Don’t Check Jesus off Your List

I’m a list person. Each morning, I write out a list of things that l need to get done that day. Laundry, an art job for someone, music practice, clean the house for company, write a blog post. . . Each day there’s a list, with tasks varying from trivial to super important.


I love the feeling of checking tasks off. It makes me feel productive. It motivates me to get things done. Anyone else out there love lists?

My biggest list, probably like many of you, is made in January. The new year encourages us to create new goals and begin new projects. It’s like having a fresh, sparkling white piece of paper in front of us. It’s a list-maker’s dream come true. We want to start our year on the right foot. So we try to make things happen.

Work out more.
Read fifteen new books.
Read my Bible more.

We can’t wait to see a checkmark by everything on our list, right?

Goals are great things, but I’ve found that when I get caught up in the check-it-off mentality, my relationship with Jesus becomes a religion instead of a relationship. Clean your room. Check. Finish that school assignment. Check. Spend time with the Creator of the universe who knows how many hairs are on my head. Check. Clean out the . . . WAIT, WHAT? See what happened? Time invested in knowing my Savior can become a normal, check-it-off-the-list task. Something I do just so I can move on to the next obligation. But . . .

Jesus is not an obligation.

Duty vs. Delight

Let me paint a word picture for you. You just met someone at a coffee shop that you really like. You want to get to know them. You want to understand who they are. You want to learn about their likes, dislikes, what they love, how they live, and where they work. So you invest in the relationship.

It’s the same way with Jesus. How can I expect to fall in love with Him if I don’t invest time into my relationship with Him? He’s already invested His life (which He sacrificed for this relationship). But if reading His Word and spending time with Him is just another checkbox, it becomes a duty, not a delight.

So how? How can we make our quiet time a time of deep connection with our Savior instead of a checked-task on our to-do list? Here are three ideas.

1. Act your way into feeling.

Don’t just go through the motions. Don’t rush through a list of prayer requests and move on to the Psalm of the day to skim it for inspiration. Ask God to show you the truth, and resist the temptation to close the Bible just because you’ve got to move on to the next thing on your list.

2. Get up early and make this the first thing you do.

When we go out of our way to invest in this heavenly relationship, instead of squeezing it in sometime between making dinner and writing that blog post, He becomes the priority.

3. Remember who you’re getting to meet with.

This is not a friend from California. This. Is. Jesus. Christ. The owner of every single inch of everything. The Creator of each tiny vein in your incredibly built body. The designer of each star. The One who died for each of us and came back to life! We get to talk to Him—and not just cordial conversation but deep, inspiring, convicting, rejuvenating time with Him. This is not an obligation. This is the most incredible gift.

So what about you? Are you a list person? What are some ways you’ve learned to keep your quiet time a delight and not a duty? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

About Author

Liza Proch

As a Jesus-follower, blog-loving writer, and coffee-drinker, Liza is constantly looking for new ways to inspire and encourage other young women in their walk with Christ. She recently launched a hand lettering company and blog of her own (, and lives in the sunny hill country of Texas where she's in a band with her three brothers.

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  • Amanda

    I was like you. I started to think that I needed to read the Bible, for I felt guilty when I didn’t. But it’s not a relationship like that. Then I understood, Jesus is not an obligation, but He’s the best choice we could ever do in our day. (Hi, I’m Brazilian and I love this site)

    • Morgan

      I struggle with the same thing nowadays. It’s hard to find a line between not being religious and not being lazy, y’know?

  • Yes, definitely something I struggle with as well, checking Jesus off my list. I’ve found that I need to change my mindset from “I have to do this” to “I GET to do this and it’s a great privilege” Thanks for sharing Liza 🙂

  • Libby

    I am a for sure list-checker-offer kind of person. One thing I’ve found to be helpful in my devo time is to make sure to set aside time to pray. When I neglect prayer or rush through a prayer, I tend to skim over passages of Scripture without really taking to heart the meaning. “Ok, on to the next thing”. When I take ample time to talk to God, however, I connect with Him in a way that lasts throughout the whole day and I care more about what I’m reading.
    Thank you for this post – I need to be reminded of this.

  • H.

    Thanks for this reminder! This is a pitfall for me too. When I become aware that I’ve lacked some real contact with God, and have just been going through the motions, I usually take the time to sit down and just enjoy being His child, being redeemed and forgiven. It’s always such a good time!

    I’ve also got a question. I would love to spend a part of my summer holiday with other people that love the Lord and would like to study the Word. However, I can’t find anything like that in Europe (I live in Holland). Do you know of any Summer Bible Conference? Or maybe some other Europeans who read this would like to have a meaningful holiday? There is a lot for teenagers, but nothing really for 20-30 year old people.

    • We aren’t aware of any off the top of our heads, H. We wonder if you might check with Precept Ministries to see if they have anything going on in Europe during the summer. They are a worldwide ministry and learning how to study the Bible inductively with them could be a life-changer for you! Here is a link to their website:

      • H.

        Thank you for pointing me towards Precept Ministries. I had not heard of this organisation, but I’ve bought one of their Bible study books. Looking forward to dig into the word 🙂

        • You will love them, H! Enjoy your journey through the Word and enjoy letting the Word journey through you!

    • Stella or on you can find 2 Bible Conférences in England and Belgium, and at least the first one is translated. I hope it cans help you.

  • Priscila Moreno Gorriti

    Amen!!!! Jesus the one! Who died for each of us!!! 😍😍😍😍

  • Ash

    Hi, I have been receiving these amazing posts from LYWB for a few years now and have shared most with my girl friends, but I was wondering if there is something similar to LYWB but for guys instead? I have a lot of guy friends and although most of them are Christians I would like to share something like this with them. Only thing is, it’s a bit different because girls and guys see things just a tad bit differently and some subjects are just for girls because it’s suppose to be. If yoh know of any good blogs or a website like this for young guys plz let me know! 🙂

    And I am a list person but make sure I pray before I completely start my day, do my morning devotional. Then really do more Bible study before I go to bed every night.

  • Leah

    This blog post totally applied to my life! Thank you so much!