On doing the work.


Image result for messy bedroom public domain

There's something that's seemed to evade me throughout the entirety of my life... and I've always blamed it on my personality...

The ability to complete a task.

This exact thing baffles my husband. He has an efficient mind and, while he can definitely get distracted during a conversation, will not move on to another task until the current one is completed.

His favorite story to tell to illustrate this striking contrast in our two personalities is from after I was hired to teach 7th grade in a different school district. He took off a day from work to help me set up my classroom and spent a good bulk of the day reminding me to finish whatever it was I was doing. Because I would be sketching out ideas for this brilliant Back to School bulletin board that would surely dazzle my students and make them love me... when I would remember I needed to organize the desks... and should they be in groups or rows? (groups, always groups for science) But! then I would realize I wasn't actually sure how to even turn ON my smart board, and shouldn't I at least know that before school starts? And, oh yeah, where do I plug in my computer?

This endearing (or not, whatever, it's super cute) quality has, unfortunately (OR NOT!) followed me into this season of stay-at-home momming. You can walk in on any given day and find a half-folded pile (mountain) of laundry, a book splayed open spine up on the end table, a table with some dishes from lunch (or breakfast) and me in the middle of it all, probably trying to reply to text messages from the day prior. I think I've always assumed it was a quirk of mine I would always possess and that things would always just be half-done until I eventually worked my way around to finishing it.

But! It must not be so!

You guys... we CAN change. It's possible. Change is not relegated to addicts or people that (in our minds) REALLY need to change. Our annoying qualities or inefficiencies or bad "habits" (let's just call some of them sins... I mean, c'mon) can actually go away.

I'm not the first (or last) to quote Elisabeth Elliot when she said, "do the next thing." But, unbeknownst to me, she had actually gleaned this wisdom from an Old Saxon poem. 

Do it immediately;
Do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly,
casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
Tracing His Hand,
Who placed it before thee with
Earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence,
Safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,
DO THE NEXT THING. 

This is beyond applicable to my absent-mindedness and discontendness with whatever task I am on... put my head down, do the work, finish the dishes/laundry/chapter/amazing bulletin board/whatever. I mean, really, I was acting like my 3-year-old who, when told to clean his room, falls over in a fit of despair over the magnitude of the request... I mean, THERE ARE TOYS! ON THE FLOOR! HOW WILL I EVER ACCOMPLISH THIS FEAT?
Just do it. Grab what's in front of you and DO IT. This isn't just for laundry piles and sinks full of dishes. I need to apply this when I have a tantrumming child who needs a little more instruction beyond, "Will you stop?!" or a weepy daughter that needs me to hold her a little longer. Do the task at hand and do it with prayer. Do it well. 

When we look at the overall situation, for instance, of raising a child from infancy to adulthood while being intentional, feeding them nutritious meals, teaching them virtue and good character qualities, oh and THE GOSPEL, it can feel like I imagine my son feels when he looks at his messy bedroom. Like too much, too many train tracks on the floor, too many magnatiles and puzzle pieces scattered about. But, if we put our heads down and just grab one thing at a time, one moment at a time, it adds up and eventually we dare to peek up and see that, hey, it's not as bad as it once was and, hey, doing it without throwing a fit is actually somewhat enjoyable and satisfying.

Godspeed to you all. Press on.

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