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Check, Check, Check, Check

I love my checklists. I live my life mostly attached to my Treo, which runs the Remember the Milk application that links to my Google Calendar account, which displays on my Gmail start page, which is also linked to my Exchange server so that I can see it at work. Is it weird to wake up at 3am, reach for your phone and add something to your to-do list so that in the morning you won’t forget? OK, writing that out makes me realize that yes… it is weird. I also carry around a black leather moleskine, that I use to keep a weekly checklist on. My beautiful moleskine gives me the power to take a red pen and mark out those things that I have beaten throughout my week. And yes, I do not finish projects. I beat them into submission by completing them. They are owned by me.

The problem with being such a checklist-oriented person, is that I have a tendency to put people on my checklist. Like I might go home and be with my family, thinking that I need to hit the checklist of a great Dad. You know, great Dad’s play with their kids, check…eat dinner with family, check…build towers out of Lego’s, check…drink tea with your daughter while wearing a pink hat, check… But these aren’t tasks to be completed. It’s tempting to complete them out of an obligation to being who I “think” I should do. I want them to be done out of an overflow of love that I feel towards them.

I do the same with God. Here’s some honesty that might make you uncomfortable, but sometimes I’m happy on the inside knowing that I read my Bible that day. Not that I learned anything, but I was a good Christian and I read something. “Aren’t I responsible for reading my Bible? I’m such a great Christian…” I’ve been doing a New Testament reading program all through 2008, and I’ve gotten an unhealthy addiction to checking off what chapters I’ve read and counting down how many more I have to go.

It’s a sickness that I am asking myself to overcome, with God’s help. I will do the things that need to be done because of my great love for what God has done for me through his Son Jesus. I will love my family out of an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards God for the gift they are to my life. I will. I will. Thankfully I’m not alone. I will.

Romans 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress,
or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is
written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as
sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor
angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor
height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Kelly · December 4, 2008

    Good post.

    Especially convicting since I wrote out tomorrow’s checklist immediately before reading it. Thanks.

  2. Kenny · June 8, 2009

    Read Jonathan’s bog post for today…. check.

    Kenny ´s last blog post..Google Wave: A new tool for innovation