Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Thoughts on Work.

Lately I've been loving my work.*

Wanna know why?

It's because I've been doing it.

Funny thing. The more you do what is required of you, the more satisfied you feel at the end of the day. 

But let me back up.

As the summer has worn on, and really over the last year or so, I've been feeling more and more unmotivated. More and more like I just really didn't want to do anything, let alone the dishes. Or entertaining two preschoolers and a baby...or the laundry, the bathrooms and the floors. In fact, what I really wanted to do was go to the beach. By myself. To lay out and look at a magazine.

Here's the problem with not wanting to do anything. The problem is that I still had an entire day to fill and three kids something with. Something. And at the end of every day, days of not really doing what was required of me, I would feel sort of empty. Not to mention the house. I felt like I was being buried under the sheer magnitude of housework. And nothing ever felt clean. 

Not a good way to end the day. 

So I made some changes and it's been so, so good. I certainly don't have it all figured out. And there are plenty of days that the laundry doesn't get done, or the dishes sit in the sink until dinnertime. But I am making an effort to create habits that will help me run my house effectively. And truly, I've been happier. And I want to be happier. Not just for me, but for my husband and my kids. 

With that being said, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some work-related principles that have been swishing around my head lately.

1. First, let me define what I mean by work. This is my own personal definition, though I'm sure it's not original. When I talk about work, what I mean is the thing that God has given you to do right now. You might be getting paid in dollars for it, you might not. But if it's where you're supposed to be, doing what you're supposed to be doing, then it's your work. 

Morning dishes. I try to do the morning dishes right after breakfast. Every. single. day.

And then I can look at this the rest of the day. Ah....

2. Work gives your life meaning. It's true. I'm kind of hesitant to make this blanket statement because I'm afraid it will be misinterpreted, so let me explain what I mean. First of all, refer to thought #1, above. Work is not necessarily your current job, but rather, it's what God has given you to do right now. It can also be your current job. If God has given you some work to do (and, if you follow Him then I believe He has), then that work will bring meaning to your life. It's why you're here. It's what you're supposed to do. 

3. When you neglect your work, you begin to feel unmotivated. Speaking from personal experience, I know this to be true. Right now, my work is in my home. I'm raising three small children. I'm keeping up with the house. I'm running errands and coming up with learning activities for the kids and teaching them to relate to others in acceptable ways. 

And you know what? It's incredibly easy to neglect all of it. To not clean the bathrooms this week, or to turn on the TV for just a little while, or to ask my husband to pick up a few things from the grocery store on his way home. Because I didn't feel like going.

 And the more I neglect it, the less motivated I feel to start working again later. Truly. It's kind of a vicious cycle, because the less you work, the more of a mess everything gets - and then it becomes this monster of a chore on your back. Which makes you want to get to it even less... and so you turn on the TV for the kids and cruise Pinterest. 

4. On the other hand, when you fulfill your work, you feel fully satisfied at the end of the day. That is the best feeling - sitting down, knowing you've accomplished whatever it was you were supposed to do that day. It's so sweet. And so worth it.

I'm trying to fold it as soon as it comes out of the dryer - doesn't always happen, but it feels good when it does.

5. And then there's Sunday. I totally believe in the value of taking one day a week as a Sabbath. A day where you do no work. My husband and I are still working on this one, but we try to completely unplug on Sunday. I don't do any housework. He doesn't do any of the chores on his list. He doesn't take phone calls for his job. We give ourselves permission to nap. And it's nice. It's so nice. But you know what? When I was in that vicious cycle of neglecting my work during the week it felt kind of wrong to take a rest on Sunday. Rest? I'd been resting all week long. 

In order for the Sabbath day to be what it's supposed to be, you have to work the rest of the week. It doesn't make sense to rest on the Sabbath otherwise. Right?

Here's what I don't want to happen. I don't want you to read this post and suddenly feel overwhelmed that you're not doing enough, that you're falling short in some way. If the dishes didn't get done because you were spending time with your kids, then that's okay. Don't beat yourself up because there are crumbs on the counter (I have dry oatmeal on my kitchen counter right now). This post was written out of my own serious neglect of my work...which is something I am still learning not to do.

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*At the beginning of this post, I told you that I have been loving work. I feel that I need to take a moment to clarify. It doesn't light up my world to scrub the toilet bowl. I hate it. It's gross. But I do love when it's clean. And what I love even more is doing what I'm supposed to be doing throughout the day. That's a fantastic feeling. For real.

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  1. How timely your post is! Thank you for your honesty and truths! I can totally relate! We have an amazing calling from our Lord, to disciple our little ones :)

    1. Of of my goals in writing this blog is to be honest, to you guys and to myself. Thanks for reading!


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