Do you ever feel like life has become a series of To-Do lists! As you tick off one job, you realise you must add another. So that list doesn’t necessarily keep getting longer it simply maintains itself in an endless loop of expectations and tasks. Like the ancient symbol ouroboros, the snake that keeps eating its own tail.
Now, please don’t read me totally wrong. There is something immensely satisfying about ticking off that box. Lists are tremendously helpful and being organised is a wonderful state of being! Whether the task is big or small, that kick of Dopamine when you check off another little box motivates you to move on to the next one … and on and on and on we go. This constant load is the issue however, when does it stop? Even in the festive holiday season, the To-Do list doesn’t get shorter; it gets longer! Presents – check. Decorations – check. Plan time in dairy with relatives – check. Buy food – check. Prepare food – check. I bet you’re mentally adding to this list as you read.
Surely, there’s more to life than performing one task before working on the next one? Doesn’t this kind of life lead to burnout and struggle? Where’s the moment to pause, think, and take life in? Recently, my wife replied to a post on Facebook posted by one of our friends with small children. She had posted a photo with the caption, “I don’t think I honestly realised how quickly the days, weeks, months and years would go raising little ones. I feel like I’ve blinked and suddenly have this little girl whose brain functions quicker than I can keep up with. She’s full of empathy, compassion and joy and astounds us every day with the knowledge she soaks up from the world around her. Today, for the first time in a long time, it was just me and her for 1 whole, precious hour. We ate croissants and talked about caravans, and it was perfect.” Kathi replied with this, “It really does go so fast, you blink and then your oldest is 17! You have to enjoy all the moments because it’s the moments you remember and being present in the moments makes time slow down just a little! x”
I think that being present in the moment is wise advice. But we can only be present in the moment when we’re not thinking of the next. When we’re not thinking of the next task we need to get done.
When might you be able to put down that list, be present in the moment, and give thought to what you have right there and then? Maybe taking time to do this will help stop many people from burning out?
We’re told in the Bible that Jesus is the best person to spend some time with in these moments. He can take away our burdens, take away our troubles, take away our ‘busy brain’.
Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. The Bible also tells us that those who “wait on the Lord will find new strength, They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
So my challenge to you, dear reader, and most certainly to myself, is to not remain addicted to the To-Do list, these things are good in small doses, but they shouldn’t take over your life. Instead, make at least one moment of peace happen this coming week. Go take a walk, turn off the TV, put the smartphone away.
Be in the moment, be with Jesus and see what happens.