The Unchecked List


I keep staring at my calendar, as if that will make it turn back a few days or weeks or even months. Because surely, we cannot be a week into November already! And yet here we are, closer now to Christmas than summertime.

Here I am, with this post already later than I would like. Technically, this post isn’t even the one I planned on sharing tonight, but the other two require a bit more preparation first. The week blurred by and I somehow missed the time I had blocked out for drafting those other ideas.

Between the plotting and scribbling of NaNoWriMo, trying to catch up my word count, (which I still need to devote time to this weekend), and not neglecting other writing deadlines, plus all the everyday matters, my blog posts didn’t develop past rough outlines this week. It wasn’t because I forgot or failed to plan. I had everything scheduled, except I didn’t add in enough margin for life. 

Isn’t that how life itself works, though? It happens, and not always on schedule. Even when it’s unplanned, life unfolds.

I’m not always okay with that. I like to make lists, and it gives me great pleasure to check off each item. When I don’t, my first response is, “I failed.” I failed this week because:

I’m behind on my NaNoWriMo word count.

My blog posts aren’t ready.

I have a stack of other writing projects, with deadlines breathing down my neck.

There are courses I need to enroll for.

I need to make my Christmas shopping list and figure out next month’s budget.

My resume has to be finished.

There’s a website to update and data to enter in another program.

I’ve got events to plan for church, a worship playlist to make for Sunday, and I haven’t spent nearly enough quiet time with God this week.

Even looking at that list makes me squirm. It makes me wonder, “What did I do this week?” And the voice in my head keeps whispering, “Failed. This week you failed.”

I start to wonder, did I accomplish anything? So much was left unchecked. Did I do anything of importance?

And as I mentally revisit each day, I realize something. Those boxes were left unchecked because others ended up checked. As important as those things on my to-do list are, they ended up unchecked because more important things happened.

I may not have hit my NaNoWriMo goal, but I did learn something about the power of storytelling and made progress as an author that will last beyond the word count.

I didn’t plan those events, but I taught two sweet students during midweek service and finished a big church project. I haven’t planned Christmas yet, but I got to make my mom’s birthday special today. I didn’t spend as much time with God as I needed to, but He spoke to me anyway and held me close at an amazing prayer meeting.

There will be time for the other things. But this week wasn’t a failure because that time didn’t happen in the past seven days. I’m certainly not a failure because some boxes went unchecked.

And neither are you. I’m willing to bet you have unmet goals from this past week. It’s okay. Really. You’ve made it this far, and you’ve accomplished more important things than you may realize. If you don’t believe me, try to make a list. Write down even the smallest things, such as the people you made smile or the new ideas you imagined. Those things are important.

The rest will fall into place. You’ll meet those deadlines, write those blog posts, finish those essays. I know you will, because you are not a failure due to a few unchecked boxes.

As we’re ending this week, and preparing for a new one, those unchecked lists can remind us of something. They remind me that life is not a list. It’s not precise or perfectly planned. It’s much bigger and more important than that.

So when we don’t live according to a list, it doesn’t have to be a catastrophe. Because in some way, we are still checking off the most important thing.

We are living.

And now if you’ll pardon me, I can also check this post off my list 😉

If all does go according to plan (and as we’ve just discussed, that doesn’t always happen) I have some more content I’m excited to share soon! I’d love to see what you’ve been sharing lately. Please do let me know. And let me know, what important things did you accomplish this week, whether they were on a list or not?

To me, you reading this is an important thing. I decided simply sharing was important to me, whether anyone read it or not, but having you read it makes it so much better. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Until next time!

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5 thoughts on “The Unchecked List

  1. I absolutely love this post! It has reminded me that what really counts isn’t always on your to-do-list. The people you meet, the lives you touch and the memories you make can never be checked off “the list.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post made me want to accomplish something. I know! I think I shall write a song! Oh wait . . . I can’t read music. Or sing. Dag nab it! I guess I’ll have to think of something else now . . .


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