I love my planner. I particularly love the sheet where I get to list my weekly tasks – ideally so I don’t forget to do them. Often they stare back at me from the page like a puppy certain it is not going to be adopted that day. I have to confess I don’t have the staying power to code each task on the list by priority, but I do love the column where I get to check off the task when it is completed. I actually cross it out as well. That’s not in the detailed ‘How to use this planner’ instructions, but it makes me feel good. Sometimes I’ll actually write down whatever it is that I’ve just done, simply so I can check it off. Pathetic, I know. But it may be the only thing that gets crossed off my list that day and clearly I need the affirmation.
I tell myself that the people who are getting it all done just aren’t setting high enough goals. They don’t know the gritty perseverance of transferring ‘Write jail ministry article’ to next week’s to do list for eleven weeks in a row. Or the satisfaction of finally knocking ‘Buy brownies for Youth Group Snack Supper’ off of the list.
Things like ‘Get eyebrows waxed’ really would benefit from a priority coding system. Otherwise you find yourself lying on a table in the back room of a suspiciously empty salon with a stranger sternly hovering over your face, judgmentally shaking her head while she stirs a pot of hot wax with a tongue depressor, finally announcing with disdain, “You overdue. This could take a while.” And for this you must give her a tip.
It’s tough being Type A minus in a Franklin Covey world. And it’s killing my professional GPA.
“It is finished.”
Sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend the meaning of those words. Jesus completed what he had come to do. Checked off, crossed out, not carried over to the next week’s to do list. It is finished. Done. Over.
He didn’t do what he could; he did it all.
We live our lives in perpetual ‘incompletion.’ I think that’s why we don’t know how to rest in Jesus’ words, It is finished. Surely there must be more for us to do, to complete for him… or for us. To feel finished… whole… worthwhile.
Jesus was about one thing – doing the will of the Father. Making God known. All the other things that he did during the day pointed to that one thing. And so while there was always more to do – more sick to heal, more crowds to teach – each day was complete in accomplishing the one thing… and I believe Jesus slept well at night.
We mistake the tasks for the mission. Mission can fill a moment to overflowing. Tasks feel like a lifetime will never be enough.
Reflecting the Word
What one thing does God want you to be about? Don’t compose a treatise. Boil it down to one word. Maybe it’s ‘Love,’ or ‘Heal,’ or ‘Redeem,’ or ‘Hope.’ If you’re not sure, ask. Make that the focus of your prayer time for the next few days. Write that word at the top of your to do list, each day, each week. Make it bigger than the other words on the list. Color code it. Let your life point to that word at every opportunity – whether it’s the tasks in your planner or the things that come up along the way.
Much will still be left undone, not crossed out. But sleep well. It’s not up to us to complete a list. We are simply here to reflect the Word.
Be still. Know that God has done it all. For you. For me. Not when we get our act together. Not when we deserve it. Not when there’s nothing left on our list. Not when we feel it.
It is finished. Period.
Rest. Rejoice. Be resurrected.