It’s official – I am drowning in a sea of lists… In the past week I’ve flown to England (sorry there was no postcard last week!) and am now getting ready for camping with the family and preparing my son for a trip to Africa. Packing for a six week trip in a country which has unpredictable weather always stresses me out a bit, and I always get it wrong (too many pairs of shorts, not enough cardigans..) and the camping/vaccinations/visas are pushing me slightly over the edge 🙂
One way I try to keep that stress under control is to write lists.. Lots and lots and lots of lists.
I have lists of clothes, of medications, of jobs I have to do before I leave, of items that need a charger, things I need to tell my husband, emails I need to write and pictures I want to paint. All of them scribbled on the backs of till receipts and envelopes, mostly never to be read again. Lists are slightly taking over my life.
My husband, who has a much more orderly mind than mine, just can’t understand why I write so many lists (especially as I tend not to read them again). But I find the process of writing them really helpful for three reasons:
Firstly, it helps me to prioritise; to focus on those things that need doing.
Secondly, it changes my perspective, and changes my heart (so that I calm down and panic less!)
Thirdly, it actually helps me to remember, to bring to the front of my mind all the things I need to remember.
The lists which are collecting on the fridge and in the bottom of my handbag and back pages of my sketchbooks remind me of a list I’ve been writing recently, and which is important for all the reasons above: a thanks list.
A friend challenged me a while ago to write a list of everything I have to be thankful to God for. I’ve been working on it for a while and as you can imagine it’s turning into something of an epic.
Strangely, just like I don’t really realise how many jobs there are to do until I start writing the list, so I didn’t realise just how many reasons I have to be thankful to God until I started to write them down.
More importantly, I can feel it changing my heart. Writing the never-ending list is pushing me deeper and deeper into a sense of ‘I have’ instead of ‘I need’. And even though I’m really only at the beginning of this particular journey, I’m experiencing a wonderful unfolding revelation of what it means to say that God is my provider.
So this week’s postcard is simply an encouragement to write lists:
a list of prayers you’ve seen answered
a list of all the people you love
of all the good books you’ve read
all the ways God has provided for you financially
all the positive influences in your life
all the spiritual blessings that are yours in Christ
all the material things you take for granted
all the necessities and all the luxuries
all the songs you love
all the paintings that have lifted your heart
all the things that make you smile
and all the best moments in your life that you can remember…*
*if you have any more ideas for sub-lists of things to be thankful for, put them in the comments!