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What's On Your List?Maybe this will feel like a familiar conversation for you:

“Dear, why do you love me?” my wife asks.

“Really, do I need to count the ways?” I respond.


“Okay, ready for my list?” I ask

“You are stalling,” she smiles.

“I love that you are a fighter. You fight for your heart, dreams, and purpose. You fight for our marriage and you fight to be a good mom.

I love that you don’t give up despite the odds or trials you experience. You don’t give up on us despite the fact that I have dragged you all over the place.

I love your eyes…” as I continued to explain the many ways I love my wife and best friend.

We all have a “list” we long to hear. What do I mean by a list? The things that someone values, loves, and sees in us. The interesting part is that often they are things we might not see in ourselves or we just need to be reminded of.

Life Takes Its Toll

The past ten weeks of Encounter Winter Camp was an amazing experience. We saw lives changed, hearts transformed, and youth groups strengthened.

There was also a cost to my marriage and family. We are still finding our rhythm in learning to balance family and the demands of camp life. There is always more work to be done, whether it’s renovating cabins or preparing to speak. There is a learning curve to carving out time for each other in our new lifestyle.

Life likes to constantly withdraw from our emotional and relational “accounts.” In fact, if I am not careful, our accounts can be easily overdrawn. How do I counter this? We have to put deposits into our accounts and one way we do that is by reminding each other.

If we don’t remind each other of the why then the how, what and where lose its meaning and impact.

Check out these verses:

I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. – 2 John 1:5

Therefore, I will always remind you about these things – even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.  – 2 Peter 1:12-13

Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.  – 2 Timothy 2:14

Remind and Affirm

Baldwin family on recent trip to Boson

Baldwin family walking the Freedom Trail

One of the things I so appreciate about Paul’s writing in the Scriptures is he constantly reminds and affirms who we are in Christ. He gives us our list.

…but you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light…  – 1 Peter 2:9

Let’s be more intentional about sharing our lists with those we love and do life with. The more we share, the more we cultivate the soil of our hearts with love and grace, and the less we build fortresses around our hearts. Let’s tear down those walls that keep us from truly experiencing love and grace.

I know I fall short in sharing my list with my wife on a consistent basis…I don’t even need to share the whole list…just portions of it. I love the fact that she showed courage in asking me.  But sharing my list isn’t just a spouse thing.  Its a “parent thing;” “friend thing;” “employer thing;” actually it’s a “life thing….” as Paul reminds us.


Some practical advice on our “lists” …

“I don’t need to tell them, they know I love them.” Although this might be true, you still need to tell them. In fact, if you have been with that person for any length of time, you may find some high walls built up around their heart that need tearing down.

“I am not a “touchy-feely” person.” You may not feel you need the affirmation, but your loved ones do. Loving and leading your family means meeting their needs where they are at. If Christ has given you a new heart, he has given it to you to share.

Spouses – our list should have expanded over the years together with our spouse. If your list is shorter, find ways to grow your list. Observe, date, spend time – do whatever it takes to grow and strengthen your list.

Receive the list. Receive the words and the heartfelt emotions that come with the compliments. If we say you are beautiful, we mean it. We understand it’s a biased opinion, but it’s one built on a lifelong commitment.

Don’t wait to be asked. Men like to hear their list as well, but often won’t ask for it.