I love to list things to do, read, or study that will deepen me spiritually. But God keeps showing me it doesn’t work that way. Yet, I am still enticed by my old ways, like a magnet on the refrigerator that displays those lists.
Relationships with the people in my life don’t work through lists either. Whether it is my relationship with God, or relationships with my family or friends or co-workers, I can’t just make a list of how to make the relationships better and then check it off a list.
Or can I? Maybe there IS a way that relationships and my list-making urges can be meshed together.
I have an assortment of new relationships that invaded my life and are under my roof. Suddenly reading, studying, and writing, the places where I find restoration and fulfillment, have taken a back seat. Even as I write this, a child is looking over my shoulder and chatting with me. And I must pause to listen….
I know the others will be awake soon, ages 8, 10, 11, 12, and 15, all an assortment of my own children plus nieces and a nephew who will live here for a yet-to-be-determined length of time, and I’m loving every minute of it! Someday my nest will be empty, but reading and writing will still be there and perhaps then I can indulge. In the meantime, I know God is telling me to not just amend my agenda but to lay it aside on a daily basis and yield to His by being instead of doing.
Yet, I still must make lists! So I am changing the kind of lists that I write. My new lists focus on who I want to be instead of what I want to accomplish. Being instead of doing.
Here is a short list of who I want to be with the relationships of the people who are living under my roof in this season of my life, a list of things I resolve to be:
· Be a good listener by holding my tongue and asking questions instead of giving answers.
· Seek understanding instead of giving advice.
· Do not be irritated or complain about petty things but have a heart of thankfulness.
· Pray on my knees and seek God’s counsel before addressing any conflict.
· Practice mercy, grace, patience, and forgiveness.
· Find the blessings in every day.
God is showing me new things to add to the list on a regular basis. And instead of checking it off and seeing my failures and successes at the end of every day, I am trying to look over the list at the start of each new day to remind myself of how I am supposed to BE. Then God will show me what to do.