In Others’ Words: Stop

Lately it seems I end each day thinking about what I didn’t accomplish and how all those undone things are piling on top of the next day’s To Do list.

I head for my bedroom, brush my teeth, wash my face, crawl into bed and snuggle next to my husband as he prays … and then I think about all that stuff.

Shoulda done this.

Shoulda done that.


Where’s the rest in that kind of thinking?

As I wound down Sunday and prepped for Monday, I found this quote by the oh-so-wise Elisabeth Elliot. I’ve always admired her for her straight-talking and for her choice to trust God — over and over again. She lives her faith out loud.

I kept reading and re-reading her words, asking: Do I make yesterday and tomorrow my business?ย 

Oh, probably.

Do I have too much to do?


Am I willing to let God direct my hand to the delete button on my oh-so-important (must) To Do list?


(I’m just being honest.)

I’ll take Elisabeth Elliot’s suggestion and start with today. I know what I’ve got to do today. Before I rush off into the 24 hours that make up Monday, January 28, 2013, I’ll stop and ask God if anything needs to be deleted … or moved to another day of the week.

In Your Words: Are you making yesterday and tomorrow your business? If your answer is yes, why do you think we do that? If you don’t — if you’ve found that live-for-today balance that eludes some of us — how do you do it?

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  1. January 28, 2013, 6:08 am   /  Reply

    I’d really like to meet someone who lives in today and doesn’t look forward and backward. Maybe if I saw what it looked like, I could do it as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 8:39 am   /  Reply

      Well, Pat, I’m trying it out for today … I’ll keep you posted.

  2. January 28, 2013, 6:33 am   /  Reply

    Man, with all three girls born w/in a week of each other in these last weeks of Jan. I’ve got to tell you I’ve been slammed! Day at a time is so completely my mantra lately.
    ~ Wendy

    • January 28, 2013, 6:58 am   /  Reply

      Oh wow! All four of my boys were born within 2 weeks of each other!! Jan 29/Feb2nd/Feb11th/Feb11th .One of those ‘boys’ is my husband. But all three of the boys were due in March.

      • Beth Vogt
        January 28, 2013, 8:40 am   /  Reply

        I applaud both of you women!
        It’s gonna be “party in the house, party in the house” for you two!

  3. January 28, 2013, 6:38 am   /  Reply

    In an Anthropology (Missions) course I’m teaching, the wonderful Beyond Gates of Splendor DVD is included and Elizabeth Elliott is one of those beautifully featured. So inspiring and such a great quote.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 8:43 am   /  Reply

      I can’t say how much I admire Elisabeth Elliot. She is such a woman of faith and truth.

  4. Jessica R. Patch
    January 28, 2013, 6:57 am   /  Reply

    I used to get irritated when God pushed pause on my to-do list for something else. I’ll be honest, my biggest pet peeve is being interrupted–which doesn’t do well for someone trying to live for God. LOL I’m getting better.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 8:44 am   /  Reply

      Me too, Jess, me too. I try to remind myself that interruptions are often exactly what God wants me to be doing — but it’s a battle of wills — His and mine.

  5. January 28, 2013, 7:02 am   /  Reply

    I pulled the plug on everything yesterday, EVERYTHING. I’d hit the wall, and the wall wasn’t going to move. So other than my daughter’s b-day dinner, and the kid who visited without my permission, I did NOTHING.
    I know when God is telling me to stop, and I know when He yanks the plug out of the wall and MAKES me stop. That was yesterday.
    I must confess, it took some health issues for me to learn how to balance everything, and I know what happens if I don’t.
    One day at a time.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 8:45 am   /  Reply

      I’ve had “pull the plug days” too.
      They are needed for my sanity — and my family’s safety … er, sanity too.

      Lot of wisdom in your comment, Jennifer.

  6. January 28, 2013, 7:04 am   /  Reply

    I definitely look ahead and am always planning. I don’t like not accomplishing what’s on my to do list today. But…God is teaching me flexibility. A little bit at a time. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to serve because I was so focused on what I thought I needed to do.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 8:45 am   /  Reply

      Excellent point, Lindsay: What do we miss if we are overscheduled?

  7. Jeanne T
    January 28, 2013, 7:28 am   /  Reply

    I’m working on living in today. As I grow older, and God’s done some healing work in my heart, I don’t look back on yesterdays as much as I used to. Not looking to tomorrows, well that’s a challenge. One thing I have found helpful for staying in today is to figure out what the one most important thing to get done and calling it a productive day if it gets done. Most of my to-do’s can go onto tomorrow’s list if they need to. This is helping me to stay more in today.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 8:46 am   /  Reply

      Ooooh, love this, Jeanne: What one thing is the important thing to get done today?

  8. January 28, 2013, 8:00 am   /  Reply

    I try to live for today, Beth, but I can’t say it was always so. A life-or-death situation with our oldest child changed my perspective. Funny how God gets our attention that way.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 8:46 am   /  Reply

      There’s a story there, for sure and certain.
      And yes, it’s “funny” — and often life changing — how God gets our attention.

  9. January 28, 2013, 8:08 am   /  Reply

    You know the expression “Don’t cry over spilled milk?” In a house with four children, and two of them toddlers, I’m often the one crying when the milk is spilled! Because it means I have yet another thing to do on my long list of “to-dos” – something I didn’t plan or make time for. Being a stay-at-home mom, half of my day is spent working on my list and the other half of my day is managing the chaos created by my kiddos. Truthfully, most days that’s completely fine – it’s what I do. But on the days that I haven’t left any room for spilled milk, I’m usually crabby and stressed out. It’s kind of hard to NOT think about tomorrow’s list – because there are just some things that can’t be left undone. If I don’t get to the dishes after supper, they will be waiting for me in the morning. If I didn’t get those two loads of laundry folded before bed, then I’ll have to do it the next day.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 8:48 am   /  Reply

      And, reality is, sweet friend, your life is going to be in this phase for quite a while … so settle in and savor what you can, ignore what you can, and let the rest go.
      You are making memories — and that is more important than any list!

  10. January 28, 2013, 8:27 am   /  Reply

    All I have to say is OUCH! This is something I definitely needed to read today.

  11. Beth Vogt
    January 28, 2013, 8:48 am   /  Reply

    You aren’t the only one who said OUCH!, Edie!

  12. January 28, 2013, 8:49 am   /  Reply

    That is an awesome quote, Beth. Your post reminds me of something my mom tells me OFTEN: God gives me enough time for what He wants me to do. I like to repeat it to myself A LOT! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 6:20 pm   /  Reply

      I will now start quoting your mom too, Melissa.

  13. January 28, 2013, 9:35 am   /  Reply

    brilliant…beautiful…helpful ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 6:20 pm   /  Reply


  14. January 28, 2013, 2:08 pm   /  Reply

    What a GREAT post to ponder, Beth. I’ve been listening to Andy Stanley’s new sermon series called “Breathing Room.” He hits head on how God intentionally worked in breathing room for us (such as the Sabboth, and the principle of not gleaning to the edge of our fields) so that we wouldn’t be worn out and end up serving out of obligation. With this post, I see that God is putting these principles in front of me with intentionality. Time for me to listen up…

  15. Beth Vogt
    January 28, 2013, 6:21 pm   /  Reply

    Oh, yes, Donna, I love it when God starts repeating himself …

  16. January 28, 2013, 6:40 pm   /  Reply

    Here I am, everyone. The gal who lives for the moment. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Okay, you can stop laughing. We all know better, but I want to. I really, really do. Just like I really want to do his will, not mine. I’m just so human these days.

    Having incremental as my word in 2012 helped a lot, but I have a ways to go with letting go of fear, which (I think) is why I jump back and forth between yesterday and tomorrow. I’m afraid to sit still with today. Maybe that’s why ponder is 2013’s word. Mmmmm …

    Love this post and its writer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 9:00 pm   /  Reply

      And I love you right back, Kim.
      I do. I do.

  17. Renee
    January 28, 2013, 8:49 pm   /  Reply

    Listening in silence to get detailed instruction for the day.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 28, 2013, 9:00 pm   /  Reply

      Thanks for joining the conversation today, Renee!

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