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I’m a list writer. I know, this is such predictable type-A-mother-of-three behavior. It makes me even want to yawn. Worse yet, I love lists. And yes, I am one of those people who writes things on lists just so I can cross them off and feel like I’ve accomplished something. And yes, I know about the idea of just being and letting God’s time wash over me. I know all this, but still, I write lists, I accomplish, I conquer the world one item at a time. Boring, yes.
So when I found myself blissfully on vacation in Trinidad, with much less responsibility, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. There were no lists to be written, nothing to accomplish. But then New Year’s arrived! It was like a belated Christmas present for me. I secretly stole away and wrote my New Year’s lists (notice the plural). There was a list for my goals, a list for what would keep me “balanced”, and then a list of fun plans. On and on I went, writing, planning, setting goals. Perhaps because I am a woman of faith or perhaps because the arrival of our third child has worn away some of my edges, I wondered why I was writing these lists. I wondered if any of these lists really reflected the person God has called me to be.
I stopped, frustrated by my need to control life through lists. Then, after some time off, I began to write new lists. Pathetic, yes, but some habits don’t die. But this time I wrote gratitude lists and “where to insert Sabbath” into our lives lists, on and on they went. They poured out of me. I can only imagine how amused God was by the whole process.
I wonder if God were to write a list for me, what it would include. I can’t tell you everything that God would write for me, because God knows me too well, and there are some things God wants for me that I can’t tell you. In fact, there are some things God wants for me that I can’t admit to myself. But I can ask you: What does God want for you this year?
If God wrote your list, God who knows you better than you know yourself, God who loves you more than you love yourself, what would God write? Think about it. Pray about it. Then, let God start writing.
Rev. Abigail A Henrich (ehm!) is an ordained minister who earned her stripes at Princeton Theological Seminary and Colgate University. That said, Abby is really a mother-pastor-spouse who lives in a kinetic state of chaos as she moves from her many vocations: folding laundry, preaching, returning phone calls, sorting lunch boxes, answering e-mails, and occasionally thinking deep thoughts in the shower. Unabashedly she is a progressive Christian who believes some shaking up has got to happen in the church.