Ah, Edwina Cowgill is my kind of gal. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’m a list-making addict. This isn’t always a bad thing. To the contrary–most days it’s a good thing. But it isn’t full-proof. I’ve taken more detours and round-abouts than I care to admit, have embarked on many a failed journey only to do an about face. Yet despite my sometimes faulty plans and my myriad of mistakes, God *will* perfect that which concerns me. Resting in this knowledge, I’m free to continue forward, knowing God will redirect me as necessary.
Today, Edwina Cowgill shares her thoughts on list-making and God’s list-changing.
My Lists, My Calendars, My God by Edwina Cowgill
I belong to a local nonfiction writers group that meets the first and third Monday evening of each month. We’ve met at various places and recently we met at my house. The goal of each meeting is to write, write, and write! At this particular meeting, we talked, talked, and talked! We discussed writing topics, we critiqued stories that members had brought and shared writing information we had learned. We didn’t write a single word. And that’s okay. Sometimes a detour from the agenda is what we need.
This makes me think of how God changes our “agenda.” I am a Type A personality and I live by my lists and my calendars. I cannot function without my calendars. Perhaps that’s why I have a calendar on my desk at home, one at work, and one on my trusty Blackberry! Before the holidays arrive, I’m writing out shopping lists, planning and writing menus, a list of serving dishes to be used and what food will be served in what dish, the Christmas card list, the Christmas gift list. You name a holiday list, and I can guarantee I either use said list now or have used it in the past.
My every day is usually controlled by my to-do lists both at work and at home. I keep a “rolling to-do” list that is broken down further into tasks, phone calls to make, computer work and other.
And because I’m Type A, I go absolutely nuts when I’m pulled away from my list(s) to do something that is not on said lists. (Long, heavy sigh.) God excels in pulling me away. Because I am focused and “list-driven” there have been times when God had to use major, attention-grabbing methods to get my eyes off of the task at hand and back on Him. After several of these instances, it occurred to me that God didn’t care whether or not I had a list. He cared about whether or not I was doing His will at that moment.
One of the writers attending the meeting Monday night addressed this issue. “I don’t make to-do lists,” she said. “When I get up in the morning, I ask God what He wants me to do first. When I finish that task, I sit down. I quiet myself before God and I ask Him what He wants me to do next. I do this all through the day until it’s time to go to bed. This way I am assured of always doing what God wants me to do.”
By the time she finished speaking, I was going into withdrawal. Stop using lists? No calendar? I began to hyperventilate. Okay. Easy girl. Deep breath. Deep breath. In and out. There you go. All better, now? Just because she schedules her day that way, doesn’t mean I have to do it the same way. Does it?
After the ladies left, I thought back over the conversation. If I agree with Psalm 118:24 that states “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it,” and I do, it makes sense to also acknowledge Psalm 31:15a “My times are in your hands.” Am I so ignorant to think that relying on God (rather than lists) to order my day would cause me to have an unsuccessful day? God has my (and yours) best interests at heart. It is humanly impossible for me to complete what’s on my to-do list every day. “But with God all things are possible.” Does that mean he’ll help me conquer my to-do list every day? No. It means that I will accomplish that which He directs me to do.
How do you plan your day? Lists, calendars, Blackberry, iPad? Or perhaps you’re a “panster.” You “fly by the seat of your pants” moving forth with no plan. Or maybe you’re like my writer friend who always consults God on what to do before starting any task.
When I first wrote this blog in November, I challenged myself to ask God every morning what He wants me to do first. And I’ll do that first; when that is completed, I’ll ask him what’s next. I will admit that I’ve not always been successful. There are days that seem to fly by so fast, they never make a blip on my radar. But on the days when I do start out by asking God what He wants me to do, I have found that the day is much more peaceful and even more productive than days I live by my lists.
Abba Father, Help us to seek You early in the morning, to determine what You would have us to do on that particular day. Then, Father, help us to step forth boldly in Your boldness and grace to do that which You call us to do every day. May we be Your light and Your life in this dying world. In the matchless name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.
Edwina Cowgill is a Christian whose desire is to “Minister the Heart of God to the Hearts of Women.” She hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Counseling and is a Certified Behavioral Counselor, specializing in inner healing. She is a writer, with a short story published in 2009 and another in 2010. Currently, she’s in the beginning stages of writing my first non-fiction. Visit her online at Musings of Edwina and Monarch Ministries.
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And happy Thursday!