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What Makes My To-Do List

The kitchen door bangs as my daughter appears in flip flops and a well-loved ballet tutu, cheeks flushed, a large bunch of dandelions gripped in her sweaty hand. “I brought you these beautiful flowers!” she chirps. “Will you come push me on the swing?”

Head swirling, I silently add mow the lawn to my mental list when I see how many dandelions are still out there. Company is coming, the house is a mess, I have a cake to make and an article to finish, the dishwasher is only half unloaded and the dryer is buzzing to remind me that our clothes are about to wrinkle if I don’t rescue them immediately.

In a minute, sweetie? I have to finish some things . . . .

I see the disappointed slump of her shoulders.

If asked which was more important—my daughter’s soft heart or the laundry?—I wouldn’t have to pause to reflect. Of course she matters more than a bunch of shirts! When it comes to taking action, though, I sometimes forget to put the people in my life above my to-do list.

Today’s readings ask us to consider what we value most. King Solomon prized wisdom above all else in his desire to rule well, and God was pleased with his request. The merchant searching for fine pearls sold all he had to obtain the pearl he most desired. Their actions clearly show us their priorities. It’s not about what we say we value most, but about what we do. Our actions are what reveal what is most important to us.

Saint Paul writes in Romans that “all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) When we ask God to make our priorities match His, we align our will with His. We allow Him to work things out in the best possible way according to His plan. As we determine what is most important, we must ask God to reveal His priorities for us and pray to have our values reflect those priorities. When we surrender to His will, we can have confidence that our actions will reflect God’s values for our lives.

Turning away from the sink, I follow my daughter out to the swing set. I’ll always have things to do, but she won’t always need a push . . . and right now, that matters more.

Are you struggling to let God’s priorities be yours? Make a list of ways to spiritually grow, not just a normal to-do list, for the summer.

Abbey Dupuy writes her life as a homeschooling mom to four frequently barefoot children. In her spare time, Abbey enjoys running, gardening, coffee, and cookbooks, not usually all at the same time. She muses about imperfect parenting, practicing gratitude and celebrating the liturgical year with her young family on her blog. You can find out more about her here.

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenne
    July 30, 2017 at 9:51 am

    I love the dandelions!
    A dear spiritual father once taught me about Dandelion Theology. When a child brings us dandelions, it’s a small symbol of their love, but to us, they look like little weeds. The child doesn’t know that. All they know is that they love you and desire to show you how much by picking “flowers”. How we receive them – gratitude, complimenting their beauty, displaying them on the dining table and giving the child a hug. This all tells the child that you want more of what they desire to give you. Jesus is the child that brings us dandelions. Sometimes, they are really beautiful and sometimes they are mundane little moments that we roll our eyes at. What are your dandelions today? How can you thank Him today?

    • Reply
      Monica
      July 31, 2017 at 8:44 am

      That’s beautiful, Jenne! I’m going to see my next bouquet of dandelions in a completely different way. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah
    July 31, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Beautiful post, Abbey! Thank you! And beautiful comment, Jenne! It’s so important to remember what’s really important in life, like appreciating dandelions and enjoying our children and playing with them!

    One thing I wonder about in my own family is how to find a good balance. I want to play with my children and spend quality time with them, and I do, but I also want them to learn how to play with each other and how to entertain themselves. I think in the old days, mothers didn’t have much time to play with their children, and their children (not having computers and TVs) were great at helping with chores and playing by themselves.

    How do you encourage your children to play independently? How much time per day (approximately, for of course it would vary depending on the family situation and personalities) is right for a mother to play with her 3 year old? I have a 3 year old and 1 and a half year old (boys).

    Thanks again! Keep up the wonderful work you do!

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