Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Why I Make Lists

I am a list maker. I make lists. And lots of them. I have 3 books that I carry with me everywhere a calendar (yes, I use an old school, hand written calendar), a journal and a miscellaneous notebook. These 3 books are filled with lists. Just some of the lists they contain are my grocery list, a to do list, a to write list, a to read list, a wish list, a to give list, a monthly prayer list, a list of the most influential verses in my life right now, a list of things God has said to and through me this month, and more.

The reason that I write lists is that the writing of lists frees me up to be more present where I am. Lots of things swirl around in my heart and mind constantly. Things I don't want to forget, things I need to be responsible for. These things would constantly swirl around, and when undealt with, I find myself unable to fall asleep at night and frequently distracted as I go about my day due to the massive amount of information floating around in my head.

But when I write these things down I feel the freedom to let go of them in my mind and heart and deal with them later. I don't have to worry about forgetting them and can now focus on what is in front of me, rather than things in the future.

The act of writing lists may not sound or be very spiritual, but it frees my heart and mind up to embrace the present and to embrace God in the present. It is most definitely a spiritual discipline for me.

I find journaling to be the same way at times. I have thoughts and feelings that swirl in my head endlessly but as I put them on paper it helps me to get in touch with the actual feelings and thoughts, to embrace or reject them. To bring truth to them. To have closure with them and move past them. It's like once I process them out on paper I have space to move on, let go, and be present.

As with everything in life, I don't think this is a formula or for everyone. I'm pretty sure there are people who would be stressed out just by the idea of having lots of ongoing lists... these lists would frustrate and frazzle them and put them in bondage. But for me, they bring life and freedom.

So if you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of information you are responsible for I suggest you give it a try and start making one (or some) list(s). And if this brings you stress and not peace, then please stop immediately and tap into what produces order, and peace, and stillness in your own life.

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