December 29, 2021

Stop Doing List

Written by Boyd Bailey

“Worry works itself out of a job when we work out our bodies, feed our minds, heal our emotions and rest our souls.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 29, 2021

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

One of my weaknesses is having more ideas than I have the capacity to implement. In fact, to protect myself from myself, my colleagues at work and my family at home have permission to ask me a specific question at any time. Especially when they see me setting more goals than we can execute with excellence. Here is the question, “Boyd, are you sure?” Are you sure you have time? Are you sure we need to add another project before we complete the current project? Are you sure we have the adequate resources to see this through to the end? Along with this helpful question is a process I started a few years ago at the beginning of the year. With discipline and honesty, I take inventory of my schedule by asking, “What should I stop doing?” And then I stop.

American culture is plagued by hyperactivity without productivity. We think being busy equals importance or a frantic pace is a path to success. Like a pack mule loaded down with an overabundance of supplies, we pack our calendar to the breaking point. We play mind games with ourselves that busyness is what’s best for our family, when in fact the real outcomes are: relational emptiness, health challenges and irritable emotions. We even justify being overactive for Jesus.

Perhaps a wiser start to the year is a stop doing list. As Jesus instructed Martha, we need to take an inventory of our activities and ask what is really needed. What has served its purpose for a season, but is now unnecessary, even an obstacle to what’s best? Let go of emotional attachments and embrace some margin for meaningful relationships. Is it time to stop a sports program, a long commute or a tired volunteer role? Become better with contemplation and strategic availability.

“When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake” (Matthew 8:18).

It takes courage to take the route trafficked infrequently, but the ride is less stressful and more enjoyable. Avoid going where everyone else is going; nowhere fast. A fast track is too fast when it starves our faith. We find ourselves with very little leftover time for prayer, Bible study, worship and community. Give what’s important first priority on the calendar. Worry works itself out of a job when we work out our bodies, feed our minds, heal our emotions and rest our souls.

By faith stop doing something each week or month that has passed its prime time. Be patient not to rush and fill a gap in your calendar already crowded with appointments. Blocks of discretionary time give you availability for spontaneous service. Take a step back from the myopic view of trees bunched together, so you can see the imaginative forest of faith. Anyone can be busy, some can be productive, but few walk by faith and watch God do more. Stop doing good to do better.

“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).


Heavenly Father, give me the faith to let go of the good, so I can enjoy Your best, through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen.


What are one or two activities I can stop doing this year to focus on quality relationships?

Related Reading

Psalm 61:4; Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 8:41-43; Philippians 3:13

Worship Resource

The Porter’s Gate feat. Latifah Alattas & Paul Zach: Drive Out the Darkness


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