Day 3 – To Do Lists

Well I figured I should give an update on how things are going this week as it relates to my time at home and Jimmy being gone. It’s actually been wonderful! I feel joyful, peaceful, not lonely, and excited about my days. It’s amazing what some basic intentionality will do! Jimmy and I have talked a few times and each time has been really good. We are starting to figure out the best times for us to connect during the day and getting into a rhythm of what to expect this next week or so. It sounds like Denmark is beautiful, and though I wish I could be there, I am trying to be grateful for what I have here. Right now, I am most grateful for some cooler weather! It gets quite hot down here in Texas, but we’ve had our first cold front the last few days (which means lows in the 60s) so it’s been great! I have also stayed quite busy (which I try to do while Jimmy’s gone), thus my posts are coming out late at night. But to those of you who are following along and praying along, thanks for being patient!

Tonight I had dinner with God. After coming home from work, I sat down to eat my much desired PB&J and asked God what was in my heart that needed to be cleaned out. The very first thing to come to my mind was to do lists.

If you don’t know this about me, I LOVE to do lists! Jimmy makes fun of me for it. Actually, as I write this blog, there are 2 lists on post-it notes on my laptop right now! Part of the reason I love my lists is because it helps me remember things I would normally forget. The other reason I love lists is because I get to see how productive I have been.

Unfortunately though, I tend to make productivity an idol. I have dealt with this in the past, and this is often what keeps me from having set-apart time with God. It’s just so hard for me to sit down to talk to God because there is so much else to do!

As I continued to dialogue with God about this, the story of Mary and Martha rose to my attention. Luke 10 describes Martha as “distracted with much service” and Mary as “sitting at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.” Martha even scolds Jesus for not telling Mary to stop sitting at His feet and help her! And Jesus responds to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part.”

I repent for having a Martha heart and bowing down to the idol of productivity.

Unfortunately, my attitude is often the same as Martha’s. There’s too much to do to simply sit at Jesus’ feet! And the reason it is hard for me at times to sit with Jesus is it doesn’t seem “productive.” There isn’t necessarily anything being accomplished. Nothing being crossed off my to do list. And there’s always so much to do! So today, I feel as though these words just jumped off the page to me: “Kelly, Kelly, you are worried and bothered about so many things… but only one thing is necessary…”

I have become addicted to productivity because I think productivity equals success. If I got a lot done, it was a successful day, right? What if God defines success differently… what if sitting at His feet all day accomplishing nothing else is success? I pray that I will learn to define success by how obedient I was to God each day, even if that means not accomplishing a single thing on my to do list.

Only one thing is necessary! There is always more to do. It never ends. But He is more important. May I not just give Him the leftovers of my day, but make my times with Him a priority. Because “nothing compares to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things.” (Phil 3:7-9)


  1. Yuliya

    Myyyy word, this is exactly me! I am literally disappointed with myself if my calendar doesn’t have a nice list of crossed off thing. Because to me, time is a gift. Life is short. I want to be as efficient with my time as I can possibly. Therefore I have crazy to do lists, a planner, and far too many times this list has taken a higher priority than reading my Bible or praying daily.

    And with God, you can’t just schedule time to spend with Him like I can everyone else (for the most part). Far too often what was supposed to be a 20 minute Bible reading, turns into an hour long Devo, prayer, Bible reading. Although I am very grateful when God reveals things to me and shows me what’s in my heart… I get frustrated afterwards because everything else on my list of to-dos has to get pushed down.

    God should be my first priority over everything else, no matter what. Thank you for writing this post. I guess I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I love the idea of measuring the success of my day not by MY lists and demands, but by my obedience to God’s list and demands. It is definitely something I need to change.

  2. Myieh

    Thank you. 100% me. Now I am excited to make proper life changes. (:

  3. Sarah

    Wow, I have been having the very same problem in my life. I am a college kid, trying to balance school, a normal social life, part time job, and a ton of church responsibilities in a just starting out, growing church. I Love to-do lists, my best friend often teases me calling me Martha and talking about how I never stop working.

    When I listened to a Mark Driscoll podcast about Mary and Martha, it brought this problem in my life to the surface. I prayed about it, gave it to God and stopped making to do lists, started having “Mary days with Martha moments.” God is good, I am less stressed out, not as tired, and more productive and joyful in all that I do.

    What you described in your blog is exactly what was going on in my life, thank you:)

  4. […] Day 3 was about “To-Do Lists” and mine is about schedules. Plans.  Expectations.  As I reflected on the list of things […]

  5. David M (Australia)

    these lyrics come to mind… “maybe success is measured best by nothing less than our obedience” 🙂

    1. Great lyrics! 😉 We are both trying to live that every day.

  6. i, too, am a servant to productivity. as i read this, i shamefully glanced over to my monthly meal plan and thought of how much time it took me to prepare that, and the freezer plan that goes along with it, and the grocery list for the month…
    i justify these things by saying that after this first part is done, i’ll have more time. more time for god, more time for my husband, more time to relax. but something always comes up. another list.
    wonderful post. thanks.

  7. wow, kel, very convicting post! thanks for sharing and writing. i make productivity my idol constantly.

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