When I have a few days off from work, my mind is full to the brim of all the tasks I could tackle around the house. Tasks that I usually don’t have time to prioritize with a full-time teaching job. Organize the playroom, purge the storage room, hang bulletin boards in the boys’ rooms, finish painting the basement… and so on and so on.
And with time off over the holidays the list grows even longer. Wrap the presents, deliver the neighbor gifts, pack for our trip to Tennessee, try to read Christmas books with the boys and keep the traditions going… and so on and so on.
I had one day off this year between my last day at school and our travel day to see family. That morning, I could barely organize the deluge of thoughts within my head. Which of these tasks among the multitude should I choose? Which was worthy of my one day off??
God whispered a sweet thing to me that morning. It went something like this: rather than focus on the never ending to-do list, take a minute and focus on the things that have already been done. You bought the gifts. You put up the tree… and decorated it! (One year we put up the tree but never had time to decorate it, so let’s celebrate progress!) The laundry is done. (Thanks, John.) The semester is complete. A lot has been completed that I could rest in, and enjoy.
The obvious next step in my conversation with the Lord that morning led me to apply that concept to my spiritual life. So often my mind itches in the back with the “shoulds”: you should be getting up earlier, you should be reading your Bible more, you should be spending more time in quiet prayer. But again, the God of all grace whispered, “Leave off on the shoulds and to-do’s. Focus instead on what has already been done.” Christ’s death in my place. My future secured in heaven. Healing and redemption. So much is completed that I can rest in, and enjoy. In fact, nothing more has to be done at all.
That truth is best gift I received this Christmas. I can put aside the to-do list and rest in what has already been done. Amen to that.