Confessions of a List Maker
By Susan Sage
My chin dropped, opening my mouth. I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed. How did that pastor know? I’d heard him preach before though never met him. Until that Sunday. But, I only shook his hand and introduced myself and my husband. How … in those brief minutes had he seen my past?
“How many list makers do we have here today?” He went on to ask if anyone had ever made a list and while working on it had done something else and then went back to write it down so you could scratch it off. I smiled and nodded. Of course, I’ve done that.
And then he nailed me to the wall. I couldn’t move. The breath wouldn’t come in deeply enough. My brain began to drown.
He continued. “What list makers don’t realize is how far they carry those.” He said that without realizing it, these people have an inventory of what they believe is the right way to live a good Christian life. They might watch others and check off the things they observe as making the other person a solid believer or not.
Then he said, “What list makers have to realize is Christ died to give you freedom from that.”
I lowered my head and closed my eyes.
Gratitude rose up like mist from deep within. Christ died to free me from more than I may realize until I stand before Him. But freedom isn’t complete until I accept it.
I never realized I needed this particular freedom, though that is exactly what I needed and what God had given me years ago. I remember the time God opened my eyes and made me see the expectations I put on other people. I didn’t see it until this pastor put it in those words. It felt like a new lens had been put on my spiritual eyes.
I can’t do anything about past sins. Christ took the guilt so I refuse to retrieve it.
I wasted far too long being more concerned over what others were doing right or wrong; focusing on whether an individual met my expectations of what life looked like in relationship with God. I’m thankful for transformation and grace. But in that moment, it was like I saw even deeper how my propensity to check things off had drifted into an area of sin.
No, I can’t change the past but I can focus on staying in the freedom God gave and continues to give right now.
The devil is cunning. He took a trait which kept me organized and used it for himself. He wants me to think my little habits are just that—habits.
But if my tendencies ended up hurting someone else … and I’m sure they did … then those also need to come under God’s control and power.
Recently, I read in II Peter about the traits God wants me to put on: faith, self-control, perseverance, brotherly kindness, love, and more. Focusing on implementing those in the grace and knowledge of God will have a much greater outcome than my own list which helps no one, especially me.
About the Author
New to north Idaho, Susan Sage and her husband are enjoying getting to know the new area. She continues to work on her craft writing about God’s purpose and sovereignty in all aspects of life. She enjoys writing devotionals and flash fiction. She enjoys mentoring other writers who are new to the craft.
You can read Susan's "Sunday Inspiration" column on the 4th Sunday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.