Three Steps in Creating Your “To-Be” List
How to switch your focus from “doing” to “being”
Over the past several years we have spent a good deal of time talking about the importance of focusing on who we are in Christ as our primary work, and only secondarily considering all the good things we might do for him. The short version is that we focus on being over doing.
We’ve just finished an intense round of coaching calls for participants in our Becoming a Steward Leader cohort program. Central to every leader’s challenges is the struggle to keep intimacy with Christ as their highest calling. It is the heart’s desire of every leader, yet it’s also one of the first things that gets neglected in the crucible of goals, deadlines, finances and expectations.
Here’s the best way I know how to state the problem, “we become so consumed in doing things for Jesus that we leave no time for him to do things in us.” Does that sound familiar? It’s likely most of us yearn for what we would consider to be a more balanced lifestyle; one that gives ample and appropriate time to work, quiet time with the Lord, family, health, leisure and community. It’s also likely that if we are not experiencing this balance it’s because our work life dominates everything else.
If you’re like me, a central tool to that work life is some form of a “to do” list. I tie the items on my “to do” list to my responsibilities found in our strategic plan. It all ties together quite nicely; strategic goals become monthly objectives, which morph themselves into weekly “to do” lists and then to daily action plans. Few things give me more satisfaction than crossing off a significant item on this list. The pursuit of strike-throughs fuels my energy for the day. And it can dominate my time and attention.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the process, the problem is that it’s the only list that drives me. If I say that I believe God is more in concerned about who I am becoming than what I am doing, I need disciplines and practices, habits and rhythms in my life that reflect that stated priority. One way I am trying to address this is by creating a “to be” list that sits atop and comes before my schedule of action items for the day.
If this might be a blessing to you as well, let me share three simple steps for creating your “to be” list.
- Start with a commitment to affirm God’s sovereignty and ownership of everything in your life. Here’s a sample of a “To Be” list item: “Throughout the day I will affirm God’s ownership of everything around me and praise him for his love and provision.”
- Living as a steward leader is a daily battle, so acknowledge it in your second entry and combine it with some sense of recognition and surrender. Here’s a sample: “I will trace any and every sense of fear, stress, anxiety or discouragement back to its source and surrender it back to God.”
- Finally, end your list with a commitment to practice the presence of God and be available to the Holy Spirit in every moment of the day. It may look like this, “I will abide with Christ through every minute of the day and expect him to speak, guide, encourage and direct me according to his great love for me.”
I encourage you to be creative, let your “to be” list reflect where you are on your own journey with Christ. One caution, be careful not to turn it into a “spiritual to do list”. This is not about “praying three times today” or “telling five people God loves them.” Our “to be” list is about consciously placing ourselves in a position where God can work in us and through us according to his good will and pleasure. Such a list will be a reminder to us that our life belongs to God, and if we are to live and lead for him, and enjoy the abundant life he promised, then our work is to steward every minute of every day according to the will and purpose of the owner.
If you create your own “to be” list, I’d love to know some things you’ve placed on it. Please write and tell me how this has worked for you, and what God has taught you along the way. I’m glad to be on the journey with you. Deep peace.
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