The Value of a List

Lists are good for remembering.

They’re also good for clarifying.

And for motivating.

And for focusing.

And for…well, listing!

I like to make lists—grocery lists, gift lists, to do lists, project lists, goals lists…. But I recently discovered another helpful kind of list.

Several months ago, I found myself in a moment of panic as I realized that I was just days away from being engulfed in an extraordinarily busy and demanding season of ministry. I knew it would include little sleep, tight deadlines, and large needs. It was a the sort of moment that descends without warning…or escape.

But in that very moment, the Lord met me and gently prompted, “Instead of fearing failure, why don’t you thank me for what I am going to teach you through this?”

I did. And the fear dissipated.

Now, fast forward about five months. Deadlines have been met, and the pressing demands have lessened. I’m able to breath a little easier and go to bed a little earlier. Looking back, I could see that the Lord had upheld and sustained me through those busy days, but I wondered what I actually had learned through it.

Finally, one morning I picked up a blank piece of paper and wrote at the top “Things God has taught me….” I wasn’t really sure how much I could list, so I began with an obvious start: “The value of sleep.”

But as I continued writing, the thoughts really began to come fast. Before long, I had a list of twenty-five definite truths I could see the Lord had been impressing into my heart over the past months.

As I looked over my list, I was surprised by its length and amazed by God’s working in my life. This simple act of making the list brought a measure of clarity, understanding, and perspective to the past several months that was really encouraging!

It was as if I could revisit the moment of fear five months earlier and, with the same intensity, experience a moment of wonder and praise as I realized how God used a stretching time to help me.

If you ever make lists of any sort, I suggest you take a few moments to write down what you can see God is doing in your life. It’s worth the effort!

Lists are good for praising God!