{31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way} :: Lesson 4~The Work is About the People

Mondays are my catch-up days.

Well, I should say Mondays are *supposed* to be my catch up days. But my catch up day often seeps into Tuesday and then I try again on Wednesday. By Thursday I’m already headed for the weekend, so I’m usually rushing to get things somewhat in order before I rush out for worship practice that night.
Recently, as I was throwing in an extra load of laundry…

(Aren’t we thankful for modern conveniences?)

… I found myself asking, “What is the point?” What is the point of all these tasks…these mundane, menial tasks? Is there a point to wiping counters, scrubbing toilets, folding towels? Does it really matter if the house is tidy?

I keep up on laundry okay. I am good about dishes and keeping the kitchen in order. I am worse at bathrooms and bedrooms. And really bad at dusting, mopping, vacuuming. I’ll save you from the torture of going on.
And when I get behind, what does it affect most? Me. My attitude. My disposition. I suffer the most from my own procrastination. If I’m running behind on my mommy-duties, I tend to feel more agitated and easily frustrated. I wake each day feeling behind before I even get out of bed.

And who does that affect? The people. My family. My friends. Someone in need. I have sometimes been so blinded by my “responsibilities” that I’ll forget the point of doing them in the first place.

When I can keep order, I can handle more. When I know exactly where my keys are, where my shoes are, when my clothes are hung neatly…my tasks go smoother, faster. If I need to leave the house suddenly to help a friend (or husband or child) in need, I am able to with ease.
When I am able to keep up with the everyday, God can surprise me with the unexpected and, instead of it stressing me, I can be happily surprised. I can go into each day ready to accept unusual challenges.
And it goes even beyond that. I try to choose order and planning so that I can accommodate our family.
My husband never complains about coming home to a messy house. But I know the peace and comfort he feels when a tidy home welcomes him at the end of a busy, sometimes stressful, day. I know he likes it when he asks me ‘what’s for dinner’ and I actually have an answer.
My older kids appreciate it when I clean their snowy, muddy boots or do an extra load of laundry so their favorite school clothes are clean. My littles love it when they can find their favorite toys and books.
They are learning to do some of these things on their own, but I am here many times when they’re not. And doing these mundane, mindless, many times thankless, tasks are my gift to them.

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I’ve had many seasons when I couldn’t keep up and then I have given into frustration. I’ve sat in the middle of a messy basement and cried, feeling like I am a failure of a mother because I haven’t trained my children to clean up after themselves. These are not my proudest moments.

It works much better when I take it one step, one day at a time and let God’s grace cover. I have to pray for patience…for me and for all of us. And if I can chip away at it…at least have the dishes and laundry done, the counters wiped and a clean table for dinner, it gives our family a place to gather, free of clutter and distractions.

Because that’s what it’s really about. My life as the wife and mom is not about keeping it all together. It’s about creating time and space for the people He has gifted me with. I recently read this:

I don’t always get it all done (okay, okay. I really never get it all done.). And there are many times when a friend drops by and witnesses all that I have not gotten done. But it’s not about the appearance of having it all together. It’s about the constant balancing act of tasks and people. Doing and being. Too much of one and everything is off kilter. It’s about working at the tasks so that the people know their importance. I can work hard while my family is off learning, working, studying and then truly have time to focus on them when they come home.

I once heard of a woman who worked at a church, scrubbing toilets. She would get the toilets clean and then lock the stalls so that no one could dirty them! She was so proud of her work but she had missed the point of doing the work in the first place!

It IS good to work. And to work hard. But the work exists to serve the people.

This post is part of the series {31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way}. Did you miss a lesson? Catch up here.

4 thoughts on “{31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way} :: Lesson 4~The Work is About the People

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