by Sarah Langness
I like to-do lists. I even have a planner that I write my daily to-do list in. Part of the reason behind this is so that I actually remember to do things; if I don’t do the task immediately or at least write the task down, it could be days before I remember that I needed to vacuum the corners of our bedroom or clean the bottom of the fridge. But I’ll be honest: sometimes, I write already completed tasks down on my to-do list so it just looks like I accomplished more on a particular day. Because there is something about our human nature, or maybe it’s just our culture, that thrives on being busy and accomplishing.
The other day I was asked, “So what do you do all day?” This particular person knew that I was a stay-at-home-mom. In that moment, I felt like I had to come up with a long, large, impressive list of daily tasks that I accomplish around the house, at church, or in the community. But all I could come up with was: “Well, we go on an hour walk every morning. And we both take naps in the afternoon.” Lame. And it sure makes me sound lazy.
So what do I do all day? Well, I guess it depends. I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees, playing peek-a-boo around the kitchen island as my baby boy crawls after me and giggles. I spend time reading books to my little man, or at just holding the pages open so Zeke can turn the pages on his own. I spend time changing poopy diapers, preparing food for the three of us, washing dishes, making sure Zeke doesn’t eat any electrical cords, cuddling with him, and holding him high enough so he can pull the cord to the ceiling fan.
And why does that somehow, in my mind, seem so unimpressive? So unimportant? I wish it didn’t; it shouldn’t. Because it’s things that I love. Things that I would not change for anything.
Maybe it’s because I’m looking to fulfill the world’s definition of success and importance. Maybe it’s because everyone around me seems to be doing so much, to always be busy, to always have somewhere they have to be. Maybe it’s because, for some awful reason, it seems like spending quality time with my son doesn’t seem like an “important” enough task.
I’ve found great encouragement regarding this in the following words from Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freemen (can you tell what I’ve been reading lately?):
“In the midst of my insecure emotions, I picked up a book written by Major Ian Thomas called The Indwelling Life of Christ. My eyes went directly to this: ‘It is not the nature of what you do that determines the spirituality of any action, but the origin of what you do.’
If what I do is done in complete dependence upon the Father, then it doesn’t matter what that thing is, rather who the one is doing that thing. Is it me? Or is it Him? Colossians says that by faith, it is beautifully and mysteriously both. ‘To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me’ (Colossians 1:29 NIV). Who am I to decide what is extraordinary? The Father has already decided. He says He Himself is extraordinary. So anything I do as I depend on and partner with the Extraordinary One, I suppose that is extraordinary too.” (emphasis mine)
Even changing diapers for the tenth time that day. Even patiently teaching an eight-month old how to self-feed. Even washing dishes, doing laundry, and cleaning the carpet. May it all, even in the un-importance of the task according to the world’s standards, be done by His strength and for Him alone.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of your inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” – Colossians 2:23-24 (emphasis mine)