17,000,000. The number of apps to manage to-do lists.
TOP priority. Get ‘er done. The feeling of accomplishment. Promised peace at the end of the day when it’s all crossed off.
I was trained from a bitty girl to spend time at the day's end confessing my sins out loud and asking God for forgiveness. "I'm sorry I lied." "I'm sorry I said mean things to my friend."
No matter how much good I had given to the world, my final thoughts as I said my bedtime prayers were how I had MESSED UP and what I had NOT done well and who I had offended (in many cases, this happened to be the God of the universe…yikes). NO peace for sure.
Fast-forward to my adult years. Same. Same. Same. Just different stuff. "I'm sorry I screamed at my kids." "I'm sorry I took a too-long lunch at work."
One night, my little rebellious self changed it up. “What did you do right today?” I quizzed my husband as we collapsed into bed after wrangling four kids into their beds.
“I smiled at the store clerk,” he mumbled at long last.
I shook my head. I knew he had probably been kind, sought justice, served those he worked with, treated everyone with dignity and respect, along with all the daunting tasks he had crossed off his "to-do" list.
Realizing how much of our day (and night) was taken up with negative thinking, we decided to make this a best practice in the moments before we fell into slumber. "What did you do right today?"
We still began our days with a "to-do" list, but we ended them with a “ta-da" list.
It was STILL NOT the peace we were looking for, but at least a step in the right direction.
Help came in the form of what usually happened right before we crawled into bed, wiped out from the day.
Most nights, the last thing on my never-ending "to-do" list was to slip into each of my kids' rooms and just watch them sleep (something I still do from time-to-time, even though they are giants at this point).
No matter what had happened during the day, both good and bad, it didn’t seem to matter any more. I would just stand there, gazing at their cute little heads barely visible above their comforters, completely and utterly in love with them, happy.
Yes. Yes. This must be how God feels about us.
While the "to-do" lists and "ta-da" lists matter to us, they don’t seem to matter much to Him.
At BOTH the beginning and end of each day (regardless of either of those lists), he gently reminds us, “I will quiet you with my love. I will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah)
TRUE, UNADULTERATED PEACE.