My Have To-Do List

Mornings for me are usually full of things to do. One morning after making breakfast and getting the kids and my husband all out the door, I looked at the clock and figured I had about and hour and a half before I had to leave the house to go teach. Immediately my mind was flooded with all the things I had to do. I had to get myself ready, pack a lunch, clean up the kitchen, make my bed, start the laundry, sort the mail, scrub the bathrooms, clean the floors, feed the dog, organize the closet, decorate the new office space, plan for retirement (you get the idea).

I felt overwhelmed, unsure of what to start with, and a bit like my life was being dictated by forces outside of me. It was like I was stuck in “have-to-do” land, and I didn’t like it. I began to wonder if there’s a different way to be.

Well, I could choose to climb back in bed and go to sleep, or watch Netflix, or read a book. That sounds pretty good. Maybe I should choose something that’s not on my “have-to-do” list. It’s an option.

I don’t have to pack myself a lunch. I don’t have to clean up the kitchen or get ready for the day. I don’t have to exercise. I don’t have to clean the house or pay bills or meal plan. I don’t even have to go to work or to church.

The more I entertained my options, I came to realize something. I actually wanted to pack a lunch for myself, and I actually wanted to get ready before I left the house, and I actually wanted my kitchen to be tidy and my bed made. I wanted all of those things that I was thinking I had to do.

Very quickly, my “have to-do list” became my “want to-do”list. I realized how empowering it is to intentionally choose; it gave me ownership and authority over my morning. It helped me see that I wasn’t dictated by forces outside of me; I wasn’t stuck. I have options and I have the power to choose.

That morning, instead of staying in overwhelm, I found my way to feeling happy about getting ready, happy about packing a lunch for myself and happy about tidying up the house. It’s exactly what I wanted to do.





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