Don’t Let Your TO DO List Steal Your JOY This Week

Faith, Gratitude / Monday, July 28th, 2014

One morning last week, I got up early to water our new sod before the daily MN gale force winds began – which blow water away, watering the everything EXCEPT our grass.

Waking to the promise of being sprayed in the face by a sprinkler is not my favorite. I may be sprinkler-challenged.

Wet and disgruntled, I came back inside. I began surveying the mess of toys and clutter and started to make a mental list if tasks.

My TO DO list made, my outlook was dreary. Bleh.

At 7, I heard our daughter calling yelling ‘Mama’. I opened the door, turning on the light in her blacked out room. Blinded, she still greeted me with one BIG, squinty, drooly smile. She is that way, every morning. Without fail.

Giggling as she told me a gibberish story, she grabbed her teddy bear and reached for me to pick her up. I quickly changed her diaper and set her free.

Her immediate response was to run, full speed, belly sticking out, head back and squealing with delight – straight through her older brother’s door.

Her greeting  was hysterical. Cracking up and yelling, she climbed in bed with him. They immediately went about finding something to play. Many giggles and shrieks ensued. Later, when tired or hungry, their play may require a referee – but not in the morning.

In the morning, there is simply JOY.

And, EVERY morning, they are just like this.

Everything is new. They get absurdly excited to eat breakfast. Trucks, Legos, babies, crayons and more are rediscovered, one by one. Our son always wants to know what we’ll do, where we’ll be and who else will be there. Even if just running errands, he is excited to go on an adventure (plus, errands promise snacks).

To them, morning makes everything new.

Thankfully, their joy is infectious. Just the anticipation of their laughter changes my outlook. I am privledged to see their sweet faces each morning unlike my husband who is working by the time they wake. 

As adults, and even teenagers, we lose this sense of wonder with the world and with what each day will hold. Our responsibilities and obligations weigh on us. We wake with a TO DO list playing in our head. Our joy is quickly given over to dread.

Lately, in my time with the Lord, I have been struck by my LACK of morning, and sometimes daily, joy.

I am so often joyful for their faces, but not of my own accord.

Why do they have this joy? Perhaps because they know their needs are provided for – they know they will eat, drink, play and be taken care of. This confidence leaves them free to stop and experience wonder, curiosity, and to just BE.

They aren’t already playing their entire day in their head the moment they wake. They aren’t worrying about what needs to be accomplished.

Adults are responsible to work to provide for our family’s needs, but we forget that our skills, capabilities and much more are GIVEN to us by the one and only Living God.

HE provides for US. EVERYTHING we already have, EVERYTHING we need.

Perhaps if I spend my first moments thanking God for the opportunity to DO all things WELL today, for HIS GLORY, I might see that TO DO list with a little more hope, and a whole lot more JOY. When I spend more time trusting in His provision and doing my best work, I am free to be present, thankful, and JOY-filled, even if it doesn’t look like a giggling, toddler.

I am not saying TO DO lists don’t need to be made. You know that song by the Go-Go’s, “I am the girl of a 100 lists”? That’s me. BUT, I am often guilty of making those lists before I practice being grateful.

 Of this I am certain, that TO DO list doesn’t need to be the first thing I do before getting out of bed.

Before my feet hit the floor today, I focused on gratitude for HIS provision and for HIS mercy. Instead of immediately jumping to pick up the house, I glanced at the mess, and CHOSE to start the day on my knees with the Lord instead of with a TO DO list.

An attitude changing choice – A DAY changer.

This day began with gratitude. That gratitude released an internal, God-given JOY.

Today I greeted our children with my OWN joy.

I’m grateful their carefree and childlike joy is a reminder to approach each day as they do. It is my goal to do so more often.

Take your que from this little sweetie. Set your TO DO list aside.  Just for a moment. Start your days this week with JOY.

Morning Joy
Morning Joy

 Take a deep breath and feel the JOY that follows the experience of true gratitude. Trust me, it’s a great way to begin your day.

Happy Monday!

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