“What did you do right today?” (You’ll find out – keep reading)
Based on the fact that there are about 17,000,000 apps and web sites out there to manage your to-do list, many believe that the crossing off of such a list is top priority. Get ‘er done. The feeling of accomplishment and thus a sense of peace is promised at the end of the day when it’s all finished.
However, if I’m like anybody else, and I know you people are out there, I was trained from a young age to spend time at the end of each day focusing, not on what I had accomplished, but on what I had done wrong, admitting it out loud and asking God for forgiveness. No matter how much good I had given to the world, my last thoughts as I said my bedtime prayers were how I had messed up and what I hadn’t done well and who I had offended (in many cases, this happened to be the God of the universe…yikes).
This line of thinking followed me into my adult years and into my marriage. I ended most days, as did my husband, with final thoughts of how much I had done wrong. For reasons I don’t remember, one night I changed it up and asked Allen this question, “What did you do right today?” Crickets. More crickets. Finally, after several minutes, he answered with something like, “I smiled at the store clerk.” If I know him at all, he had probably been kind, sought justice, served those he worked with, and treated everyone he met with complete dignity and respect, along with all the daunting tasks he had crossed off his list.
Appalled at how much of our day was taken up with negative thinking about ourselves, we decided to make this a best practice for the end of our days. We spent time each evening before we closed our eyes to sleep asking each other this question, “What did you do right today?” Instead of only beginning our days (which I do as you can see from the picture above…it’s my actual current list for the day I write this) with a to-do list, we ended our days with a “ta-da list.”
Although this was a really nice way to end to my day, something I enjoyed even more was when I slipped into one of my children’s rooms and watched them as they slept (something that still happens from time-to-time, even though they are literally giants at this point). My heart would be filled with love, joy and peace (after all, this was mostly the only time there was peace) and no matter what had happened during the day, both good and bad, it didn’t seem to matter any more. I was completely and utterly in love with them. I was just happy at the thought of them.
To tell you the truth, this sounds a little like the God I have come to know and love. While the to-do lists and the ta-da lists matter to us, they don’t seem to matter much to Him. He has bigger things on His heart that He wants to share with us, His children. He longs for us to hear His voice in the depths of our soul as He says to us at BOTH the beginning and end of each day, regardless of either of those lists, “I will quiet you with my love. I will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) This is what brings my heart the true joy and peace that I long for.
What did you do right today? What can you say “ta-da” about? I would love for there not to be crickets this time around. Comment below and/or share the link with those who might need to hear this question as well. I am off now to check some more boxes on my to-do list.
(One last thing, please check out my WORTH THE READ page and then tell me your favorite reads. I would love to get to know you more! You can either send me a note on my WHO ARE YOU? COME SAY HI page or comment below.)
9 thoughts on “The Ta-Da List”
Thank you Esther. You and Allen both bring so much love and joy into so many lives, including my own. Finishing up another year of small group with you both reminds me of how grateful I am that we get to “do live together.” Your refreshing honesty in group and in this blog makes me smile. (“Happy Father’s Day” to Allen. You are a great dad.)
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Back at you Glenn!! You and Jo and great reminders to me of the unconditional love of God!
Ta Da List is so much better than the to do list ! My little Sophie loves to exclaim TaDa when she is showing me something she has accomplished! My grandma heart delights in her and claps with enthusiasm with every thing she brings to me with her TaDa attached ! Thanks Esther for showing me that our Father takes that same delight in all of us !i am not waiting on just things she accomplishes I delight in everything she finds joy in ! I love that He sings over us and quiets us with His love.
Last night as I rocked Sophie before putting her to bed ( after singing 15 rounds of happy birthday to ” all my People” , her favorite song ) she relaxed into my arms and her little body quieted as her breathing took on her sleepy time rhythm . It was such a sweet precious time. As the time came for me to end our bedtime ritual and put her in her crib she whispered , Mam MA hold me more ….. how could I resist. I love that is how our Father in heaven loves us. He quiets us with his love , He sings over us and delights to ” hold us more!”
As you watch over your sleeping Giants I know that the love you have for them is just a taste of the kind love that our Father has for all us.
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That is so incredibly beautiful Jo! What a perfect addition (I should say multiplication) of these same thoughts!
Loved this post Esther! Such an important re-framing for how we see our days.
So here is my very satisfying “what I did right yesterday” ta-da! Left Palmerton, Pennsylvania at 2pm to take my daughter Courtney to JFK for her flight back to Portland,Oregon (she had been in the area last week to graduate with her Vet degree). We drove the 2.5 hours to NYC to eat Ethiopian food. Got back in the car to go to JFK but of course, endless traffic and after trying every approach possible, the Queens midtown tunnel appeared to be closed. Booked it up the FDR to the RFK bridge and over to Queens and Grand Central and after 1.5 hours of somewhat (!) aggressive driving, she made her flight by 1 minute! Ta-da! A stress-filled “quality” time with my daughter (Dr. Courtney Maret!) that we will always remember! Thank you Lord!
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That is a crazy story! Amazing!! Thanks Stephen!
Thanks for a great idea Esther! We just arrived for a week at the Black Sea. By God’s grace we got into the car without experiencing any packing tension! Ta- da,!!…car was packed to the gills with 4 adults a baby and a toddler plus stuff!
Oh WOW! Packing tension is something I know all to well :). TA-DA to you!!!