The ‘almighty’ checklist

Homeschooling this year has been a definite change from the way we used to roll. I have to confess that not having a specific curriculum with a checklist has led me to…well…create my own checklists.

I get anxious and twitchy when I suspect my daughter isn’t working at a time that I think she should be working. A checklist (sort-of) makes all that stress go away. I say “sort-off” because in this house the only one who really uses checklists is me. My hubby’s lists are more like five-year plans (because he has so much to do he can’t possibly do it all). My daughter regards her list as a general guideline and suffers from the homeschooler’s inability to understand the concept of true deadlines. But MY lists are gospel. In fact, if I have something to do on a list, I’ll (usually) forgo doing fun activities until all my work is done, even if that means I-never-actually-get-to-the-fun-part. Which prompted my daughter to opine that she never wants to get married or have children because then she’d never have a life.

Ouch. Do I have a life that is mine, to the exclusion of all else, when I do what I want to do just for the fun of it?

Not really.  But I do take on a lot of extra responsibilities that eat up “fun” time.  Such as serving as a judge coordinator for two upcoming NCFCA speech and debate tournaments. Duties where I set impossibly high standards for myself to the detriment of my health, my sanity, my household, and sometimes even my faith. Because dadgumit, I want to do an exceptional job at whatever it is that I do. Because I’m a hard worker and I want people to like me. I want God to be proud of me, too…but deep down I really want to do whatever I can to make things run smoother/better the to the best of MY ability.

Let’s not all stand around and clap for me. This tendency to overdo is a symptom of a very ugly sin called pride. There’s a reason the Lord hates pride — it interferes with our reliance on him.

So…yea. Right now I have no “fun” in my life. Instead I have a checklist. This is today’s check-list:

  • Make breakfast (check)
  • Read scripture with family (check)
  • Clean kitchen (not yet)
  • Email club coordinators an update and encouragement on recruiting more judges (check)
  • Email judge greeter team with a tentative schedule and breakdown of duties at tournament (check)
  • Write a blog (half-check)
  • Take care of administrative issues with the judges who’ve asked to be taken out of rounds or added to rounds (check)
  • Run a report of the judge numbers (for the above-mentioned emails) (check)
  • Email my speech/debate club with information about the upcoming tournament (check)
  • Make a flyer about open house for our club (not yet)
  • Three loads of laundry (not yet)
  • Phone call at 9pm regarding upcoming tournament (not yet)
  • Apply oils to husband’s infected surgical wound every 2 hours (in process)
  • Discuss upcoming week with daughter and make a schoolwork checklist (check)
  • Make lunch (check)
  • Make dinner (check — for everyone except me)
  • Mix mineral salts with oil for husband to soak his wound (not yet)

No wonder I feel so tired!

Is that such a bad thing, that I don’t have a life?

if you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Isaiah 58:10-12

and this —

35 For whoever would save his life[d] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Mark 8:35

There’s the hitch.  Am I losing my life for the sake of Jesus, and pouring myself out for the hungry and afflicted? Or am I losing my life for the sake of….my own selfish pride?

Why do I do what I do?

I don’t know about you, but I want these things that are promised to those who pour themselves out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted!

  • the Lord guiding me continually
  • the Lord satisfying my desire in scorched places
  • strong bones
  • to be like a watered garden, a spring of water whose waters don’t fail
  • to be like ancient ruins that are rebuilt (not sure about the ancient analogy!)
  • to raise up foundations of many generations
  • to be a repairer of the breach
  • to be a restorer of streets

But right now my bones don’t feel so strong, and I’m feeling a bit scorched around the edges. I need the Living Water to wash over me, to rebuild these ruins so I can do my part to raise up foundations of many generations.

Do you remember the hymn, Rivers of Living Water? I took a quick detour on the way to the grocery store the other day because I wanted to get a picture of the creek near my house with all the snow. I was amazed and refreshed to find this:


Rivers of living water,
Rivers of life so free,
Flowing from Thee, my Savior,
Send now the rivers through me.

Cleanse me, oh, cleanse me, my Savior,
Make me a channel today;
Empty me, fill me and use me,
Teach me to trust and obey.

Then, and then only, Lord Jesus,
Through me the rivers can flow;
Thus and thus only will others
Learn Thy great fulness to know.

Now I surrender to Jesus,
Here I lay all at His feet;
Anything, anywhere only,
Just for His service made meet!

May the Lord bless the work of my hands and the hands of all those who put time and effort into the tournament this next week — may He be glorified through our work — whether we choose to use a checklist, or not.

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