But then I suddenly felt convicted - I had been wanting to finish everything so I could sit down. Now that hope was taken away from me and I was discouraged. So that meant that I was just enduring the work I was doing to get to the end of it. But that shouldn't be what it is like. I should be enjoying what I do - the Bible says 'Rejoice in the Lord always' Philippians 4:4. Matthew Henry says, 'There is enough in God to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst circumstance on earth.'
Hope enjoying washing the dishes!
I'm not always like that - I do have joy as I go around my daily work, but since having 3 kids I also often tend towards just trying to get through it! I think that happens especially when I am tired and when I have to do mundane jobs that seem pointless because they will need to be done again very soon, and when things take longer than I had thought they would (which is most of the time with many little interruptions!).
So having realised I was wrong, I started to think, 'How can I enjoy what I'm doing right now?' Here are some things I thought of:
- I could thank God as I go for all my blessings - like as I was putting the food away I then started thanking God for providing the money to buy food, and that we could get it delivered. When you think of many countries where they have to grow their own food, and that if there is a famine then they don't have any, I realise I am blessed!
- I could have fellowship with Jesus as I worked - I just heard a message by Charles Stanley where He was saying we can fellowship with Jesus as we work, if we do it for Him and talk to Him during it.
- I realised I should actually be thankful for mundane jobs because they free my brain up to sing, pray, meditate on scripture and memorize scripture - all of which would help me enjoy it too.
- I could enjoy doing it for God: 'Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God' 1 Cor 10:31
- I could enjoy working at doing the best I could - for God. So often we will work really hard when there is an incentive - like a promotion, a prize, or someone watching that we really want to impress. But what about when no-one sees it apart from God? Shouldn't we want to impress Him more than anyone? I want to make it my challenge to really make this verse a part of my every day work even when I'm tired: 'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men' Col 3:23
- I could put worship music on - as soon as I thought of this one I went and turned my ipod on and put on Hillsongs - I love their music for helping me enjoy my housework and make me turn my heart towards God in the midst of it.
- I should remember that if I am doing what I do for the love of God, it doesn't matter how seemingly mundane it appears to be - 'We ought not be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.' Brother Lawrence
- I could set regular break times and if I finish work early at other times, don't go take a break but instead spend the time on something else that I don't normally get to. I noticed that they did this when I did work experience in a residential care home in The Netherlands. They had a morning, lunch and afternoon break. Then in between if they had finished their work taking care of the residents, they would go clean something! As far as I was aware that wasn't part of their job description, but they took pride in their work and the place they worked, and had a great work ethic. They were being paid to work, so if they finished what they were supposed to do they went on to do other things. On the other hand when I went back to the UK and went into a hospital ward to work as a care assistant, I tried doing this and got told off! Here people will usually take shortcuts and then when they finish early they will stand around chatting. Are we taking pride in our work, or are we merely doing the least amount we can to get by and then rushing to whatever is fun for us? There are a lot of things I do that I do try and do well, but I still have to work at paying more attention to some of them - just ask my husband about dusting!!
- I could remind myself that feeling unhappy while I work is very similar to complaining, which is really complaining against the God who allowed us to have this work to do.
- I could listen to sermons - I do this a lot now and it really helps me when I am feeling tired, as it takes my mind off myself and puts it on eternal things!
- I could remind myself of the goal of what I am doing - a lot of what I do during the day is part of taking care of my husband and children, whom God has entrusted me with. So if I do my best right now, maybe I can help fulfil what God has for them in their lives.
To sum it all up, I just read today in 1 Thessalonians 5 - a wonderful chapter! And it said 'Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.' That challenge alone is enough to keep my little head occupied during every day, all day, and to change my thinking around when I am enduring and not enjoying!
Do you have any tips or things you have learned to do that help you rejoice as you go about your work?