I wrote a post back in October about needing to work on discipline in my life over the next year, and how I was hoping that a checklist might help in that pursuit. After a few weeks of testing the one I had written, and making some changes here and there, I rewrote it into the front of my journal... complete with poems and verses, reminders and to-do's. When I follow it? It's amazing. When I don't? Well... I tend to get REALLY overwhelmed. See that line that says, "Stitch w/ Psalms" at the bottom? That is the one I always tend to skip because "I'm just too busy this morning!" but being creative - working on something that is beautiful to display in my home - while listening to Scripture feeds my soul and the rest of my day goes better. And when I skip it? I still spend the time - but it's usually on not so helpful forms of relaxation like surfing the internet aimlessly, wandering through Pinterest, or playing a game online with nothing to show but wasted time and perhaps a virtual trophy.
Yesterday was one of those days that I just couldn't focus because there were so many things that had piled up over the weekend. When I started to complain - "I'm too busy today to use the checklist! - God impressed the word "discipline" on my mind. He knew that the reason I was fretting wasn't that I was "too busy", but because the checklist has me put the house in order and have my quiet time before I work on GraceWorks things, and I had orders to get out and a blog post to write and I was sure I couldn't do it that way. Knowing that I needed to obey the still, small voice, I decided I would work from my checklist, so I got started getting the house in order, and then, while I was sitting down with my Bible and notebook, I got a call from my husband saying he was sorry but he couldn't come home for lunch. It was such an answer to a prayer I hadn't even prayed! Not having to stop and fix his meal gave me the extra time to get everything done that I needed, and confirmed in my mind once again that God's priorities for my life are best.
If you'd like to make a checklist for yourself, I'd encourage you to start with a piece of paper you don't mind messing up and just jot down your thoughts in a rough draft form. You can include as much or as little information as you need to personalize it. Then work with it for a few days and make changes as you need to. After a few weeks or a month, when you are comfortable with it, you can rewrite it like I did. Just remember that it is a work in progress and a tool, not a master. Don't make your family miserable because you have to follow your checklist to the letter! : ) As for me, I'm so thankful for the guidance it is providing me right now, and I look forward to becoming more disciplined as I follow it in the coming year!!