How to Prevent Your To-Do List from Becoming an Idol

I love making lists. I’m one of those people who will put something on my to-list that I’ve already done, just so I can check it off and feel accomplished. As I am beginning a new school year (and my first year officially homeschooling), my to-do lists have taken over my life. Every day, they get longer and longer as a few unchecked items get shoved to the following day’s list.

Instead of de-stressing my life, my lists have found a way to ADD stress to my life. Now I get to feel guilty and unproductive when one or two items don’t earn a check mark for the day.


How to Prevent Your To-Do List from Becoming an Idol |


God has really been challenging me the last couple of days to surrender my to-do list to Him. My day has become consumed by check marks and accomplished tasks, so much so that I have little or no time left for anything else. My to-do list has become an idol.

When we think of idols, images and gold statues come to mind. Biblically speaking, however, an idol is anything that takes priority over God in my life. My crazy to-do list has consumed so much of my day that God has been pushed to the back burner. Or worse… I’ll put “spending time with God” on the list – in other words, I’ll get to Him eventually when all of my other tasks are complete. (I feel terrible just writing that statement.)


I recently read an article by Susan B. Mead on our preoccupation with trying to fix things. (You can read it here.) Many of us have become addicted to fixing ourselves, others, difficult situations, etc. My to-do list is my way of trying to fix things in my life.

My desire to be “super mom” is taking over. I try to do everything all the time and feel terrible when things don’t get done the way I intended.


I keep trying to fix things when God wants me to fix my eyes on Him alone.


Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.Proverbs 4:24 (NLT)

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.Matthew 6:33 (NLT)


I often justify my to-do list by telling myself that I am simply trying to work hard for my family. I’m just striving to be the best wife and mom that I can be. Yes, God’s Word tells us to be hard workers and to be diligent in all we set out to do, but it also tells us to surrender our cares to God. There is a balance between working hard and finding our rest in the Lord.


When it comes to my to-do list, my primary motivation should be to glorify God.


So what does that look like exactly? Well, for starters it means that I should never be a slave to my list. If I feel that God is leading me to spend my time elsewhere, I need to be willing and flexible to make that change. Secondly, I need to remind myself why I’m working hard in the first place. If I’m working to earn check marks, to feel accomplished, or to receive the praise of others, I’m working for the wrong reasons.


Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.Colossians 3:23-34 (NLT)


In the end, my Master is Jesus Christ. I work for no one else.


Lord, help me to daily surrender my to-do list to You. Order my day and let it be used for Your glory, not my own.


How to Prevent Your To-Do List from Becoming an Idol |


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