Sometimes we wonder… when will things get easier? Will we ever get to where we are going or will every day feel like a journey? Day in, day out, we get up, we plan, we act, we hope, we sleep.
We see stories of other mums online who have ‘made it’. They are so successful in their businesses, they aren’t just running a business, they are teaching people how to do it. How do they ‘get there’? We read their stories and try to replicate their actions, but somehow we fall short. Barrier after barrier arises. The baby wakes up. The toddler has an accident. The washing piles up. The fridge empties. The clean dishes disappear. Our time fills until we are treading water, trying simply to keep our head afloat, mustering the energy to get to the end of the day, having achieved what feels like ‘nothing’.
But what if life is more than the sum of our to-do-lists? What if life is the treading of water? What if as we press through the challenges, we are becoming stronger, more patient, more capable, more selfless?
We want to make something of ourselves. To leave a mark. To make a difference. And we think that is done by building something. In order to build, you need to accumulate resources and gather them strategically to develop a structure.
But what if we can create something meaningful by giving rather than by building? It doesn’t make sense. The math doesn’t add up.
But every day you hold your baby while they fall asleep, you are building something. Every day you read the seventh book to your toddler before they go to bed, you are building something. Every day you wipe that dirty sponge over those dishes, you are building something.
Worth isn’t synonymous with monetary gain. Value is built through generosity and persistence. As you grow stronger, you are able to give more and more. That strength overflows to your family. Your baby feels safe as you rock them to sleep. Your toddler learns to communicate and empathise with others as you read them stories. Your household functions as you clean up the mess.
No one sees it. There is no ‘view count’ representing how many times you’ve picked up dirty clothes from the floor.
But just because no one sees it or acknowledges it, doesn’t mean it is worth any less.
In fact, the Bible says,
“Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”(Matthew 6:4 NLT)
The truth is, in order to make something of our lives, we just need to show up little by little every day and do the mundane tasks with joy.
Jesus said, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.”(Luke 10:16)
We aren’t called to hustle. We are called to be obedient. If obedience means putting down the laptop to be with your child, close the lid now. On the other hand, if obedience means putting your alarm on to wake up early, we need to quit hitting snooze.
Of one thing I am certain, our purpose is not composed of straight lines. The journey is windy. We may travel in circles or even find ourselves moving backward from time to time. We need to stop assuming we can get from A to B as if our lives are the plot points of a hero’s narrative.
Our purpose is also not singular. We can be called to many things. You may be called to build an empire that feeds the nations. You may also be called in the same day to change a child’s nappy. You are not any less for having to do those things. Every act of surrender matters to God.
With this perspective, we have the potential to succeed every day. Every small act done with gratitude rather than resentfulness is a moment of achievement. It’s not about the numbers, the followers, the view count. Success cannot be quantified by the zeros in your bank account.
We cannot take our Instagram platform with us to heaven. We cannot cash in our assets when we walk through the pearly gates. In fact, few worldy indicators of ‘success’ matter in the scheme of eternity.
So stop getting so worked up about ‘getting there’. If you find yourself at the end of another year and your career goals were sidelined by family matters, be grateful for the family you have. Perhaps things will work out easier next year. Or perhaps you’re being refined – again.
If you are a goal-setter and you’re struggling to find the balance between your work and your family, you’re not alone. Some weeks, I am frustrated by how little progress I’ve made. But that frustration is just wasting time, emotional energy and capacity. Just do what you can when you and let that be enough. Trust God with the rest.
Give your big dreams to God and let him give you your daily tasks. Do the little things he asks you to do and see if step by step, they don’t add up and lead you to where your heart desires.