I love lists. I am a listophiliac. I’m sure this is not the correct terminology for a lover of lists; no doubt one of you good WordPress people will forward me the correct word. Or even better a list of such words. My love of lists is born out of fear; a fear of forgetting important information and appointments due to my appalling memory. It keeps letting me down and I keep letting people down. Which I hate. So I compile lists, which I love.

Lists of things to do. Lists of places to be. Lists of people to talk to. My lust for lists knows no bounds. I maintain a list of all my son’s rugby results. I keep lists of all my training runs. Including pace, elevation and calories burnt no less. And I have started a list of Netflix shows that Fionnuala and I intend to watch this year. We’ve just finished Manhunt:Unabomber by the way which was excellent. Just thought I’d share that with you all. You’re welcome.

I’ve started reminding Fionnuala of upcoming events, a previously unheard of phenomenon. This pleases me no end but probably just adds to her (ahem) list of annoying features about her husband. There is nothing more satisfying than scoring a completed task off a list. My future is scheduled and organised. I know what I have to do every day both inside and outside of work. I have become a more effective and efficient member of society as a result. I hope it has made me a better husband and father. God loves a trier and I am trying. Very trying at times.

None of us know what the future holds but at least with lists we can be better prepared. It’s akin to a gladiator entering the arena without his shield or his net. I’ve never quite worked out the whole gladiator net thing. If I was about to face my almost certain horrific death in front of a baying, bloodthirsty crowd my ‘go to’ weapon would in all likelihood not be a net. Nets are for fishing. Swords and axes are for fighting. Or at the very least a decent spear. But anyway what do I know. Stevius Blackius I am most certainly not.

On my command unleash lists. Did you see what I did there movie fans? My problem is I also keep lists of past events as well as future ones. Lists of people who have offended me, lists of past transgressions, lists of events which remind me of what an abject human being I am. Lists of shame and blame. Lists about lists. Lists which bog me down and tangle me up as opposed to bring structure and focus. Lists are like ladders. They can carry you to the summit of where you need to be but miss a rung and you come clattering back to earth with an almighty thump.

My lists from the past are like that rickety old ladder. They cannot be trusted and often leave me battered and bruised, sitting on my backside staring up at the sky. They are negative and self-defeating. They needed crumpled up and chucked in the garbage heap. They chain me down from where I need to be. The present. For it is the passport to our better futures. Unless we deal with what is around us now we will never unlock the doorway to tomorrow. It’s not called the present for nothing. It is a gift, a blessing. Just sitting patiently in front of us waiting to be unwrapped.

We need to maintain a presence in our present. We need to look up from our personal organisers and diaries and take stock of the here and now. Just for one second resist the lure of the list. Desist and consider your immediate surroundings. Now what do you see? A friend or work colleague who is struggling and in need of a helping hand. A relative out on their feet through sickness or exhaustion who needs you to be with them. Instead of sitting with your nose buried in a list, plotting your future or ruminating over the past.

Yes, lists can be a saving grace but you really should be saving your grace for today. Right now. Lists are a double edged sword that can inflict paper cuts to our current relationships. They can suck you out of your present where you are needed into a past where you no longer belong. You are prolonging unwanted and unnecessary pain. A past that needs to be buried once and for all. Not exhumed and picked over like the rotting, decaying corpse that it is. There is a reason the past is the past. In fact there are many. We need to remember that. Write them down if necessary. Even if that involves starting another list.

Are you a list maker? Are they a help or a hindrance to you?

What do you like or dislike about AFracturedFaith? Send us a list. We are always seeking to improve and your comments are always welcome.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

87 thoughts on “Lists

  1. I too have lists through fear of forgetting things. If it is written down then i can relax as i will not forget it. The only slight downside is that sometimes on my days off, having spent all the time ticking off those chores on a list, i go back to work feeling like i have not been off and a slave to the list!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s always a pleasure reading AFracturedFaith! Lists really do help. I’ve been maintaining a notebook, too, since you blogged about how it helps you, and lists are literally AWESOME. I have many, too. I love use of alliteration in this and the casualty of this blog! πŸ˜› Thank you! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate lists, but find myself often using bulleted or numbered lists to explain things in my writing. You love them but don’t use them in your writing. I make no point here – the irony strikes me as amusing though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I make lists and then lose the list…Sigh. Usually I just leave random notes scattered across my desk: “Do this…Phone them…Pay that…” And then I put stuff down on top of the reminders. Shopping lists are my only success…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I find your blogging very interesting. You have a variety of topics and you always leave me thinking about these varied ideas I may not agree or disagree but I certainly am left with questions to seek answers for.

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  6. Fabulous post; I also love a list. Just I am mostly too disorganised to find the time to write/type one πŸ˜–

    Thank goodness we are not all the same! Thrilled you have your shield as you enter the ring of 2018; those chains on the big cats could always snap so you do need to be vaguely prepared.

    The presence in the here and now – how relevant you should mention this. Counsellor has just told me how to override the learner behaviour anxiety which occasionally rudely interrupts an otherwise perfectly ordinary day. She says to concentrate on the colours and sights and sounds of everything I do in that second (blue empty mug from shelf, clattering as reach for a teaspoon from the drawer which sticks as your hip attempts to push close) ….

    Have a great spring you guys. And those rugby scores? Devour the memory of him running, throwing, shouting across the pitch, refining his skills, receiving Man of the Match, scoring a try and not noticing how the mud almost freezes to his ears when the adrenalin flows…. because one day he will no longer play The Best Game On The Planet πŸ€—


  7. Lists are great if you put the right thing on them. I tarted making lists, but have stopped and need to start again. I think I’ll put make a list on my list next time! Then I need to put a note somewhere to make sure I look at my list. Does that go on my list, or do I make another list to tell me to look at my list each day? I also need a list of my lists so I don’t forget to list the lists that I need to look at very day. Oh, my., maybe I better not do a list after all.

    Great post as always! Be blessed.


  8. I’m an obsessive lister. I will make a list just to make a list. My biggest obstacle is actually accomplishing the tasks on my lists. Instead of a daily to-do, I started a running to-do list. Just a list of things I need to do and I cross them off as I go. I know what my daily to-dos are, it’s the other tasks I need to take of. It’s been working for me so far.


          1. I run, but not for races. I keep a running to-do list – as in one list of things I need to do and I look at that one list everyday instead of a daily list. That way if I didn’t do something say on Saturday, it’s still on the list I’m looking at on Monday. Like a running total, but a to-do list.


  9. I love this! Lists give me so much motivation but if I am having a bad week, and I don’t accomplish anything on my list, I feel terrible about myself. Like you said, it is a double edged sword, and I don’t know what side I will be on half the time.

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  10. I’m constantly making to-do lists and updating them. I even write on tasks that I’ve already done, just to cross them off so the list is complete! I’m always losing the bits of paper though, so now have a section in my diary. I need lists to remember what needs to be done, but when I’m having a β€˜black’ day, I’m super unproductive and lists make me feel worse. On good days though, they keep me really motivated and productive.


      1. I used to have them a lot and they would turn into black weeks, but I’ve only had a handful this year and I can normally get myself out of them in a day/couple of days. Trying more positive affirmations and practices for the New Year and it seems to be helping loads ☺️


          1. Massively. I’m awful at talking about things- I either get very emotional, stuttery or just clam up. Have always struggling explaining myself. I’m much more articulate when I write and find it so much easier to write through things. I’m more comfortable telling it through writing.


  11. I need to make lists of my to do’s. Currently I keep them in my head, and more often than not nothing is getting crossed out. Mainly because I can’t remember those invisible lists.

    I need, as most of do, to work on that other list. The ones of blame and wrongdoing. Especially from particular people. Thank you Jesus for those who call out our flaws in love!


  12. I love a good list and so does T, passing it down to her is a good thing I think! We make lists for Christmas, birthdays, playdates, days out, the list is endless, see what I did there πŸ˜‚ I’d much rather be a list maker than wing it, for my sanity and my husband’s I’ll be making lists for a long time to come!


  13. I used to make lists when I was a multi-tasker, but not now. I feel physically sick when I am forced to dwell on a past that doesn’t exist. “Rotting, decaying corpse,” is an apt metaphor.


  14. I am not one for lists. My life is so ordered and routine at the moment i think having list to work through would really make things a little worse at the moment. There a plenty of things i want to bury and get out the way. Possibly a list would be good just to see them in black and white as it were. For the moment i think i will pass…… Fractured faith blog does not need improving in my eyes. You have wonderful content and wide range of subjects that you cover. I especially appreciate the help and support you have given me over the last couple of months. You may not think that your blogs or comments help but they most certainly do.


  15. I also love lists! I mostly just do them when I’m bored. I make to-do lists, grocery, and “wal-mart-esque” lists. Then I have to send myself an email and leave it unread, until I check my lists.. thats just how forgetful I am.. I make lists, then I forget them. A blessing and a curse really lol. They’re helpful when I remember them, and I am not so compulsive about them because I forget them *shrugs*.

    What I love about AFracturedFaith:

    Keep up the great posts!


  16. I have only one item on my list: to be happy.

    To be happy I set out to make other’s laugh, smile – be happy.

    Their happiness then becomes my happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m currently composing 2-3 lists. It’s because I have A LOT to do and everything seems crucial. I really like crossing things off the list. It makes me feel accomplished. A visual validation if you will. “To-dos” are really my only lists.


  18. I used to use lists as a way to simulate control…someone even bought me a book called “Listography” and I love the way it is laid out and how bright and shiny it is…but I’ve never used it. I have used the reminders app on my phone, I’ve used the calendar app, I’ve used two different paper planners {one for my desk and one for my purse}, sometimes all four of them at the same time. I’ve written down or stored in an app when I need to clean the house, when I need to check my son’s grades online, when I need to exercise and at what time, etc etc etc. I discovered that all it made me feel was harried and anxious and because I felt that way, I didn’t do any of the things I needed to do. I’ve tried to pare that down a bit and I use my phone for calendar events and reminders. I love to read so I use Goodreads for my books and I usually will add movies or tv shows that I want to watch to imdb, otherwise I’ll forget about them. I try to not control things so much anymore and it leaves so much more time for things I really enjoy. I try πŸ™‚


      1. I’m learning to let go of my perceived need for perfectionism and part of that is doing away with being too hard on myself πŸ™‚ It’s all part of the process πŸ™‚


  19. I used to have a really, really good memory, no need for lists. When I became of a woman of a certain age, as they say, my memory was not as sharp as it once was. I hate to let others down too, so I started to make lists as well. But after not too long I realized that I could not ever remember where I put the list. I would carry it around so as to have it at hand when I thought of something that needed to go on the list. But then I would put it down someplace and forget where. I still really like lists and often start one, but I don’t count on a list as a memory aid anymore unless I put it on my phone. When I put my phone down and forget where I can call myself to find it.


  20. Over the years I’ve begun to grow fonder of making lists.

    I love the connection a physical list to a mental one or one worn on the heart. It is so true! We should guard our heart of course, but letting weeds grow there won’t help at all. πŸ™‚


  21. I structure my life around lists, because quite frankly there is too much going on for me to remember everything I wish to do, trying to rely on my memory often leaves me frazzled and frustrated. I love the satisfaction of completing an item on a list, particularly at work. I plan my work, so that if someone attempts to interrupt me with something I don’t wish to do at that time, I can point that my planner and show I’m busy, it helps me to see how much work I have completed, stops me from forgetting vital project tasks and I LOVE them. I feel calm when I am organised. However when it comes to writing, exploring and generally feeling freedom, I release myself from the shackles of the list. I venture and write freely and as the heart takes me, lists in these aspects hold me back, too structured, not allowing for spontaneity. I love lists for when I need to be sharp and professional, but love to throw them out the window when I wish to run wild.


  22. I was not a list-maker until recently, when I started to forget what I went to the store for, or kept forgetting what I had to do. But, I am not a list reader, which means I still have problems. Now, I send myself emails.


  23. oh yes, like you I am a list maker, sometimes I think I make lists for my lists. lol Now I have a name for it – listophiliac. I thank God for the invention of post it notes and note pads that are already numbered for our todo lists. I have already started my Christmas list for this year. πŸ™‚ 1. on my list of why I like your blog is your love of God and to see Him working in your life. 2. Your sense of humor. Reminds me of my dad. 3. the love you have for your family and their love for you….those are my top three! God bless you ~


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