When I Die, My Inbox Will Be Full


It’s the second full week of January, and I still haven’t started on my New Year’s resolutions. I can’t even bemoan that I’ve already broken my New Year’s resolutions because, as I just said, I haven’t even begun them. Of course, my list is much longer than it should be. I remember giving advice to a friend a few years back that her New Year’s resolution list shouldn’t be so long, that it would be hard to work on so many areas at once. Do I listen to my own advice? No, because how can I narrow it down when all of them are so important? More exercise, more water, fewer sweets, more sleep, more…hmmm…I had so many, I don’t remember them all. I’ll have to go check my list.

Speaking of lists, I’ve got a lengthy to-do one, as most Americans do. On top of the regular cleaning, writing, cooking (ok, Greg does some of this), tidying up after a long Christmas trip, preparing for homeschooling, hanging pictures and putting up decorations in our new house, planning field trips, and doing other miscellaneous work that goes along with life, I recently added another level of teaching to my list–teaching ESL at UT Tyler. It’s definitely not a big job–I’ll only work 3 hours a week to start–but it does entail lesson planning, and it’s a daunting job, as I’ll be teaching college students for the first time in ten years, and the last time I did it (for only a month), I team taught with Greg, the experienced college instructor. Don’t think I’m dreading this job; I’m actually excited to teach ESL again for several reasons, but it does add another layer to my already busy week.

As I lay in bed last night thinking of all I need to do, I started thinking, What could I complete that would make me feel satisfied? What can I finish so I can get rid of the feeling that something is (or many things are) sitting heavily on my shoulders? That’s when I realized that I really wouldn’t be satisfied unless I had my to-do list completely checked off, my email inbox absolutely empty, and my house utterly and spotlessly clutter-free and clean. Oh, and I can’t forget to add a daily quiet time with God, a daily shower, and the whole resolution list, including exercise, etc. I do remember once in my life working on my inbox until it was completely cleared out. That lasted all of fifteen minutes. I might obtain something close to this when I’m retired, if my husband tragically dies before me so that I live alone, and if I have housekeeping help. But really, as a part-time (very small part of the time) working mom of three young homeschooled kids, I don’t stand a chance to get this weight off me by completing all I want to do. I can’t even satisfy myself by staying up late to finish everything because then I feel guilty about not getting enough sleep (one of the resolutions, see?).

So, what do I do?

I think there are three things I need to do.

First, I have no chance of completing all I want to do, but I do have the ability to complete all I need to do. God wouldn’t give me more than I can handle in the amount of time He’s given me. So when I start to stress out about one of my lists or piles or messes, I’ve been asking God for help to complete all I need to complete that day and to give me wisdom to know what that is. I’ve been thinking about Psalm 37:5: “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” I looked up the word for “will do it” in the Strong’s concordance, and found these synonyms (among many others): to do, accomplish, be at, bear, bring forth, be busy, have the charge of, deal (with), finish, furnish, grant, be industrious, labour, perform, provide, serve, and work. I can’t do it, but if I commit my work to God, if I ask for His help, trusting Him, He will surely do it.

Second, I need to get to work. Sometimes, in my anxiety over all I need to do, I get stress paralyzed (introduced to me by that fantastic movie, Mom’s Night Out). I look at it all and can’t do a thing. Sometimes, I hide from it by doing something I definitely don’t need to be doing, like reading a favorite book during my set-apart time for God. Sometimes I do work that I want to get done instead of what needs to be done because I haven’t committed my plans to God, asking Him what I need to complete. Besides, who wouldn’t rather organize photos on the computer than scrub the grime off the shower floor? However, once I’ve seen what I need to do, I just need to do it, a little at a time.

The last thing I need to do is counter-intuitive to me. The last one is hard for me to do. Next week, I’ll explain the last thing I need to do in order to get this weight of work off my shoulders. I hope you’ll come back and explore it with me.


5 thoughts on “When I Die, My Inbox Will Be Full

  1. You’re certainly not alone, Sister. Remember God is Able to do more… The less able we feel, the more we have to lean on Him.
    Congrats on the teaching job. I know you’ll be great!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah Heather, we are peas in a pod…. cut from the same cloth. Ever the balancing act between contentment and industry! Thanks for the practical advice. 🙂 And good for you to teach the ESL class. You are a superstar!


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