My “I’m-never-going-to-get-to-it” list

“I tell you what, how about I take you out for a MacDonald’s milkshake this week!”

“Oh, yes, Daddy. When?”

“This week sometime.”

“But when this week?”

“OK, how about Thursday?”

“But when on Thursday?”

“Eh, 4pm?”

“Great! Thanks Daddy.”

We’ve all had similar conversations, haven’t we. Kids sure know how to schedule their “to-do’s.”

When Peter Bregman’s wife told him a similar story, it transformed the way he managed his to-do list. Every evening, he would go through the same Q&A with his wife:

“O, Hi honey! How did your day go?”

“Well, I got a lot done, I suppose, but not as much as I would have liked.” [Sound familiar?]

One day she gently suggested that maybe, just maybe, he was being unrealistic in his expectations.

She was right, of course. His to-do list had become so long that it had become more like an I’m-never-going-to-get-to-it list.

The solution?

A child’s question: “When tomorrow?”

In it, Bregman found a formula for turning an intention into an action. He calls it “the power of when and where.” He says: “Decide when and where you will do something, and the likelihood that you’ll follow through increases dramatically.” He expounds further:

So, once you’ve got your list of things to do, take your calendar, and decide when and where you are going to do your to-do’s. Schedule each to-do into a time slot, placing the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day. And by the beginning of the day I mean, if possible, before even checking your email. That will make it most likely that you’ll accomplish what you need to and feel good at the end of the day.

Since your entire to-do list will not fit into your calendar — and I can assure you that it won’t — you need to prioritize your list for that day. What is it that really needs to get done today? What important items have you been ignoring? Where can you slot those things into your schedule? Then, once you schedule an item, cross it off your list.

“When tomorrow” turns “I’m-never-going-to-get-to-it” lists into “to-done” lists.

(I’m hoping).

 


Can we redeem self-esteem?

Deeply rooted self-doubt and self-criticism will often emerge and strengthen during a depression. Depressed people often feel useless and worthless. They have low self-esteem. What should we do to address this?

Some Christians are reluctant to give people any praise or encouragement because of the risk of making a person proud. However, it is safe to say that pride is one of the least risky vices for someone who is depressed. Pride results from having an overinflated view of oneself. Depression usually results in the opposite.

Other Christians misconstrue the doctrine of original sin and total depravity to mean that there is no kind of good in anyone and fail to say anything positive to the depressed person. However, without minimizing the wickedness of the human heart and without denying our inability to do anything pleasing to God apart from faith in Christ, we should feel free to encourage depressed people to have a more realistic view of themselves by highlighting their God-given gifts, their contributions to the lives of others, their usefulness in society, and, if they are Christians, their value to the church.

For example, a depressed young mother may feel like a total failure in every area of her life because she doesn’t have a perfect home or perfect children. We can help such a person see that she achieves a lot in a day, even though she might not manage to do everything she would like. We might remind her of all the meals she makes, clothes she washes and irons, and the shopping she manages, helping her see herself and her life in a more accurate and realistic light. Arie Elshout comments:

It is wrong to pat ourselves on the back when something has been accomplished as a result of our initiative. It is equally wrong, however, to focus on what we have not accomplished. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 we have a clear example of humility accompanied with a healthy opinion of one’s accomplishments: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Paul knew very well that he daily offended in many things (James 3:2; cf. Rom. 7; Phil. 3:12), and yet he did not go so far as to cast out all his accomplishments. I do not believe that this is God’s will. In contrast to sinful forms of self-confidence and self-respect, there are also those that are good, necessary, and useful.

Without a healthy sense of these, human beings cannot function well. We may pray for an appropriate sense of self-confidence and self-respect, clothed in true humility, and we must oppose everything that impedes a healthy development of these things (be it in ourselves or others) with the Word of God (Overcoming Spiritual Depression, 32–33).

Edited extract from Christians get depressed too. Available at RHB and Ligonier. Kindle version here.


Was Adam a real man?



Download here.

In this week’s podcast, Tim and I discuss the trend in some evangelical and Reformed circles to question the historicity of Adam. We talk about who’s saying what, the evidence for a historical Adam, and the serious theological and practical consequences of denying his existence.

If you want to read more about this issue, here’s a pdf of an address I gave at the Keech Conference last year.


CrossReference: Three Men


Here’s the fourth in our preview series of ten films on the Old Testament appearances of Christ in the Old Testament.

The first two videos will be permanently available online. (Episode 1, Episode 2). The remaining episodes will be released once a week for the next seven  weeks. Each of them will be available for online viewing for seven days.

Visit Ligonier or Reformation Heritage Books to order a DVD of all ten films and a Study Guide, or download the films in HD from HeadHeartHand Media ($5).

Here’s a sample of the Study Guide.

We thought we’d try a bit of an experiment with this series (hope it works!) Instead of seeking endorsements and commendations from well-known speakers and writers, this time we thought we’d simply launch the films and seek endorsements from “ordinary” people who actually benefited from watching them. So, if you want to endorse or commend the films to others, please leave a message in the comments, or visit our Facebook page and leave a comment or send us a Facebook message.


Last chance to watch Episode 3!

This is your last chance to watch Episode 3 of CrossReference: The Angel of the Lord. From tomorrow, the link will take you to Episode 1, which will remain live together with Episode 2.

Episode 4, Three Men, will be released tomorrow and will also be available for viewing for seven days. The remaining episodes will be released every Wednesday for the next seven weeks.

Visit Ligonier or Reformation Heritage Books to order a DVD of all ten films and a Study Guide, or download the films in HD from HeadHeartHand Media ($5).

Here’s a sample of the Study Guide.

Instead of seeking endorsements and commendations from well-known speakers and writers, this time we thought we’d simply launch the films and seek endorsements from “ordinary” people who actually benefited from watching them. So, if you want to endorse or commend the films to others, please leave a message in the comments, or visit our Facebook page and leave a comment or send us a Facebook message.