To Checklist Or Not To Checklist

According to the Bible, Pharaoh ordered the Israelite slaves to make a certain number of bricks daily. These slaves worked from sunup to sundown and their identity became connected to the number of bricks they were able to produce. As long as they could prove that they met their quota, whatever it was for the day, they were given the opportunity to toil for another day.

In my mind I can see the slave drivers holding a checklist over them and letting them know if they had made the cut based on what they had produced. It seems, and was, so barbaric, but so oddly I find myself doing that to myself very often. I create arbitrary checklists that I start to associate with my success or failure. If I cross everything off of my list, I tell myself good job, but when I don’t, which is often, I find myself getting caught in some intrusive negative self-talk.

What’s funny is that the things on my list are not ever the things that I would tell you I base my worth on. My list never says take care of your children, your grandchild, your husband, and your family. It never says remember to pray or to exercise, things that both fuel me. It says clean out the refrigerator, finish your notes, call the dentist, blah, blah, blah. So why do I determine my worth based on my stupid lists rather than on what I say I value most in my life?

Good question. I think it’s because we are in a world that values productivity very often over what’s really important. It measures success by what we’ve accomplished, rather than who we are. And sometimes I forget what really matters, who really matters, and what defines me.

So last weekend I got the blessing of watching my precious grandchild Lily for the weekend. I had 55 hours with her, and they were amazing. We smelled flowers, we fed chickens, we lined up toys, I read the same book 100 times, and sang the same song 200. I didn’t empty my dish washer. I didn’t write a single note. And I didn’t make calls other than when she napped. And it was the most productive weekend of my life. Because that little girl knows how much I love her. She reaches out her little hands as soon as she sees me and smiles a smile that literally buckles my knees.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about organization and I do love my lists. But I am going to work on putting some extras on the top of it going forward.

1-Remember who you are Linda and what and who really matter to you

2-Remember who is in full control Linda and it is definitely not you

3-Remember that the completion of today’s list Linda does not define you

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