There is something so – so – organized – about a list. It gives the illusion of control of one’s life. Checking off item after item on the list extends the illusion of power and control. Following a list can be like following a recipe – all manner of interventions, substitutions, ad libs and upsets can happen when one follows a list. But that is a different blog.
The 'laissez faire' person lets life happen and makes a list later. The control person is bound and determined to create a life of lists and finds joy in marking off each item as it is accomplished. The person who can take or leave a list uses the lists in a need-to-list mode.
A list-maker after my own heart uses lists to ‘plan’ with the unspoken need to procrastinate. The Procrastinator needs a deadline in order to wrap the action around the list. Some have called this process a time waster, but this type of person has never fallen in love with the ‘fall smell’ of fresh paper and wooden pencil aromas that bring to retired teachers all manner of memories. They want to purchase reams of paper and dozens of pencils...just to remember…. In other words, just the settling in a chair with paper and pencil creates the need to make a list for the inveterate list maker.
Now there are endless electronic calendars, “Don’t forget the Milk”, Evernote - ways of list making. There are books of lists being sold – Wedding lists for the Bride, books of rhyming words for the poet, Planning Books for teachers, Court Decisions for the lawyer, Trouble Shooting lists for all things electronic. Diets become a list of ‘to eat or not to eat’.
My summer lists while teaching, I soon learned, were endless and I never reached the end of the list before I had to return to school. Now I wonder if I will be able to accomplish all the items of my ‘life-list’ in time to take my last breath. Because I still make lists.
When I learned that a project contains a list of goals to be accomplished, and then a list of procedures to complete the goals, plus a list of timelines in which the procedures must be accomplished in order to bring the goals to completion – I was ecstatic. Nested lists! Before it was just a black and white to-do list, now it became a to-live list. My interest soon waned as I noted 'the shades of grey' listings.
A grocery list is a common type of list used by many. A simple procedure, right? Not when you meticulously create a list, and leave it at home. I soon realized the folly of trying to remember the list with my finite mind. Besides the hazards of impulsive buying and the retailer’s ability to set up the market to entice buying.
Interesting how a list of anything intrigues us, especially if it is a list of “how-to’s”. Just today I found a list of 72 ways to be a better writer. I deal better with just 4 or five item list. I found that, too, but it didn't increase my writing ability. Maybe we need a 'thought' list.
There is a ‘box list’ for the inveterate clutterer. The box for give-aways, one for the can’t-bear-to-part-with-it and the box for throw away. Indecision causes me to want the fourth box – ‘think-about-for-awhile’. The Procrastinator part of me kicked in. No matter how you box it, it is a list.
The one problem with lists is that life doesn’t fit into an ordered list. Life comes and whomps us in the face. This is good. What, you are asking, how would this be an acceptable? It propels the re-ordered list - or Plan B, or C, or X, Y, Z. Z stands for zest for life.
I often wondered if Abraham made a list when God told him to go to an unknown place with Sarah. What about Moses, responsible for the children of Israel, did he make a list to prepare for 40 years of travel? Apostle Paul made three journeys. Did he make a list to get ready to go on a journey and all the events like a ship wreck? That brings me to thinking about how God created the universe and created the intricacy of man – and He has seen to each detail. He embedded the prophecies of the coming of Jesus from the beginning. He orchestrated the steps of Jesus from birth to His resurrection. Even now our God watches over us as we make our lists of what to do.
How did God accomplish this? Did He make a list? Did God even have to make lists? My joy of this season just grows when I think of the way He created the events, never forgetting the smallest detail, surrounding the birth of Jesus, His One and Only Son. No words can portray His omnipotence and glory.
Speaking of lists – I received a book for Christmas that lists names of Jesus that include….
Immanuel – Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
Christ the Lord – Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:11
Faithful Witness - and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. - Revelation 1:5
Hope – They shall obtain joy and gladness. And sorrow and sighing shall flee away. - Isaiah 35:10
Holy - For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. - Luke 1:49
Shepherd - The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
Advocate – My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. - I John 2:1
Prince of Peace – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6
Gift of God – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. - James 1:17
Firstborn over All Creation - The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. - Colossians 1:15-16
Jesus - When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:24-25
Author of our Faith - fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Light of the World - When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Deliverer - and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” Romans 11:26-27