This is an accomplishment because normally after I wash and fold so many clothes, I no longer have the time, motivation, or energy to put the mounds of shirts, pants, socks, underwear, and pajamas where they belong. Those baskets tend to sit in their respective closets for days until I am sick of looking at them.
But today, I smiled as I put the last shirt on a hanger and walked away to return five empty baskets to their filling stations. Then, I turned the corner and proceeded through the next three rooms to find that my children had destroyed all three of them with near tornadic force during the time I was being “so productive.”
Tiny pieces of torn up paper strewn all over the floor. Grrr.
Stickers on the window and furniture. Grrrrr.
Toys I wasn’t aware we owned stretching to every corner of these small cluttered rooms. Grrrrrrr.
Cheerios crunching beneath my feet as I felt my blood pressure rising. Grrrrrrrrr!
“WHY CAN’T I EVER GET ANYTHING DONE AROUND HERE?!?!” my heart screamed.
When I was a kiddo, my grandmother always used to say, “A woman’s work is never done,” with a cheery inflection at the end of her pronouncement. I recall tilting my head and wondering exactly what she meant by that statement as I sat on the floor and played cards with my sister.
Well, now I know. A woman’s work truly is never done. Around the house. At work. Wherever. It’s never done.
This is one reason I find myself feeling anxious from time to time.
When I work for hours around the house thinking I am taking two steps forward only to find out the condition of my home just took four steps back, it’s hard not to feel anxious.
Or how about when you have saved enough money to meet your goal for building an emergency fund in your savings account and your car breaks down the next day? Or what about when you get a promotion at work only to lose your job due to downsizing the next month? Or what if you have been working on your health by exercising regularly and then you are injured and out of commission for an extended period of time? Or what if you have had a difficult conversation with someone you love, but their heart seems to only grow harder?
Progress seems to be like a hamster wheel sometimes. And control is an illusion. Isn’t it?
I am (slowly) learning to let go of my desire to control outcomes and just be faithful with serving the Lord and others the way God is leading me to in the moment. He is worthy to be trusted with the outcomes.
I ultimately have to be okay with the fact that my house may still be a mess after cleaning all day long. I may have to accept that my savings gets depleted a thousand times faster than I am able to build it. I may have to learn that my identity cannot be tied to my position at work. I definitely need to learn that my body is degenerating more quickly than I would ever like. And I will concede that relationships involve at least two people, and I can only do my part in keeping them healthy.
It’s just so hard not to try to fool myself into believing that I can control outcomes. It’s difficult not to become anxious when it seems like everything is “going wrong,” and I am learning more every day in various ways that control really isn’t just an illusion – it’s a delusion.
Recently, I have been studying future prophecy for a class I’m preparing to teach, and I noticed a verse like I was reading it for the first time. It’s a warning to those who live in the last days (i.e. you and me). . .
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. (Luke 21:34)
So, God views my anxiety like drunkenness! Wow!
My anxiety impairs my thoughts and my ability to function in the way God wants me to. It’s essentially like drunkenness, and it weighs down my heart. Anxieties have the power to distract me from the one thing that is more important than every other thing — being ready to meet the Lord face to face. Someday soon. Very soon.
Studying future prophecy also offers the cure. Yes. Understanding God’s prophetic messages “sobers me up.”
I have learned to ask myself, “What if my days here on earth are as short as God’s Word claim they are?” What if I lived with the kind of perspective that I only have, say, less than six months left before Jesus comes back for His Bride, the Church? While the timing may be hypothetical, the idea of a continued future on earth isn’t a never-ending guarantee.
This perspective has changed my outlook – completely!
It hasn’t necessarily changed all I do. But it has changed how I think about what I do.
If I may only have six more months to make a lasting difference. . .
I still work hard around the house, but I don’t have heart palpitations when I feel like I can’t possibly “get ahead.”
I am still committed to being responsible with my finances, but I desire to do that so I can be generous with others rather than spending only on my needs and wants.
I still want to be the best employee I can be for my supervisor at work, but I do it with the hopes that someone may want to know why. What a joy to share that my motivation is not ultimately to be promoted, but to be an example of someone who is secure in her identity as a child of God, requiring no other titles or accolades to have joy.
I still want to be physically healthy, but my motivation is no longer just for the shallow benefit of self-confidence alone. Now, I desire to be healthy so I can offer the maximum benefits of service to the Lord and people in need.
And yes, I want to be at peace in all of my relationships, but God asks me to love others the way Jesus did — with discernment — and trust Him with the results. With the perfect example of our Savior, sometimes loving well meant turning the other cheek, and sometimes it meant turning over tables. Sometimes His love resulted with the reciprocation of love. Sometimes it meant He was despised and rejected.
So, my grandmother was correct. A woman’s work is never done. Well, up until it actually is done. And then, when I stand before Jesus, all that work will count for nothing if it was not done with a sober mind and a holy (or set-apart) motivation to please God alone. If I stumbled through life drunk on anxiety rather than being a woman with an eternal perspective, I will lose out on the joy of presenting to Jesus a life well-lived to tell Him, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.”
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. (1 Peter 1:13)
If you have any questions about Bible prophecy or want to know how to be able to spend eternity with Jesus, please send me a message through the private contact tab on the home page. We may have less time than one might expect.