On a recent family video call, our adult children were celebrating the arrival of a sibling’s firstborn. As most of these brothers and sisters were parents themselves already, they had some advice to share, including, “Don’t keep a ‘to-do’ list, keep a ‘done’ list!”
I loved this idea! Too often we focus on what we have not accomplished, as opposed to acknowledging what we have. And it’s not just new parents who can feel overwhelmed by a demanding to-do list – life comes at us fast these days, especially as we get back into routines that may have been on hold during pandemic lockdowns. Sometimes it can feel as though there’s no end to the work we need to get done in a day.
This is when I’ve found it so helpful to turn to God, and find assurance that a mortal measurement, such as time, need not constrain our peace of mind or even our ability to accomplish what needs to get done. While it appears we are mortal beings living in a material universe and subject to the limitations of this existence, Christian Science explains that we are actually each an immortal idea of God.
As such, we have unlimited opportunities and capacities to accomplish all that comes our way. God, who is divine Mind, is never limited – this infinite Mind is omniscient (all-knowing) and ever active. As a child of God, a spiritual idea of divine Mind, each of us reflects this source of constant insight and activity.
Recognizing this spiritual reality, we find we’re able to accomplish more than we may have imagined previously – and in a more orderly, efficient, and successful fashion. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “The human mind, imbued with this spiritual understanding, becomes more elastic, is capable of greater endurance, escapes somewhat from itself, and requires less repose. A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms” (p. 128).
Jesus Christ demonstrated this in spades. His daily to-do list was his prayer “Thy will be done,” and acting on God’s guidance included curing sick people, feeding a group of thousands when not nearly enough food appeared to be available, and calming a storm while at sea. Impelled by the divine Mind, Jesus accomplished it all with patience, poise, and trust that everything would get done in the right order, in the right way, and with the right outcome.
Of course, our daily to-do lists are more modest than that. Still, as we realize that all that rightfully needs to be accomplished can be done through the wisdom and guidance of divine Mind, we too find ourselves equipped to do whatever is demanded of us and to add or remove tasks from our list at Mind’s prompting.
A friend of mine recently shared that he had been praying about a business situation. He said that while everything was not yet 100% resolved, he was grateful for the progress made on many fronts and was confident things would continue to unfold to the benefit of all involved. He was not feeling burdened by all the details of the situation. Instead, he counted all progress as an accomplishment and continued turning to God, Mind, for inspiration. This approach was empowering.
When I’m making my own “done” list each evening, one of my favorite parts is giving gratitude to God for the divine goodness I had the privilege to witness and express that day, such as the opportunity to be kind and loving, including helping others through healing prayer. The more I focus on that, the more I realize which tasks have real merit.
God has given us the ability to do what we need to with grace, insight, and creativity. Recognizing this brings the courage and wherewithal not only to tackle the items on our to-do list, but to be open to, and act on, anything divine wisdom and compassion impel us to add to that list! Then we can do all that it comes to us to do with joy, peace of mind, and confidence.