Sunday, June 22, 2014

The listmaker

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O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  – Psalm 63:1

It’s been two years since my daughter, Jaime, and her family drove from South Carolina for an extended family visit. So this mama and grandma got in gear weeks ago, making my all-important lists: housecleaning lists, grocery lists, lists of deadlines and other writing-related work that needed to be completed before and during her stay.
My plan was to have only one list while she’s here, with only one item: “enjoy the chaos and the fun.”
In the rush to get everything done, I skipped my daily quiet time. I gulped my morning hot tea as I flit from chore to chore. It was iced tea by the time I finished it.
But the more I crossed off my lists, the more frenzied I became. Whatever happened to my “slow down, pace myself, and enjoy life” philosophy?
It was gone with an earthquake, wind, and fire of my own making.
“I miss you, God,” I whispered one morning, ignoring the urge to grab my Bible and my cup of tea and head to the back deck. – to leave behind the list of devotional readings and prayer lists so it would be just me and God.
But I couldn’t.
Lists – do they serve me – or do I serve them?
Jesus was crazy busy too. But the Son of God took time out to go on a mountain or to a quiet place like a garden before the crowds showed up, before the disciples stirred from their beds on the ground, before the world awakened. He took no devotional books with Him, not even scroll of Scripture. It was just Jesus and God. In communion with each other. Talking and listening.
Why do I think I need anything more than me when I approach God?
Because I feel naked without my lists. I hide from Him behind my Scripture reading for the day, behind the devotionals written by others, behind the lists of prayer requests. I rush through the readings, checking them off the quiet time list so I can get to that all-important work list.
I can face the earthquake, the wind, and the fire, but I’m afraid of the whisper.
But I feel empty. It’s like gulping a cup of tea without taking time to savor its essence and inhale its aroma. Or shoving food in my mouth and swallowing without tasting each unique flavor that begs to be enjoyed.
My friend Kathy Bolduc takes her Bible, her journal, and her cup of tea to a place where she can be alone and observe God in creation around her. Then she reads a portion of Scripture slowly, savoring every word, meditating on God’s message and how it applies to her.
If a hectic schedule or fatigue causes her to miss a day, she doesn’t have the stress of a catch-up list. She simply meets with the God who is waiting for her.
He’s waiting for me, too.
Give me the courage to shed the lists that I hide behind, Lord. Only then will I hear Your whisper. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read Psalm 63:1–8; 1 Kings 19:8–13


  1. Ah yes, Michele. I can be a slave to my lists too. I like your reminder in this blog. Today when I woke up I felt anxious about a project I'm working on. But when I settled into prayer and worship music and relaxed my spirit, I noticed my serenity returned and I could do my work by God's grace.

  2. This is so beautiful! Your words are a reminder to simply enjoy God--something that so often gets lost in the hectic busyness of the day. Thank you!