Finding Joy in the Mundane
Have you ever read or been told that you’re doing “kingdom work” by taking care of your home and raising your kids? Did you smile and nod outwardly, but inside you were rolling your eyes or laughing? I’ve been there. When you’re right in the thick of it—the messy, noisy, long, repetitive days of motherhood—it’s hard to see the bigger picture. But, finding joy in the mundane may just be the key to unlocking the peace and contentment that you need. It’s easy to be joyful when our baby smiles at us for the first time or our child is finally out of diapers. We feel proud and excited when our child learns to ride a bike or starts school. But what about all those in-between moments? Those hard-to-handle or just bored-out-of-our-mind moments can cause us to start believing that this season of life is one that we just need to push through and survive. The better days will come, right?
Focus on the Present
It’s easy to put our blinders on and keep our focus on the future, instead of enjoying the present moments. However, when we do that, we miss the whole point: life is what is right in front of us. It’s not some distant, hypothetical future, it’s the moments happening right in front of our eyes.
“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 8:15
Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.
More importantly, we aren’t guaranteed a future here on earth. Yes, we can look forward to an eternity spent with our Creator, but do we really want to loathe the life we’re living today, when we aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow?
Ask anyone who has had a health scare or been in a life-threatening situation and I’m sure they’ll tell us just how important each present moment is while we’re alive.
A Change in Perspective
I recently had an experience that changed my perspective in this area. It wasn’t a big light bulb moment or even something I consciously knew happened… I just felt different. I had more patience with my kids and less frustration. I could thoughtfully consider “does this really matter right now, or at all?”
I felt a deep sense of peace.
This change in perspective came because I realized that all these moments with my kids that I rush past so quickly, could be gone at any moment. If something were to happen to one of them, I would give anything to have a picky three-year-old, a moody five-year-old, or a seven-year-old with attitude.
And if something were to happen to me, how would I want to be remembered?
I want my kids to know how deeply they are loved, not how easily I am annoyed. I want them to know that I value their uniqueness more than their conformity to my expectations. And I want them to know that what they have to say is more important than the tasks on my to-do list.
The Little Things
A change in perspective changes everything. A big issue becomes a small challenge when you view it from the correct perspective—from a Christ-like perspective.
Whether it’s in our marriages or with our kids, we have a responsibility to resize our issues. I regularly ask myself: “Does this really matter? Is this important enough to bring up, or should I let it go? Could I just do this myself happily, instead of feeling annoyed that someone else hasn’t done it?”
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “making a mountain out of a mole hill.” But in case you haven’t, it means to make a small thing into a big thing; in other words, an overreaction to a minor problem.
I can think of countless times in my life where I’ve made a big deal of a little issue… especially in relationships. Letting go of the little things, before making them or allowing them to become big things, has been crucial in having a healthy marriage.
This doesn’t mean we ignore or sweep under the rug those issues that cause us pain or go against our values; it means that we look at the big picture.
Should I ruin my day by being in a bad mood because laundry got left on the bed instead of being hung up? (note: it is always me who does this, not my husband!) Or should I take a minute out of my day and just do it gladly.
If we’re really honest with ourselves, the things we allow to bother us, get under our skin, and even cause bitterness and resentment in our marriage is laughable!
There is so much more to life than all those little things.
When we view motherhood—and marriage—differently, and view our hard days as gifts for having our families, then joy and peace begin to flow through us and through our homes.
I want my home to be filled with peace, joy, and love… don’t you?