Do you have a “Give it to God” list? While talking with a friend the other day I ran through a list of some of the concerns and cares that are weighing on my heart right now. The point wasn’t to stir up my fears and anxiety. The point wasn’t to go through the laundry list of cares. The point was, there’s a whole lot of “just under the surface” junk going on.
We’ve all got it right? That churning of fear, insecurity, anxiety, cares, and concerns that no one sees. And when we start to list them out…Whoa! It’s probably even a bit shocking to us how much junk there is! And we wonder why we’re stressed, snappy, short-tempered, distracted, etc. (Said in a completely sarcastic tone.)
Give It To Go List
My friend made me a “Give it to God” list on a 3×5 card. Um…”What am I supposed to do with this?” I asked. Although it was straight forward–“Give it to God” written across the top and dashes down the side marking a list, I was confused. Did my friend seriously want me to sit down and write out all the things–the ugly, messy list I had just quickly run through verbally? The answer was “Yes.”
So I did what probably most of you would do, I tucked it away hoping we would both forget about it. But neither one of us did.
I knew I wouldn’t forget about it, that’s not my nature. I hoped my friend would. Three days later my friend brought it back up. Um…I was surprised they remembered. I was surprised they brought it back up. I was surprised they sat there waiting for me to respond to their reminder.
But a true friend doesn’t let us off that easy right? They remind and then they wait; even in the sometimes uncomfortable silence. So my friend waited and I stammered and deflected and tried to change the subject. And eventually had to start talking through my list I was refusing to write down.
Although we talked about it, as briefly as I could possibly get away with, I still didn’t fill my “Give it to God” list out. We all know the power of writing something down right? Writing something down is similar to speaking it, only with more clarity and permanence. I honestly didn’t want to see my list; it was enough to carry it with me everywhere.
See, these fears and concerns start with a thought. Something that’s still relatively safe from others–unless they are perceptive enough to notice the sometimes subtle changes in our eyes, face, tone or actions. And then, if the thought sticks long enough or is too painful or too important to keep in the mental confines, we might timidly speak it–or boldly proclaim it, depending on the thought.
From thinking to speaking, next comes writing. The simple truth is, we write down things that are important to us. We write birthdays on the calendar, appointments in the planner, sentiments in a card, note or letter, memories or gratitude in a journal. We write what holds a place of importance, value or something we treasure. We write because we don’t want to forget.
But I surely wanted to forget that bothersome list I was shouldering.
After our conversation reminding me of the “Give it to God” list and the conversation and confessions that followed, the little, white 3×5 card haunted me–not in a scary Scoobie Doo cartoon way, more like a nagging, “You know this something you need to do” way.
And then the next morning a quote that I would normally find lovely and inspiring, but now found a distasteful reminder, popped up in my Instagram feed.
God cannot work with what you don’t hand Him.
Ugh! Dang social media and friendship and struggles that need to be given to God! I knew I had to go find the nagging 3×5 card I had tried to hide and forget about.
And then I wrote. I listed the fears, struggles, and concerns that were weighing on me. I didn’t worry about the order or how they sounded. And yes, I might have cried just a little as I wrote each one.
My list included things like sorrow over my grandma’s death, blow to my motherhood, fear of another melanoma in situ, serving friends who visit The Littlest Way well, etc.
This might sound funny–unless you know exactly what I’m talking about, but maybe some of the reason for the tears, “Now what am I going to do?” It’s almost a loneliness, right? These fears and concerns become a close companion of sorts. We carry them with us wherever we go and they are always on the ready to “entertain” and occupy any time and space we make room for.
But once they are listed out on the “Give it to God” 3×5 card, we’ve essentially dumped them. That’s one of the advantages of writing things down, we no longer have to provide mental and emotional space for them in our very being; we’ve given them a new home be it a calendar, planner, or journal.
So now the fears and concerns I have been carrying are handed over to God, now what? Now God. Wait, that should be, Now God!
Now God can move and work in them. God can make the old things new and turn the sorrow into joy. He can infuse His grace into the pain and remove the sin, sorrow, and guilt.
When we dump it all on our “Give it to God” list, we make room for God to do what only He can do and what needs to be done. We get out of the way…or out of our own way.
What fears, cares, and concerns do you need to write out? What do you need to dump on God? What are you carrying that’s not meant for you to carry? What are the problems you can’t do anything about but with God all things are possible?