Does Your To-Do List Help You or Rule You?

What is on your "To Do" List today?

On days when your list is long, do you ever feel anxious or hurried?  I am asking because I do.  The list mocks me and, if I am not intentional, it rules me.

Today my list felt a mile long.  It is one of those weeks (months to be honest) when life is full to the brim.  I was being distracted by all the things before me.

Of course there was a slow poke in front of me in line.  Other people beside me checked out and left.  All my stuff lay stacked on the conveyor belt...it was too late to switch lines.  I listened as the elderly woman in front of me talk and talk and talk with the cashier.

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I have to be honest.

As much as I value the elderly, I was not liking this lady today.  Her jabber was slowing me up from checking off my list. I really did not want to hear about her diabetes and how the company that makes this particular canned good was going out of business.  I am now embarrassed to type my thoughts, but these are honest truths.

I heard some folks talking loudly across the front of the store.  To get my mind off of the eternally long time it was taking me, I began to observe these people.  They were obviously a family or close friends.  They spoke in a language I had never heard.  Large backpacks and lots of children made them look a bit gypsyish.  One man was pushing two tiny babies around in a buggy. They seemed quiet pleasant as I tried to figure them out.

In the midst of my distraction I heard the lady in front of me spoke directly to me.  I focused in as she is asked me if I heard the cashier say that her son was healed of diabetes.  I am instantly engaged.  I am also aware that this elderly woman's demeanor had completely changed.  When she left she told the cashier that she knew now why she came to Wal-mart today.

It was my turn.  I jumped right in and asked the cashier about her son.  We began to encourage each other.  I told her that it was amazing how the Lord uses her to minister to people as she checked them out.  It crossed my mind that her conversation with some customers may be the only conversation they have all day long.  She was beaming and so was I.  She shared with me how the greeter prayed for a man's hand this morning.  As I left she came around and hugged me.  We made a new friend. 

I found myself smiling as I walked to the parking lot.  Even though I could not find my van, I was so touched by this woman's ministry I just wandered around thinking.

I heard the people again. Their strange language is reverberated though the parking lot.  They were loading up into multiple vehicles and as I located my van I noticed their license plates.

Florida

They had been displaced by Hurricane Ima.  The Lord nudged me.  "Speak to the them."

I argued.  "But they don't speak English. This could be humiliating for us all."

As if to say, "I will make this one easy for you," one of the men headed directly toward the buggy return, beside my van.  I remembered what I had seen in the store.

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  • heavy laden backpacks
  • tiny little babies
  • lots of people

In spite of my potential embarrassment I began to speak.  I did not have a clue what to say, so I just jumped in.

"God bless you man."

He looked at me with a huge smile.  Without even waiting for me to say anything else he said, (in perfect English)  "Thanks so much!"

I mentioned that I had seen their Florida tags.

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His joy continued as he responsed, "YES! And we are headed back now!"  

He was obviously thrilled to be going back home.   I blessed their return as we parted ways.

I was so busy that I almost missed huge blessings.  My list was so big and distracting that I almost failed to see the Lord at work all around me.

I still have so much to do.  The list really is not any shorter than it was an hour ago.  But I am sitting in my chair typing this out so that I do not forget one single part.  I have temporarily kicked that stupid list to the curb.

So if you find yourself in the same place as me, I hope you will remember this story.  May the daily grind of your day not overwhelm you to the point that life becomes all about getting the very next thing done.

May we all take the time to love the one in front of us today.

There are people all around us who have hard things going on in their lives.

It sometimes helps our perspectives to look around us (instead of just at ourselves)!  

There is so much for which to be thankful, even in the Wal-mart line.