Is Your To-Do List an Idol?

to do list 2If you’ve been around me very long—say more than ten minutes—you know I have this tendency to be somewhat organized. More accurately, I tend to be super-organized.

At times, it seems like I’ve added an eleventh commandment: Thou shalt be organized.

I’ve written blogs and taught classes on managing our time, our emails, and our physical spaces. All in the name of making us more efficient.

Even my day off has a to-do list: 9:00 a.m. read new novel; 10:00 a.m. watch movie I recorded. It may not be written down. That would be weird. But it is ticking away in my head.

But being organized is both a blessing and a curse.

All too often, checking things off my list becomes more important than anything else. Interruptions are welcomed with grumpiness bordering on outright snarls and barks. If things are still on the list at the end of the day, I must have messed up somewhere.

Relationships suffer as I get more focused on my list and schedule than the people in my life.

Recently, in my prayer time, I came across a devotion that read in part, “Give up the idea that I can have an uncluttered world and a simplified lifestyle.” It admonished me to accept each day as it comes and trust God to be in the midst of it all.

I realized that, way too often, my to-do list becomes an idol. I’m applying the lesson that I can’t control or fix everything around me. It is impossible. I’m striving to let God guide me moment by moment. I’m not there yet but I’m closer than I was.


Proverbs 3:6 (NLT) reminds me to seek his will in all I do, and he will show me which path to take.

So now I start each day submitting my to-do list to him and letting him set the priorities. Like a manuscript, I’m very much a work in progress, but each day is better than the one before.

How about you? Is your to-do list or some other part of your life an idol? What can you do to correct it?

2 Responses to Is Your To-Do List an Idol?

  1. Lisa August 3, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    Good words. Lists are great and help keep us focused, but they can’t rule our days. The unexpected happens. I tend to underestimate the time it takes for some tasks and then that list becomes a frustration. Like much of life, I have to submit my plan to the Lord – even my listed plan.

    I love how He sometimes laughs at our plans and then flips our lives upside down. ? Thanks for the reminder not to let our list be a god.

  2. Henry August 3, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I’m glad we can appreciate God’s sense of humor as he reminds us to submit all our plans to him.

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