Getting things done. It’s been my obsession the last six months or so. We weren’t planning on moving, so when a great career opportunity came my husband’s way, ready to move we were not.
Once the deal was made, he was gone in two weeks. I remained behind in St. Louis to get the house ready to sell. The problem was we had multiple repair and renovation projects underway. They all needed to be completed before we could even put the house on the market.
So began the parade of contractors and handymen and repairmen. In between I was painting and cleaning and trying to get rid of junk. I started a spreadsheet listing all the projects, scheduled completion dates, and how much it cost. I gave up when I had 92 items on the list.
No matter how I tried, I couldn’t keep up with the pressure to hurry up, get it all done. Worst was thinking something was done, and it wasn’t. Always something. I broke a guide off a sliding door while I was painting. The real estate agent, thinking a light switch turned instead of slid up and down, broke it off. More stuff to be fixed. Contractors painted walls of a closet. Then I found my husband wanted the ceiling painted as well.
Anxiety fueled my frenzy to finish tasks, driving me to hurry. Frustration reigned as the universe seemed to conspire to get in my way, to cause delays, to make what should be simple tasks complicated. I felt like a time bomb, ready to explode the second my schedule was disrupted.
Some relief came when I finally moved to Wisconsin. I worked hard for a few weeks to get everything unpacked and some order back in my life. Oh happy day when the movers came back to pick up the empty boxes.
Then I saw it. A forgotten moving box, full of paper, still in the dining room. Could I never get it right? Am I just incapable of finishing anything? Why can’t I get anything done?
In looking back, it didn’t have to be that hard. Over the next few weeks, God showed me that:
Things don’t get done because I rush and don’t check
This I can control. I can be more patient, take my time and check that everything is done correctly without causing problems that require more work.
Things don’t get done because I expect to get too many done
When under pressure, the daily to do list gets longer and longer. When I set myself realistic goals for the day and kept at them, I had a greater sense of accomplishment and wasn’t racing to finish too many things at once.
Things don’t get done because I don’t ask for help
Just as Moses learned the importance of delegation, so I learned to ask for help. My sweet husband did all he could to help me from afar. Many friends and neighbors were more than happy to lend a hand, once they knew just what they could do. I didn’t have to wear myself out, trying to go it alone.
Things don’t get done because other things come up
Anyone who’s done home repair knows that you start fixing one thing, you see something else that needs to be done. The key is to not let the new projects become the priority, but to work them in logically so that everything can get done efficiently. Sometimes the other things in life that come up are divine appointments. His agenda is not always mine, and I need to be open to a little flexibility.
And what about all the anxiety, frustration and even rage I was feeling?
His grace is sufficient
My worth in God’s eyes does not depend on my ability to complete multiple home repair tasks in an incredibly short period of time. My worth depends on the grace He extends to me, through His Son, Jesus Christ. If I’ve made a good effort but don’t finish everything on my list, God’s love for me is unchanged.
And grace abounds. When my husband saw how discouraged I was over the left-behind box, he got rid of it for me. Task completed.
So I tell myself to take heart! Jesus finished His work on the cross, and He will finish the work He has begun in me, eternal work that is more important than any list of mine.