Last Monday morning I was sitting at our kitchen table and could see a large amount of crumbs that needed to be swept up, crusty dishes that needed to be dealt with and funky laundry that needed to be re-washed. It reminded me of the song by the Bangles,
It's just another manic Monday
I wish it were Sunday
'Cause that's my fun day ...
Really you could insert any day of the week into that song, every day seems to feel "manic." Along with that Monday came all the seemingly dull tasks that fill my life. Kids need help getting dressed, otherwise they will choose to only wear underwear, or less. Gook needs to be scraped off of counters and floors, bills need to be paid, toilet paper needs to be rolled back onto the toilet paper roll. The excitement of it all is almost unbearable!
Why is it so easy for me to have hard feelings towards those tasks that never end? I know that in my work I am given opportunity to bless my family, but honestly, that doesn't always make me feel satisfied.
So here is what I need. I need a different way to think about it. I need a more Christ centered perspective. Rachel Jankovic says in her book, Fit to Burst, that God wants me to practice these mundane tasks because he is preparing me for something better. This better thing is greater conformity to the character of Christ.
Here is how it should play itself out in my life:
Laundry in Venice seems romantic (see picture above). Laundry at my house, not so much, and I get weary of dealing with clothes day after day, week after week, year after year. I am still waiting for someone to invent disposable clothing. But according to (Eph. 2:10) God has personally prepared for me this task to do today and again tomorrow in order to get good at it. My first thought is, “I know how to do laundry. With 4 kids I have mastered it”. But the more I think about it the more I realize that, for the Christian, doing laundry is more then adding laundry detergent and turning knobs. Do I do it selflessly, with a happy heart, to the glory of God, every. single. time?
My answer has to be "no." When I am not complaining or stressing about my work, then I am doing it mindlessly without any thought of God at all.
Since my God is a gracious and patient God, he is giving me plenty of opportunities to be transformed more into the image of Christ through the seemingly banal tasks of my day.
This same principle hold true in all areas of life, even in parenting. I can’t even begin to find the right words to convey how tired, frustrated and defeated I sometimes feel when I have to teach the kids the same thing 5000+ times. But God is using those things to help transform those little people into respectful, polite and hopefully godly people and he is using those same moments to teach mean, perseverance, self control and love.
So instead of sighing over another errand that needs to be run or a pile of clutter I need to deal with I need to train myself look for the greater purpose. What is it that I get to practice each time? Is it patience in the midst of frustrating circumstances, kindness while driving behind the slow driver, joy while serving others or thankfulness while scrubbing crayon off the walls?
I see more and more clearly that this world is not my home, this is my training camp. It is here that God will use the simple and ordinary tasks in my life to scrape some of the sinful muck off of my character so that the character of Jesus can shine more brightly in me. In this sense these mundane responsibilities are sacred and sanctifying works for which I need to be thankful.