Normally, I would not say I am a list person. I have a few lists don’t get me wrong, but my lists don’t serve as motivators. I make lists passively. I put things down and feel if those things happen then great, but I will not grind to accomplish the list.
If I make a list that I feel like I am not even close to checking off, I will usually rationalize a way to feel satisfactory about my list, or I will just laugh at the list thinking it was a bit ambitious and beyond my threshold.
I am simply a put things on paper person. I make Idea-Lists because I am an idealist. Practicalities hinder some people, but not me. I don’t make lists to achieve, I make lists to remember.
All this to say I’ve recently made a list of things I wanted to do before I left New Jersey. And the exercise has been exciting, even more exciting when you have a few people devoted to helping you check those things off. Even more exciting when they are people you love spending time with.
My blogs/reflections over the past several weeks are running a similar theme, sounding like a lot of the same. Maybe this blog always feels that way, who knows?
It’s about to again.
What I’ve found about the way I write lists is: they provide me with settings or activities for writing a story with people I adore (not worship, just to clarify).
And some of those stories I will tell and remember and cherish and others that don’t happen will fade.
I remember living with Brian and Nate and made a list of my daily schedule. It was when I was unemployed and ghost writing/writing my fiction story/interviewing church people. I made it as a joke to put on the fridge, basically to say, “I’m free and would love to spend time with you guys whenever.” Also, “I probably need motivation to be a productive human being.”
I kept that list until 2 months ago. I finally threw it away because as funny as it was, my life feels so full of purpose with God that the list itself felt like a different person wrote it. The list became a reminder I no longer wanted to remember because I never want to return to that season of life. But also it was part of a story I cannot forget.
When the list became a motivator (which is why many people keep lists), I threw it away. Because for me motivation has always took residence in a deep within part. And when it starts to burn there, it takes a lot to quench that motivation.
On Bible Lists
In Scripture, people, places and things are often listed. But infrequently if ever are someones future goals listed. The Apostle Paul had one goal. Preach the gospel everywhere but especially Rome. Jesus had a few goals but all pointed to the one of reconciling humanity to God through His death and resurrection.
Scripture reserved lists for the concrete, and on rare occasions, past accomplishments. Usually references to the past exclusively serve to direct our attention to a better future with God.
And that my friends is my dream, my goal, my ambition for myself and my hope for everyone I know and meet whether I can contribute or not. A better future with God is far superior than a future without him or a future trying to replace him with (warning a list):
- political ideology
- idolatrous relationships/romances/fantasies
- celebrity aspiration
- becoming a servant to opulence
- hating yourself (not sure why I or we ever choose this)
The Final Item
Now I can only imagine what it is like because I’ve never actually checked every item off a list. At least a meaningful list. I make lists and check them off at work to make myself feel like I accomplish things.
I imagine what its like to have a list you really devote your time and attention to and the anticipation one feels when they are about to check off the last thing on it. I imagine that sense of accomplishment feels good but I would guess it can’t possibly last long.
And here in lies my problem and suggestion. Never end your list. Use a sense of creativity and discovery and decide to anticipate the what else rather than the end.
I think why I don’t use lists as goals or motivation is because I don’t actually want to reach a point of lethargy where I actually think I’m close to finishing. If there is a list of things I want to do with people I love, I discover I want more.
It’s why I love Heaven so much. The Final Item in Heaven is eternal adventure with the God I love and the saints that love God and one another well.
Why would anyone want that to end?