What’s on Your List?

31 Oct

Why do Jack-o-lanterns have stupid smiles on their faces? You’d have a stupid smile, too, if you just had all your brains scooped out!

Pumpkin With Silly SmileLately, I’ve felt like I (Dawn) have all my brains scooped out. I’m not going to admit that it might be aging. I prefer to think that it’s being so busy, I can’t remember everything! Thank God for lists.

Websites abound with lists of popular things:  The top 10 mysterious burial sites, the top 10 ridiculous cases of political correctness, the top 10 pictures of bed bugs, the top 10 Zombie movies, the top 10 … well, you get it.

But I like lists that show progress. Remember when you were a kid, and Mom or Dad checked off your height on a growth chart? I like life growth charts.

The Word of God has much to say about our speech. Years ago, I made an exhaustive study about all the ways we use our tongue for good and evil.  That doesn’t mean I was using my tongue wisely! A few years back,  I really wanted to conquer the habit of saying critical words. 

I made a list of all the things I could do to conquer that habit, and then made a check-sheet out of it. The list included these simple goals, along with a few scriptures for meditation:

  • (1) Pray for wisdom and humility (James 1:5; 4:6; Proverbs 8:13) and live out those qualities.
  • (2) Stop comparing yourself to others (2 Corinthians 10:12).
  • (3) Be grateful for the way God made you (Psalm 139:13-16).
  • (4) Keep your words sweet and encouraging (Psalm 37:30; Proverbs 10:20-21; 15:4a; 16:21, 24)
  • (5) Please the Lord with your speech (Psalm 19:14).

Each night, before I went to bed, I checked to see if I’d made any progress that day, scoring myself on each point, writing where and why I messed up, and thanking God for any victories, no matter how small.

Over a 30-day period, I saw real growth. I haven’t completely conquered my critical tongue ~ actually, most of the times it’s a critical thought now that I won’t let escape to my lips. (I need to remember, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” ~ Luke 6:45.) But I praise God that I’m not where I was before the list!

What habit would you like to conquer? If you don’t work on it consistently, day after day, how will you change? I like to think that I cooperate with God in His ultimate goal of transforming me through the Spirit of God.

Lysa TerKeurst, in her post, “When the End Goal Seems too Hard,” had some excellent comments about daily choices and change:  “…if we start measuring our victories by the smaller choices we make each day, victory won’t seem so impossible. Big things are built one brick at a time. Victories are achieved one choice at a time. A life well lived is chosen one day at a time.” Amen, Lysa!

These days, I’m working on food choices. I don’t necessarily need a list of foods (from past meetings in Weight Watchers, etc., I know what to eat), but I do need to check on my daily progress. For those who are on that same journey, you might want to check in with Lysa from time to time. She’s writing some excellent posts about eating to the glory of God.

What are you trying to overcome? Are you working on the habit ~ working toward growth ~ every single day? As Lysa says, “Victories are achieved one choice at a time!”

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