My friend gave me one of Shauna Niequist’s books recently,

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way.

It’s worth a read! The book was really helpful to me during a really difficult period of my life. But…this isn’t a book review. ­čÖé

One idea the author shared was that she started a “Things I Don’t Do List.”

She talks about her struggle with comparing herself to everyone around her, trying to “measure up”, and do all things well.

Oh boy, did this strike a cord with me.

I have perfectionist tendencies to say the least, that have gotten better (I think!) with 4 kids, graduate school, and life happenings that leave me well aware of the complete lack of control I have in most things. Surrounded by expectations, mostly of my own making, most days I felt a bit harried, under appreciated, and outside the community, of friends and the church, God intended me to be in.

All that said, the “Things I Don’t Do List” sounded just like a good idea of celebrating doing what I do well, and leaving some stuff out that just isn’t me, and that’s O.K.

Things I Don’t Do:

1) Make┬ádelectable┬ápotluck dishes… It’s a fact. I can cook, I love having people at my table. I just can’t get it together for a potluck. I bring chips, multigrain. Yum.

2) Act as my husband’s secretary… I don’t take messages. I know it may seem easier, but I will forget because a baby will need their diaper changed or someone will hit their sister or a youth group member will share about a life changing event. I just am no good with messages.

3) Ask my children to be completely quiet in worship… I don’t believe in this. They are loud children. Sometimes I wish we were quiet people, but that’s not our strength. I will ask them to be respectful of others, participate fully, and give their whole heart to worship. They will not always sit and stand at just the right time, they will ask lots of questions and I will remind them to ask more quietly, and they will belt out “This is the Feast” even when they don’t know all the words.

4) Read less… I love books. I love them like no one’s business. I carry a book around for stolen moments of quietness. I’m not going to judge myself for spending time reading.

5) Debate financial, educational, and relational choices with strangers…we make the best decisions we can for our children and our family, regardless of other people’s opinions. We take the church into account and society’s general opinions, but beyond that, it’s us and God, and moving in the direction we feel He points us.

6) Eat mediocre chocolate…I need to stop wasting my calories. I love dark chocolate, good wine, yummy food, and good friends to share it with.

7) Hide my testimony… I come from a lot of dark and difficult places. God has brought me from the pit. Redeemed it. Made it Holy. Given it purpose. It’s meant to glorify Him, nothing more, nothing less. May it be so.

What would be on your “Things I Don’t Do List”?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, silly, serious, or anywhere in between!

2 thoughts on “”

  1. Hmmm. The one that's jumping right out to me is "Clean the church." I'll clean up the messes we make (my family, or specific groups I'm there with) but I won't sign up for a month of cleaning the church, the way both our congregations ask families to do. I've learned after years in church work before becoming a pastor's wife that I have to be really careful about how much and what I do beyond my "job description" at church. When I get overbusy with church stuff, it starts to affect my spiritual life in a negative way. I can't even keep my own house clean, I know I'd start to resent the time spent cleaning the church! I'll have to think about this some more; I love the idea!

  2. Thank you for sharing, Jen! That's a good one I could add to my list too. You are so right about the negative spiritual impact. It's important in all things to listen to what God is calling us to do with our time, instead of what we feel pressured or obligated to do from expectations of others or of our own making.

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