I am a task list fiend. At work I record my tasks on my gmail tasks list, my Google calendar, excel sheets, a whiteboard, and a notepad. #1 because I once was told that checking off completed tasks releases endorphins, and what greater high than checking off one task in five different places? #2 because I’m terrified that a task will arise when I am not by my computer, logged in to gmail, or near a notepad and I will need to capture the said task before it vanishes into the abyss of my brain, my schedule, or whatever task is currently at the top of the priority list. With four back up task lists, surely nothing will get dropped.
I’m beginning to think this might be a bit of a problem. To be so worried about dropping the ball that I forget to play the game. In fact, I so fear task drop that it’s hard to think of anything else. It’s hard to focus on the task at hand. It’s hard to rest. It’s hard to be still.
Today I realized just how much of a problem this is when I went to pray. I’ve found I can’t even surrender these tasks and ideas and thoughts and proddings to God until I’ve fortified myself with task lists and double and triple task lists and experimented with two or three methods of prioritization. Before I can experience God, I must have every task or possible task accounted for. No idea left unturned. No thought left behind.
The rational, healthy-dose-of-responsibility part of me knows that task lists don’t equal productivity and that productivity doesn’t even equal fruitfulness. But still I grasp and flail and hold onto these tasks for dear life.
And sometimes–no thanks to me–God’s grace penetrates this wall of priorities I have constructed.
Like today I had just journaled about my fear of task drop. Wondering how on earth I could actually concentrate on experiencing God when my head and my heart were so filled with to-dos and to-thinks.
My Bible reading today featured Zechariah 2. And it spoke past my Saturday chore list, into my Saturday soul.
Zechariah 2 speaks of a man going off to Jerusalem with a measuring line in his hand. When asked where he is going, he replies, “To measure Jerusalem, to calculate her width and length.” Presumably to categorize and prioritize and strategize the best defensive approach to wall off and fortify the city.
To which the angel replies, ‘Run, and tell that young man this, “Jerusalem is to remain unwalled, because of the great number of men and cattle inside. For I myself, declares the Lord, shall be a wall of fire around it and I will be its glory within.”
Later in the chapter, it says, “Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because I am coming to live among you.”
I was struck by how much time I put into measuring and constructing walls, into defending my plans and priorities. And God says instead that we are to remain unwalled. That he will be our protector and our glory. That even without our walls and defenses and comfortable securities, he will come and dwell among us.
His power is greater than my prioritizing. His presence is sweeter than any checked off task endorphin high.
I am not a place to be walled off, but a place for his glory to dwell.
Please dwell in me today.