Girlfriends in God - Aug. 13, 2010

August 13, 2010 

The To-Do List Abyss
Gwen Smith  

Today's Truth 
Proverbs 31:17 (NIV) "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."

Friend To Friend 
Many of us check off neatly penciled boxes. Some draw lines through the tasks we've finished. A select few of us even add tasks that we've already completed to our list so that we've got accurate accomplishment records at the end of the day! (Present company included!) J Some of us keep track of what we need to do each day in our heads, while others track progress of daily goals electronically.

There are days I fluff up my list. Instead of simply writing, "Do three loads of laundry," I'll create twelve list items to check off that read:

·         Wash whites 

·         Dry whites 

·         Fold/hang whites 

·         Put away whites 

·         Wash colors 

·         Dry colors 

·         Fold/hang colors 

·         Put away colors 

·         Wash darks 

·         Dry darks 

·         Fold/hang darks 

·         Put away darks

Oh, how I love to check boxes! Why? I want to be productive woman. I want my work to matter. It's pretty much a daily struggle for me. As an eternal optimist, I wake up anticipating that the seconds, minutes, and hours of each day will bend to cooperate with the demands of my list.

Yeah, right.

I'm such a dreamer. It just never seems to work out that simply or efficiently.

I'm guessing that you are in this daily struggle with me. Right? No matter what it looks like, thinks like, or prints off like, many of us feel overwhelmed by the abyss of a rarely satisfied to-do list. We face constant demands that call to us and vie for our attention. We sift through the essentials and the fire drills, then we go to bed, wake up, and do it all again. The abyss of a to-do list can be so exhausting!

The good news is that we don't need to face our lists alone. God offers to come along side of us daily to provide the strength, perspective, and wisdom we need. In the Bible, we read of a woman who approached each day with God-power and God-perspective:

"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks" (Proverbs 31:17, NIV).

Though this is an impressive statement about her work ethic and though it seems this fictional woman dominates her daily to-do list, it's important to consider the source of her strength: God. At the end of the chapter, Scripture shows us that she "...fears the Lord..." (Proverbs 31:30, NIV). Her source of strength is rooted in faith and in her dependence on God. Ours should be, too.

Your list looks different from mine. We all have unique ministries, friendships, jobs, responsibilities, and families. Whether you are in the work force, unemployed, or retired or a stay-at-home mom, a single mom, or an empty nester - a wife, a widow, a single woman, or a divorcee - God can and will give you strength for each day when you prioritize Him and fear Him.

Consider the following verses:

"Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" (Galatians 3:3, NIV).

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV).

God longs to strengthen your arms for the tasks on your to-do list today. Place time with Him as your first priority. Check your God-box. Go to Him now. Pray. Listen. Call on Him for direction, wisdom, renewal, and strength. Strong arms await you, girlfriend!

Let's Pray 
God, I was created by You and for You. Please forgive me when I rush into a day without calling on You for my strength. I need you, Lord. Please prioritize my heart and my list today.

In Jesus' Name I pray, 

Now It's Your Turn 
Read Proverbs 31:25-26: "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."

How closely do you relate to the above verse?

What steps need to be taken in your life to move toward a deeper dependence on God's strength verses your own? Are you willing to go there? Take a moment to talk to God about it.

More From The Girlfriends 
Hey friend, God is all over me about this subject right now. His Spirit is constantly reminding me of the importance of operating in God-strength and not Gwen-strength. I'd love to hear stories from you about where you are with this. Come to my Facebook page so we can chat more:

NEED HEALING for some heart wounds? Got a friend going through a difficult time? Gwen's book, Broken Into Beautiful, takes the reader by the hand and shows her how God delights to transform lives. To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, go to Gwen's website:

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Matthews, NC 28106

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Originally published Friday, 13 August 2010.