Whatever You Do…

Susan Narjala   |   November 6, 2018 

 

I walk into the bedroom and am greeted by an unmade bed. I’ve just returned from dropping the kids off at school, after giving them breakfast and packing the husband’s lunch dabba.

I take a deep breath, swallow my irritation and proceed to make the bed.

Inside my head, though, a monologue begins: “365 times. That’s how many times a year I make the bed. That’s how many times a year, he doesn’t.”

I smooth the covers, arrange the decorative but pointless cushions on it, and then walk into my daughter’s room. I’m confronted by another unmade bed. Not just a messy bed, but folded clothes that weren’t put away, a towel that’s damp because it wasn’t aired out, toothpaste stains in the sink and an array of hair clips strewn about her highness’ bathroom.

The irritable inside voice jumps back in: “I have so many better things to do.”

Better things. That’s what the world has taught us to believe. Some jobs have been cast as worthy of our time. And others as plain menial. We derive value – and maybe even our identity – from one category. We see the other set of jobs as somehow demeaning to our worth.

We’ve subscribed to this idea unblinkingly, so much so that every time we’re in a situation where we’re not doing the “better things,” we get resentful and irritable.

I’ve often been privy to remarks like: “I don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen,” or “What am I? A nanny? A housekeeper?”

Sometimes, the tone is more apologetic: “I’m just a housewife,” or it carries a sense of shame: “I don’t work” (which should really read: I don’t work at an office)

I’d like to suggest that, perhaps, we need a mind makeover when it comes to our perceptions of what constitutes “worthy” work.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for ten years. That was not plan A when I was in college. I wanted to change the world with my journalism skills, not change stinky diapers fourteen times a day. I wanted my by-line to be splashed across leading newspapers, not spend time quizzing my fourth grader on her spelling list. I wanted to wipe out injustice with my stories, not wipe down counter-tops and tables.

But, ten years on, I’m asking myself, what makes one job profile a “better thing” that is more worthy of my time than another?

No, this isn’t a piece about the stay-at-home mom versus the working mom. We’re all here to support each other and lift each other up. I’m not suggesting that if you’re a mom you have to give up your corporate job. That would account to pure insanity. There’s no question that we should use our skills and talents in the marketplace.

This is a piece about ascribing value to work, even the work that the world doesn’t consider important. This is a piece about changing the way we view some jobs so we can worship God through all we do.

What if I see my work - the daily, thankless, boring jobs - as little acts of service for my family? What if I see those tasks as acts of worship to God? What if they are opportunities to practically live out the Kingdom values we read about in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5)?

Scripture says that whatever you do (yes, that includes wiping noses and bottoms), do with “for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10: 31). That’s kind of hard to do if our hearts are clouded by resentment.

Maybe our mind makeovers should go something like this:

When I set the dinner table, I have the opportunity to thank God for daily blessings and for being able to nourish my family. That is important work.

When I serve my husband tea, I’m not being a subservient doormat.  I’m choosing to recognise that he has had a long day and I’m privileged to serve him. That is supportive work.

When I put aside my writing to teach spelling words, I’m investing in nurturing my children. That is selfless work.

When I make beds for the 365th time this year, I have the opportunity to thank God for our home and the blessing of a good night’s sleep. That’s soul-defining work.

No, these aren’t job descriptions that can be included in a resume. (Professional counter-top cleaner and ace waffle maker aren’t exactly skills that HR folk swoon over). But that doesn’t discount their value.

Today, whatever I do - whether anyone sees it or not, whether it’s acknowledged or not – I choose to do it for God’s glory.

 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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3 comments on “Whatever You Do…”

  1. Having chosen to prioritize mothering over a corporate career 25 years ago, God has continued to show me my worth and used me in ways unimaginable. Well said..

  2. I am so glad I read this piece. It's something I needed to hear. I am a stay-at-home mom too but I feel that my staying home is no longer justified, being that my youngest is now in college and they don't need me as much. I thought that I should be out there "working". (Sometimes when people asks me what I do and I tell them I don't work I feel almost ashamed). Thank you for reminding me that "whatever I do - at home or out there - I could choose to do it for God's glory!

    By the way, I'm reading your YouVersion devotional plan Journeying with Jesus and that is how I found your blog 🙂

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