Do you ever get to the end of your day, look back at the work you did, the work undone, and find yourself discouraged?
It happens to me all the time.
I heard a self-help success guru (I don’t remember which one…sorry) say that happiness is doing the work that needs to be done so that you can go to bed satisfied with your accomplishment.
It sounds good, it seems like that ought to be true, in fact I’m pretty sure that it IS true, but I have one problem.
How do we define work?
And is it the same thing as a specific task?
The answer in my mind is a big, fat NO! They are NOT the same thing and the difference between satisfaction with your daily labors and total drudgery is in understanding the difference.
Here is what I mean: My “work” is to comfort and encourage people. Lots of people but most especially my family and my friends because they are in a sphere that I can reach. My husband’s work is to feed the hungry. Those are big assignments, way too big to accomplish in a single day. In fact I won’t be done with my work until I die, I plan on pursuing helping other people until my very last breath. William will be raising food when he’s 102, leaning on his rake and will probably keel over pulling out a stubborn weed; he’d love that.
If I judged my accomplishments each day by whether or not my work was done I would bury myself in discouragement. And there have been times I have, when I haven’t remembered that my daily tasks and my life’s work are united, but not the same.
Each day when I do the mundane tasks of creating a home I am comforting my family, I am encouraging them through kindness to be everything God intends them to be. Sometimes my tasks take longer than a day and that’s okay. Like laundry, dishes, sweeping and mopping. I have agonized over those things so many times. I am not a natural housekeeper. Keeping things organized does not come easily to me like it does to some of my friends. I have been weak enough in the past to judge myself by that ruler.
But I’ve found that measuring myself next to another person never works because I am simply not them. I am me. I am Vernie Lynn, I am a daughter of God with my own gifts and talents and they don’t always look like someone else’s. Trying to be someone else only leads to a sense of failure and a feeling that we will never measure up, never achieve success, and never overcome our weaknesses.
Maybe it’s time we stopped trying to overcome weaknesses and tried becoming our strengths instead.
Our daily contributions add up in our life and in the lives of others. The little tasks that can be accomplished and measured each day are not just a marker of how we spent our time they are a representation of what we value most.
If your day is filled with dirty diapers, dirty dishes, and Lego impressions on the bottom of your feet; maybe…just maybe, that means you love your family enough to feed them, change them, and play with them. Maybe it’s not a marker of how you don’t clean or can’t keep up with the kids, maybe you just keep telling yourself that because you are measuring against someone else’s ruler.
If your day is filled with quiet rooms, prayers, pictures of memories, phone calls to loved ones and love for what you are afraid you will soon be leaving; maybe that means you have lived a rich life full of humanity, friendship, and love. Maybe your days are not a reminder of what you have lost but rather a testament to what you have given the world simply because you walked here among us.
Our lives matter. No matter how small a part we think we play in the grand portrait of God’s creations we truly do matter. To Him, and to the people around us, sometimes to people we don’t even know.
So don’t get discouraged if it seems your work is never done. That’s how it should be because YOU are not done.
Give yourself tasks you can accomplish, let yourself feel satisfied with doing your best, focus on your strengths, and remember that you matter. More than you will ever be able to comprehend.
Please visit this link to watch a message on your eternal worth: