Monday, February 7, 2011

To-Do Lists

Last week I was real busy.  I finally got around to cleaning off the back patio.  It was piled with junk - boxes, old furniture, dried leaves, etc.  I discarded the junk, swept it clean and stacked what was remaining. 

Next, I tackled my garage.  Same thing in there - got rid of some trash, organized what was left (still a lot of stuff, I'm afraid) and swept the floor clean.

I went through the house and dealt with a lot of small DIY projects that I've been putting off for a while.  You know the ones - switchplate covers that never got back on,  wobbly screws in the bathroom hooks, even a couple buttons sewed on some clothes that were in a pile in the corner of my room.

I even tackled my son's room!  His bedroom got the once-over, more like the twice-over, that it's been needing for quite some time now.  Every Nerf bullet, LEGO piece, Star Wars figure and video game cable is in it's appropriate bin.

It was a productive week.  Of course, as in any household, the items on the to-do list seem to grow faster than I can check them off, but overall, I was pretty satisfied with what I accomplished.  Except for one small thing...

My busyness has been avoidance.  I've been keeping myself busy to avoid what I really felt I should be doing.

Have you ever done this before, or is it just me? 

Every day, when I wake up, I have this nagging feeling (conscience?) of what I really should be dealing with,  what I really ought to be doing.  The only way to really quiet my conscience is to get busy.  So... my house got cleaned in the process. 

I've been arguing with myself that my cleaning frenzy is way better than drowning that voice with a bottle of whiskey, a dozen donuts or just being plain old lazy - after all, look at what I accomplished.  I'm getting things done (picture a pat-on-the-back here)!

So, day after day, I have been pushing my 'should-do' list further and further back in my mind and replacing it with the trivial 'to-dos'.  Every time I accomplished something else, or I would hear someone say,  "The house looks great!" that little voice would get a bit quieter.

Until today.

Tonight is my ladies book club night and we're ready Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  So far the book has been good and I've enjoyed it, but today I read Chapter 4.  It's a powerful chapter entitled "Profile of the Lukewarm".  The whole chapter is challenging but one small sentence hit me like a brick.

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins"
James 4:17

This is how it reads in the New International Version,

"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them."


I'm still reeling.  I'm sure there is a large lump forming right between my eyes where that brick hit.  This is how that verse reads in Karen's Abridged Version (KAV), "If Karen knows the good she should do and doesn't do it,  it is sin for Karen." 

This has nothing to do with you or anyone else.  I can't rank myself on a scale of goodness and feel proud of how good I am 'compared to' anyone else.  I know what I should be doing.  I'm not doing it.  It is sin for me.

I really wish I hadn't read Chapter 4 - of Crazy Love or of James.  They both annoyed me and hurt my feelings at first.  They made me uncomfortable and made me stop and think.  Arrrggh!  I'm too busy to be uncomfortable or to be thinking this hard!

I still have a dishwasher to unload and reload, clothes to wash, toilets to clean, weeds to get the picture.

But, I did read them both.  So,  now I have a choice.  I can continue to ignore "the good I ought to do" or get cracking and start living the life I am meant to live.

This is the weird part - there are days that "the good I ought to do" is cleaning toilets and doing laundry.  It is a vital part of my life and crucial to keeping this family running.  But there are days when those things are fillers, days that I need to let the dishes sit in the sink, or ignore the laundry and attend to those things that are more important. 

Today, I felt like this post was on my list of things I should be doing.  It is hard being vulnerable and revealing myself and my flaws on a regular basis but today I'm getting to the nitty-gritty.  Most of the things on my critical 'should-do' list are personal, between me and God. 

I know he loves me in spite of my sin, but I want to show him how much I love him by obeying him and listening to his voice, not ignoring it and filling my days with my own agenda.  So, this post is dedicated to the One I love.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment."
(Matt. 22:37-38)


  1. That verse in Matthew... I've been studying it for a few weeks. That's what prompted my post about my brains, been thinking about loving God with my mind. Great reflexions, Karen. Sounds like you do well in your daily rhythms. I can be a bit on the lazy side and it's a demon I need to defeat before I'm 50. I can learn new tricks!

  2. Chrissie StevensonMarch 7, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    Love, love, love the book 'Crazy Love' and so can relate to your post.
    Thanks Karen for being transparent we ALL get caught in this trap.
    God bless,