30 little boxes.
I opened my planner this morning and that’s what I found - 30 little boxes all waiting to be checked off.
30 little boxes that would rule my day. 30 little boxes that had the power to dictate my attitude, based on their outcome and the timeliness in which they were completed.
30 little boxes, taunting me. Whispering continuous reminders of what had to be done, where my time needed to be spent and how I needed to stretch every possible moment in order to be prepared.
30 tasks ranging from laundry to emails to homework to writing this post. Things that must be done, taken care of, executed in order to ensure sound sleep and a personal feeling of productivity for the day.
And when it’s all finally done - the last box checked, final lego put into its perfect place - a wave of relief crashes into me putting the constant drumming of discontent in my head to sleep. And it’s time for bed.
But what happens tomorrow?
30 more little boxes pop up in their place. 40 if it’s a busy day, 50 if I actually took time to rest the day before. And it all suddenly becomes my life. Checking boxes, living task to task and day to day until weeks go by and I notice I’ve barely been present in my own life at all.
So here comes the vital question:
Do we really let our tiny boxes rule us? Do we let them dictate our joy?
If you’re like me, you measure your success in how much you’ve accomplished, how many people you’ve spent time with, and how many extra activities you managed to fit into that day.
But what would change if I felt successful in the joy of simply being with someone. Hanging up and hanging out, no boxes and no agenda.
I tried that. Letting my schedule be free from the pressures of the little things and not fitting each “to do” in a minute-by-minute map of my day. But then panic struck.
What happens when I don’t have a single box to check off?
Maybe at first, we take that time for ourselves. But how long until the reality of not having things to do opens hundreds of doors and thousands of windows for the devil to tell us we aren’t important, that we aren’t needed and that we aren’t valuable. After all, what are we if we don’t have little boxes to check off that tell us who we are?
Our culture, myself (very) included, is obsessed with lists. We’re always in a season of extremes - either too many boxes (school year) or none at all (summer). And we begin to associate being accomplished with having things to do.
As women, our main concern is the need to feel purpose. We are dying to be needed, our hearts are crying out for someone to decide that we have just the thing they need - the thing that only I can give, that one silver bullet that only I can offer. We must be given tasks in order to find our meaning and purpose.
But when we are in a relationship with Jesus, we are opened to a very relieving and terrifying truth for our earthly selves: finding purpose in anything of this world is far less than what will ever come close to satisfying our crying hearts.
You are cherished. You are valued. You are important. You are CHOSEN. You have been handpicked by the God of all creation for a life worth living. And you feel inferior?
Pack up your boxes and stop trying to make them appear.
Don’t let the boxes win.
After all, it has already been won for you, friends.
-Erin Cosgrove // @e_coz