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Taming the List

My garden task list is daunting. There is always more that I can do. I don’t ever get everything done. Sometimes I try… and finish a task by flashlight. Sometimes I’m too tired and ignore the list and its responsibilities. This feast or famine mentality leaves me stressed out and feeling like a failure no matter what I do.

My lifescape is no different. There are days and seasons I try to do it all. There are times that I’m too tired and am content to let everyone down. Either way I end up over stressed and feeling like a failure.


In June, we heard author James Bryan Smith speak at a conference (listen here). He spoke about that overwhelming busy-ness that I recognized in myself. He also reminded me that in this busy-ness, I unintentionally make choices to neglect the things that are truly important, my relationship with God, my own health, and the relationships that are most important to me.

There’s an overwhelming sense of relief in this knowledge… it doesn’t have to be this way. I began to notice the way that my busy-ness overwhelmed my true priorities. I decided to take one day and prioritize my own physical health, my relationship with God, and the relationships that are most important and nourishing to me.

I chose to begin with a weekend day that was supposed to be set aside for rest. A walk first thing in the morning avoids the end of day regret about missing exercise. Planning ahead for simple meals avoids the rush and stress that so often results in quick and unhealthy meals eaten between errands. I plan for a time to rest. This may be a nap or simply quiet time with a book. I plan (and limit) the amount of time that I focus on the work of next week so that work does not overtake this day. The habit of morning and evening prayer with our family orients me back to both God and family relationships. For now it is just one day with a rhythm that I have intentionally set, but I am noticing the ways that I let busy-ness overtake other days and I am seeing ways that an intentional rhythm based on my priorities rather than the demands of others can bring order into chaos.

Perhaps, a garden rhythm can replace my endless task list as well...

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