list is uploaded, accessible by phone and computer. The list isn't the issue.

My anxiety and insistence, my disordered priorities keep me from quiet worship before the throne of God, keep my prayers from praise and keep my focus on the list I have for God - fix, fix and heal, Lord. You know how shockingly busy we both are.

I'm reminded of a Veggie Tales skit, a parody of the Good Samaritan, in which the doctor and mayor of Flibber-o-loo are "too busy" to help their townsman, robbed and stuck upside down in a hole. They sing and dance about their lists, while all of the blood rushes to the poor cucumber's head.

I spend a lot of time whirling around, much, much too busy for God. Much, much too busy with stuff that will still be there.

Thank you, Lord for your word that calls me out of my anxious drivel. When I walk, it leads me; when I lie down, it watches over me; and when I awake, it talks with me. For the commandment is a lamp and teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life. Proverbs 6:22-23

You might have guessed it, but all the stuff on my list was still there when we were done.

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