Do Your Check-lists Really, Truly Represent Your Accomplishments?
Many times we read books about great women who were great home-makers, who disciplined their children tenderly and taught them great values. A few examples are oft given to elaborate these and other points, but many times they do not exceed a few paragraphs. The entire life of these women’s home-making deeds are summed up in a few (measly) paragraphs, and that’s about it.
Sometimes, I make a to-do list and it will read something like this: Dishes, clothes, house, shoes, and cooking; followed thereafter by other things like school, business and ministry assignments. I choose to focus on the housework for now.
At the end of the day, I will go over my to-do list and I will have checked quite a lot if not all of the items (of necessity, they must on some days all be done). I will mull over the list and wonder whether the 5 ticks against those items really convey the message of what I have done all day/all morning/all afternoon.
I am disappointed that they do not. They do not show the quantity of dishes or that I had to deal with the Nairobi water shortage and be creative or extra-industrious in my washing. They do not show that I sorted, soaked and washed a variety of items – clothes, sheets, curtains. The ticks do not show all the rooms I washed and dusted, what furniture I moved and what accessories I had to handle with extra care. Let’s not talk about cleaning the shoes or preparing and cooking the food, and cleaning up afterwards.
I feel that the 5 ticks do not adequately represent my day. And sometimes I long for a way of representing that, documenting it. I want the record to convey more meaning than that those things were simply ‘done’.
I am however, encouraged in this way. That God sees everything that I do, that mothers do. That it all means something to Him, and He has a special acknowledgment of it, and perhaps even a reward in heaven. That He sees what’s done in secret, even when at the end of the day not much is visible in an outstanding manner, just the usual humdrum of a neat, clean house. He is also with me, walking and working with me every step of the way. I am not alone.
I am also inspired to learn that the experiences I have are unique to me. I learn from and through my activities, and I become an expert in some areas. I gain confidence and insight in others. And I am inclined to believe that the same happens in the journey of business growth. When we say someone has written a book, that’s only one tick that covers all the day-long brainstorming, writing, rewriting, editing, designing, publishing, printing and distribution processes. The things that the author has learnt, the virtues he/she has acquired and the person he/she has become cannot be explained away in that one tick.
I suppose that this is the reason that the truly successful, those who did not take shortcuts to success, are really confident and un-frazzled by up-and-comers. They are even willing to help genuinely hardworking beginners, because they appreciate the difficulties in the journey. As opposed to those who take shortcuts, and are always afraid – as the guilty always are – of being caught, caught up with or overtaken.
And so as I continue with my daily routines, I seek to learn, grow and become all that God intended me to be, knowing that He is producing the real deal in me through those discipline-enforcing routines. The ticks will not sufficiently pass on these experiences, but by God’s grace, I’ll pass them on to as many as God brings my way and allows me to mentor. It is not for naught. Because God is with me, these are priceless experiences with my Lord. As the hymns say,
Oh how sweet to walk,
In this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms,
Oh how bright the path,
Grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
I need the every hour,
In joy or pain,
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.