We begin this week with chapter 10: Replacing Bad Habits with Good. On page 192 - the author mentions a strategy to help her with replacing her bad habits with good ones - she says to herself (right at the moment where the bad habit could overtake the good) - "Finish what you start!" Sometimes I find myself rushing and cutting corners. My closet can get very cluttered throughout the week. I tend to throw clothes down when I've decided not to where something or my shoes are left on the floor instead of putting them back on the shelf.
In more extreme cases where I begin to doubt my ability - I love where she reminds us about Scripture memorization. On page 200, it says, "Every time a negative thought arises, use it as a cue to research the truth about what God says about you." One of my favorite Bible verses is Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. This verse played a huge role in my life when my son was young (and really played a part in both of my kids' lives and continues to do it today). But it really started with my son. He was in speech therapy. He stutters and by early elementary we came to realization this wasn't an easy fix; it was going to be life long. While I was blessed to have 2 healthy children - I still had this pressure to 'fix' my son. And to make a really long story short - I had to lean on Jeremiah 29:11. God had the plan - I had to give my worry to Him. I had to trust that even if my son stuttered forever that God had a plan and it was for good. It didn't mean that we shouldn't take him to speech therapy - it just meant - I didn't have control over this situation. The therapist didn't have a magic wand. It was really in God's hands. And that really set in motion how I parented.
Do you have a life verse that you are reminded daily of?
Chapter 11 talks about Willpower. We all have something in which we lack willpower? One area I lack willpower is sweets....love desserts....specifically chocolate. If I have a bag of chocolate candy - I will usually indulge...
What is one area of your life that you lack willpower?
I just recently read this - don't trade your treasures for momentary pleasure. I was reading the story of twins Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25. Esau gave up his birthright for a pot of stew. Sounds kind of crazy - who would do something so foolish? But we all do foolish things for short term pleasure. Kids will rush through homework so they can play. Or rush through a test instead of taking the entire time. What about trading the treasure of reading your Bible over 15 minutes of extra sleep in the morning? Is there something you have traded for temporary pleasure?
Chapter 12 the author talks about time management. I am a freak over time. Usually if I'm late to something - it's because I've already scheduled it that way. But it's a good reminder for me on page 232 - the author tells us - Only God has control over time.....we are just the managers.
On page 237 & 238 there are common time wasters.
Which one is most common to you? Surfing the internet and checking email can be a huge time waster for me. I get so many emails - sifting through each one can take a long time. Then an email could lead me to internet surfing...so instead of continuing cleaning out my email - I am now searching for home decorating ideas.
Here is what I took away from chapter 12 - on page 241 is says - "remember to put your most important tasks first on your agenda" and "Guard your morning time jealously and put off smaller, less mentally taxing work until later in the day". My brain starts checking out about 3 or 4:00. So this is a perfect reminder for me. I was never the person that could pull all nighters in college. I think I did it once - and I retained nothing. Morning and early afternoon are definitely the best times for me to focus on work that requires a lot of mental focus.
We are approaching our last week. Don't stop! Even if you are tempted to stop reading - keep going. While I didn't relate to everything in this book - there were some great reminders that I know I can use in my daily life.
This week we are focusing on chapters 7 - 9
In chapter 7 it talks about busyness. While I try to keep my busyness in check - I still find myself busying with things that shout for my attention. On page 184 - the author talks about quiet priorities - the ones that don’t shout for my immediate attention. Think about your own weekly and daily schedule. What are some things that consistently shout for your immediate attention? I try not to stay glued to my phone and social media doesn’t have a role in my life, but there are times when I am focused on emails that are needing my attention. Other needs that keep me away from the quiet priorities are dirty dishes, or a cluttered house.
What about those quiet priorities that get pushed aside? Reading the Bible? Quiet time with God?
This quote on page 185 says it all - “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
I feel like chapter 8 was speaking right to me. Do you ever feel that too many things are battling for your attention? There are days I feel so scattered - I can’t think straight. I am in information overload. I need down time. I can not keep going without pulling away from all of the ‘noise’. I become mentally drained. My natural mind is distracted with everything shouting at me. On page 218 - the author teaches us how to access our mind of Christ so we can hear the wisdom of God: stop working; sit quietly; allow God to give you His clarity. When is your best time of day where you have the most mental clarity? Mine is definitely in the morning. By mid- afternoon, I begin to shut down. I try to avoid unnecessary meetings in the evening. I wouldn’t consider joining a small group at night. While some decisions may disappoint others, I know I have my limits.
In chapter 9 on page 223 the author asks - How do we know when we’re in an unhealthy pursuit of perfection? I didn’t think I was that bad until I answered every question with a yes. So when you are faced with a task and your inner voice is shouting at you with critical thoughts - ask yourself - are you being driven by fear or guided by God? Do you hear a condemning voice? Or, do you hear the loving voice of God? One thing I took away from this chapter was to trust God. I might not always succeed to the world’s standards but God knows the bigger plan and I have to trust Him.
This week we are focusing on chapters 4 - 6. If you are still reading, no worries - keep plugging away. When I began reading this book, my first reaction was “I don’t know if I will connect to this book”, but the more I read - the more I realized there is so much to get out of it. So - keep reading if those thoughts creep in your head.
Let’s look back in chapter 4. The author talks about the cost you may face as a result of procrastination. The author mentions several. As I've mentioned - I never thought of myself as a procrastinator, because I always want to get the job done and done well particularly when it affects others. But I tend to play it safe. I always want to look capable and competent. And that could potentially hold me back from unmet potential and fulfilling my calling God has called for my life.
Think about in your own life what cost you have faced or could face as a result of procrastination.
I am going to skip right to chapter 6 because the topic of fear is big. Did you know that ‘Do not be afraid’ is mentioned 365 times in the Bible? Even though I trust God, I still have fears. Do you trust God's promises, but question His process? Sometimes I wonder if I do that.
The fear of being incompetent or not smart enough definitely keeps me from taking on certain projects. If I don’t know what I am doing - I feel defeated. I recently took on a particular role at work - leading this support group and I basically felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I don’t like taking on something that I don’t feel qualified to take on. I am a problem solver - I need to have an answer. I need to have it figured out. I finally had to stop and pray and seek God’s guidance and admit I couldn't do this without Him. Do you ever try to do something that you know you can't do alone but you are still trying?
Spend a few minutes thinking about hidden fears that you may have, fears that might be causing you to procrastinate, fears that may be keeping you from discovering your gifts that God has given you.
I just completed the first 3 chapters. And in those 3 chapters I have discovered that I am a procrastinator. I am a pretty organized person, and I have pretty good boundaries so that I don’t over commit. But it is very difficult for me to focus on what matters (like reading my Bible daily, or reading this book). I have difficulty quieting my mind and turning all focus on what really matters when I have 5 tasks shouting at me “you need to get this done”. I can get easily distracted. Most people don’t realize it because I always get the job done, at work, at home. Most of the time, I fulfill my commitments and complete my tasks. But during that process I feel like I am running in circles trying to decide what to do first. My brain is jumping from one thing to the next. And there is always a new distraction.
I came home this afternoon and quickly began to finish up the 3rd chapter, so that I could begin writing this post. Within 5 minutes I receive a text from my daughter saying she needs a black headband for her volleyball game this evening. So I jump up and grab it so I don’t forget it. Five minutes later - Distraction #2, the UPS man came to my door to drop off a package and my dog was going crazy. Distraction #3, my husband comes in the door right after and is telling me about his day. And then it was time to dart out the door for the volleyball game. Sometimes I feel like I am a ping pong ball bouncing from one place to the next.
On page 43 it says - “A wise woman knows when it’s time to put the brakes on a project and turn to the needs God has placed in front of her. ” This is a constant challenge for me, particularly when my week is insanely busy.
Here is a question for you - What is the main thing that might be keeping you from turning to the needs that God has placed in front of you?
And what is one thing you can take away from these first 3 chapters?
To make a comment click on the green 'Week 2: September 14' above.
Hi everyone - welcome to the first week of online Bible study. I hope everyone has had a chance to get your book - Taming The To-Do List. And don't forget to signup with Proverbs 31 Ministries.
So here is a question for you. What do you want to get out of this study? I have listed 5 reasons that I copied from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Look through the list or maybe you have your own reason why you are doing this study and share.
5 Reasons “To-Do” This Bible Study
For me it's identifying God's priorities for my life. I consider myself someone who prioritizes pretty well...I think I have it under control. I am good at saying no when I can't add anything else to my schedule. But I really need to ask myself - the priorities in my life - are they mine or God's? I really want to search and pray about that during these few weeks.
I look forward to hearing from you all! And remember if you begin to fall behind in your reading, no worries. This is the no guilt zone! Just don't give up! Read at your own pace.
Have a blessed week!
P.S. To make a comment click on the green "Week 1-September 8th" above.
Hi everyone - this is Kim Lewerenz. I am on staff at Trinity and will be leading Trinity's online discussion blog for the Proverbs 31 Ministries online Bible study called Taming The To-Do List. September 8 - October 9.
I am really excited to be able to chat with you each week! You don't have to be a Trinity member to join our discussion, so please invite a friend! The first post will be on September 8. And then every Monday I will post something new so please feel free to join in.