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The Mighty Checklist

So, thanksgiving has come and gone. Mine was good; I hope yours was, too.

I've noticed, though, how quickly I jump ahead to the next event in my life. Well, let's see: of course, there's Christmas approaching all-too-rapidly, and a couple of services I'm putting together before that. Not to mention that Thanksgiving day was also my half birthday...meaning I have just under six months now before I turn the big 3-0.

"Well, geez, before I turn thirty, I really ought to ____!"

I thought it would be fun to create a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30, and 30 things to do once I turn 30, you know, to sort of take the sting out of it. But now I'm finding that it just feels like a lot of pressure. First I have to come up with thirty things. Than I have to do them! Along with everything else in my life, which already sort of feels like a giant checklist.

And how did that happen? I used to see life as a journey, an adventure. Now it's a list?!? That's no fun. And worse, it's not true. Life is about more than getting things done--and Christians should know that most of all.

Sometimes things don't happen on our own time. Some of the things I'd be tempted to put on my "before 30" list are things that...for some reason, God hasn't allowed to happen to me yet. And the weird thing is, most of the time, I'm okay with it! It's only when I think about how a new year is fast approaching that I get antsy. feel like I'm on a deadline, at least in the eyes of the world.

Don't get me wrong. There are some things I thought of that I do have some control over, that if I'm not careful, I'll wake up one day and be 80 and still saying, "I always wanted to ____." And what better time to do that then NOW? But if I'm not careful, I let it spill over into other areas of my life, which I don't ultimately control. And then I just end up feeling resentful that certain areas of my life are not where I thought I'd be at thirty. When most of the time, it doesn't bother me.

Life is not about a checklist. Checklists won't save me. Life IS a journey. It's about our relationships and the choices we make.

I recently picked up "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis again--just randomly glanced though it. (I love that book, and I just love the way he writes. For me, it's like sitting down with a dear old friend who is sensible and comfortable and brilliant. And just listening. Over tea--or perhaps a pint.) He talks about how Christianity is not meant to just make us nicer people but that it is a transformation, not of our own doing, into Christ. And that our choices either bring us closer or take us farther away from that completion.

I would dearly love to hold onto this perspective shift, to stop looking at life as a giant checklist that needs to be conquered. O, Lord, help me hold on--help me remember that it is about so much more. Just as you've faithfully reminded me this time. Life is about living abundantly, abiding in Christ. And when I remember that, I don't worry so much bout deadlines.

1 comment:

Grace DeWitt said...

Checklists don't work well for me either. Your "perspective shift" idea is probably the best approach. But writing down a few things you want to do in your lifetime doesn't have to be unadventurous. Think of A Walk to Remember, she had some very adventurous dreams and I'm sure you do to. :)