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Lose the list … and see what happens

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Charles B. Ming Onn | Shutterstock

Laura Phelps - published on 08/18/23

God is not looking for how much I get done!

I am a list maker. Before I can sit to pray, I must get everything out of my head and onto a list. Distraction surrounds me, and the only way to quiet my monkey mind is to put it all on paper, organize the “must-dos,” and circle the “not yet dones.” The list needs to happen for my day to run smoothly and for life to feel purposeful. Then, when the night creeps in, my head can hit the pillow in peace as I recount everything I crossed off my list.

The list is a lie.

God is not looking for how much I get done but how well I love. And I know this. I work in women’s ministry. I speak to women all over the country preaching this message. And yet, I struggle to believe it; sure, for you, this is true. But for someone like me? Oh no. I have fallen from grace one too many times. Indeed, I need to earn God’s love. I need to hustle and strive if I want my name to be on God’s list

This list of mine isn’t reserved for household chores, kids’ appointments, or work-related tasks. Holy things have found their way to this list, as well. Things like praying the rosary, reading The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I’m still not sure how to pray the Little Office. Asking a priest for help is on my list), and consuming two more chapters of whatever spiritual book I ordered two days ago and Amazon Prime has miraculously delivered. It’s good things like getting to daily Mass and don’t forget to do a good exam, and is there a novena I am missing?

Holiness, like the dentist, is scheduled and often painful.

Spiritual Direction is also on my list, and do you want to know what my Spiritual Director had the nerve to tell me? “The list doesn’t matter.” I have been instructed to lose my list. Losing a limb sounds far easier. Instead of waking up and writing down everything I think I need to do to win God’s love, I simply need to sit and be with Him. 

I’m only three days in; surprisingly, I am not dead. As soon as I stopped writing what I thought God needed me to do, I could hear what He had always longed for — just me, in all of my brokenness, quiet and still, and being.

~

This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

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Spiritual LifeThe Human Being Fully Alive
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