I am without a doubt, a list kind of person… just ask my husband. Many of you can relate to this: that sense of accomplishment when you can cross something off a list. At times I am even guilty of writing down something that I have already done onto one of my multiple lists just to cross it off right away.
It might be a little overkill how many lists I actually have: one at work for work tasks, a bucket list of all the places I want to go or things I want to do, a list for books I want to read, movies I want to see, and that doesn’t even count the lists I have constantly going on in my head: what I will do with the rest of my time at work, what will I do with my evening when I get home, what the weekend looks like, what we have on the calendar for the rest of the month…what can I say? I’m an organized, task driven person!
But recently I’ve gotten to where it is difficult for me to switch off that part of my brain that keeps going over and over my mental lists to the point where I can’t fall asleep right away. Or I’ll wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, and my mind starts whirling through what I need to do that day …so much that I’m ready to go at 5:00 in the morning. I’ve realized how obsessive I have become. You know how sometimes God will impress a certain Scripture on your heart? Well just this past week He said to me in His still, small voice, “Ashley, be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It struck me in that moment how much I had been focusing on getting my tasks done that I had forgotten why I was even doing them. In another version of the same verse it says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” I had been striving way too hard. Life shouldn’t be one long checklist because it takes the joy out of everything. That’s how it was getting with my leisure reading or even playing a board game with my husband. God was reminding me that I needed to stop and smell the roses.
When I get to heaven God isn’t going to be impressed with how many books I read, how many countries I visited during my lifetime or how effective I was at my day job. These are not the things that will cause Him to say to me, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” He will ask me how I invested in the people in my life, not the things or tasks in my life. The life He gives was meant to be lived to the fullest in Him, loving on people in my sphere of influence. God wanted to teach me that I needed to still my anxious heart and rest in Him.