In my previous blog, I wrote about my penchant to create to-do lists, and how I was inspired by a well-known actor to write my own “Top 10” list for the next chapter of my life. I didn’t simply throw together a list in a single sitting, but over the course of a few weeks arrived at the values and goals that resonate with me. I share this in the hope that it will inspire you to start and grow your own list. With that stated, here are six of my “Top 10”:

  • Keep God as my first focus and aim, growing in my relationship with Him.
  • Nurture my relationships with my wife Terese, our children, and grandchildren.
  • Faithfully and obediently co-operate with God in fulfilling His purpose for my life.
  • Create beautiful worship experiences, music, writing, and art that point people to God.
  • Lift up and help people, loving them as God does.
  • Bear good fruit in this life and for eternity.

My “Top 10” list didn’t just happen in a single sitting but came after three weeks of praying, reading, listening, and reflecting.  When I was done, I realized my top 10 list was about spiritual and relational matters rather than career-based goals. Interestingly, this list also became a springboard for other lists. I’m not into longhand journaling, but I realized that listing things is something I can do, so my notebook started getting filled with other lists:

  • I created a list— that now spans pages and pages —of what I love about God. Here are a few I wrote:
    • “You are my provider and healer”
    • “You are in control of my life”
    • “You are before the beginning, after the ending, and everywhere and everywhen in between”
    • “You love me with an unending, everlasting love”
  • I also have been daily updating a list of things I am thankful for, such as:
    • Bringing me through difficult times.
    • God’s care, protection, and blessing of our family, including healing. 
    • The people who have supported me in ministry through the years, especially our much-loved Grace Unleashed partners who help make this blog and much more possible.
  • Another list is the Spiritual lessons I have learned or are in process of learning. For example, I wrote:
  • “Seek the ancient path, ask for the good way and walk in it, and find rest for my soul (Jeremiah 6).
    • Remember that the Lord is always near when I call on Him (from Psalm 145).
    • Look for the doors God puts in front of me and go through them only as He leads.
  • I started a list of places I would like to see, specific ministry and music goals in my heart and mind, things I would like to do with and for my wife, family, and grandchildren, and even some financial plans and ideas. 
  • Finally, I have a list of people and prayers that come to mind. I put a date by each prayer and review the list weekly. It’s encouraging and valuable to see how God answers each one, and each week I add a “Yes!” and thank God for His faithfulness and power to answer prayers.  Our world is filled with people that need our prayers, and it is a good starting point to remember them in prayer each day, then seek God’s leading on what else He calls us to do to help them.

After just a few weeks of adding to these lists, I have experienced both the spiritual and emotional benefits of doing this. I have become more thankful, less anxious, and more aware of God’s presence and peace amid stormy and difficult times. Transferring onto paper things that are in our hearts and minds helps us celebrate God’s goodness and all the good He is doing. It also lifts the burdens of cares and worries that we sometimes carry.  With lists like these, in the future we can look back and see the transforming work that God has done in and through us.

“He who began the good work in you will see it through to completion, even to the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6)

God bless you!
Chris Atkins