Benign Lists, Life-Taking Lists, and Life-Giving Lists

We live in a world of full of lists. We essentially have three kinds of them: benign lists, life-taking lists, and life-giving lists.

writing lists

We live in a world full of lists. We essentially have three kinds of them: benign lists, life-taking lists, and life-giving lists.

The benign lists are like our grocery lists, chore lists, or to-do lists. They’re mostly harmless unless we let the second kind of list corrupt them.

The second type of list is a life-taking list. This is the type of list we encounter the most but may not realize. It can manifest itself in many ways. For example, it can be shown through the words of an abusive parent.

  • You’re not good enough.
  • You’re such a screw up.
  • You should’ve never been born.
  • You’ll never amount to anything in life.

A life-taking list could also be shown through the words of secular magazines and news outlets that continually highlight our shortcomings.

  • Five reasons you’re alone.
  • From broke to rich in six steps.
  • Seven ways to a better bod.

With life-taking lists being so prevalent though, we often take for granted the many life-giving lists that God gives us in scripture, such as:

When God gives us lists, he means them for our good and for his glory. God’s lists aren’t always burdensome, but when they do feel arduous, he asks us to call on him for strength.

Related: When God Interrupts Your Plans

Ordinary people can come up with life-giving lists as well, but too often people-created lists end up being life-taking instead of life-giving. And even if a people-created list is life-giving, it ceases to be life-giving when we uphold it more than we uphold the lists of God.

How Should We Operate?

But all that being said, list away. God writes lists, and, of course, we want to mimic his actions. We just have to guard our hearts and remember our lists will never be more vital than the ones he’s already given us.

Question from Ben Baxter, the author.

What's on your list that matters?

Written by Ben Baxter

My name is Ben Baxter. I am a husband, father, elder, engineer, and financial coach hailing from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I am a regular contributor of personal finance and career development topics for The Birmingham News / AL.com. I am also the owner/editor of the multi-authored blog, Baxter & Friends.

2 thoughts on “Benign Lists, Life-Taking Lists, and Life-Giving Lists

  1. Man this is so good. I’m a list person, but what’s on my list doesn’t always matter… This is a good reminder for me to re-evaluate what’s happening with my time and what I’m keeping on that list!!! Thanks, Ben!

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