If I cook all the meals and do all the laundry, but do not have love, I am nothing but a noisy gong.
If I help with all the homework and go outside to play together, but do not have love, I lose.
If I share my opinions on social distancing and shame everyone for not having the same experience as me, but do not have love, I am like crashing cymbals.
If I share a meal with my neighbor and give to those that lost their jobs, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
My version of 1 Corinthians 13
I was doing laundry on Mother’s Day when God showed me the condition of my heart — a pandemic can reveal a lot about each of us. I was frustrated, allowing put-down thoughts to control my mind. I no longer was serving my family in love but was doing a duty with selfishness in my heart.
When our expectations are unmet, we can become frustrated and that can quickly lead to resentment of where we are and whom we are called to serve. Serving isn’t about getting the job done; it’s about the heart behind it and the hearts that feel loved by our actions.
Like others trying to get through the pandemic, many parts of my life have changed. My podcast is on hold. I don’t feel creative to write this post or anything else I was working before all this. I’ve shifted to full-time homemaker, teacher, and caregiver. I struggle with quiet times in the morning and knowing what to study with the Lord. I’ve had to close my Airbnb. And though I should be packing my bags for an international trip with my family right now, that had to be canceled too.
But I’ve learned to pivot. I’ve learned to appreciate today. I try not to complain about the things that just don’t matter. I’ve chosen to learn from this time and know this will not last forever. I’m trusting God that He is working all things together for the good of those that love Him (Romans 8:28). I’m thankful my family has our health and that God has provided for us through this difficult season. I’m thankful to live on our farm and see new life in our animals. I’m loving more time with my family and enjoying the spring weather. I’ve enjoyed teaching my daughter at home and watching her grow.
Most days God has given me contentment and a peace that passes my circumstances or understanding. But sometimes my ugly self can rise up and question how much I do and wonder what’s in it for me: Do those I love really appreciate me? Does what I do matter? Am I doing enough for others? What about all the things God called me to that have stopped?
These thoughts usually pop in my mind when I’m on my fifth load of laundry that day or cooking my 180th meal in two months, when someone tells me they’re hungry while I’m cleaning dishes from the last meal, or when I compare myself to someone else on Instagram. I begin to allow resentment to creep into my heart.
Resentment leads to resistance of simple tasks in our daily life — the very places Jesus served and told us to do the same.
Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant . . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:26, 28 (NIV)
We want to go and do much with the Lord. We want to feel important. And often the daily tasks of our life don’t measure up to our own expectations of what matters in the kingdom of God.
Do we believe daily life is beneath us? Do we think serving those closest to us is not enough? Do we resist the simple things God calls us to that no one will see? Are we powering through these daily activities to get to what we might consider more important things?
This season, God is teaching me that life is not about just getting things accomplished. It’s about serving others as unto the Lord, doing each task with a joy-filled heart. Love makes our actions meaningful. Through the everyday tasks of our socially distanced or stay-at-home lives, God’s love in us can be poured out to those around us.
Our everyday tasks are an act of worship to Him, helping us realign what we know to be important and empowering us to love others in ways we thought were too basic.
As you continue to do the everyday-ness of your life, in whatever phase of this pandemic you are in, remember God does not need your service or spiritual gifts or an attitude of “Let’s get over this and get on to the more important things.” God only needs your availability each day to allow Him to love others through you, and your daily tasks can say “I love you” to God and others.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18 (NIV)
Our everyday tasks are an act of worship to Him, helping us realign what we know to be important and empowering us to love others in ways we thought were too basic. -Stephanie Bryant: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Thank you, Stephanie. A lovely written reminder of what’s important: serving God, in whatever our situations. Thoughts and words are powerful and if we can align our thoughts/intentions with God everything we do will be used by Him. You may not feel particularly creative, but I loved the words of your post. Thank you.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I have learned, since living with clinical anxiety, to put my thoughts through a 3 question test:
1. Does this thought make me feel anxious?
2. Is this thought condemning or a put down?
3. Does this thought line up with what God says about me and truth in scripture?
If the answers are yes, yes, and no, then I know that I need to scrap that thought, kick the enemy and his lies to the curb, and focus on whatever is good, right, lovely, pure, noble, etc….
This pandemic seems to be a petri dish in which negative thoughts can quickly multiply and grow. Joining with you in nipping them in the bud. Lovely post.
Cathy Scible says
Bev, thank you for sharing your 3 question test. I need to do that too.
Michele Morin says
Today I will vacuum the floor by the same grace that carries me when I’m teaching a roomful of women.
Thank you for this perspective altering post, Stephanie!
Nancy Venuti says
I look forward to your encouragement and thoughts each day even tho, at 81, I am caring for a 2 year old who can run fa@ster, be sneaky, hug me tight, want to be with me always and LOVES me. Keep going for the Lord.
Thank you ,needed the reminder this morning. 🙂 Focus on loving God and others through our daily chores and be thankful. 🙂
Thank you Stephanie,
Beautifully written. I have found that taking on tasks around our home that I have not always done routinely, has given me a sense of calm, responsibility and satisfaction that has surprised me. It is a contribution to our contentment during these times, and seems to bring a smile of contentment and accomplishment . Perhaps it fulfills the need to contribute and create a more peaceful environment. Perhaps God is giving me an everyday purpose to keep us going each day and focus on the small things of life, instead of my normal need to create and take on new projects ( as a retired teacher and artist ). Taking pride and joy in routine tasks has seemed to calm our daily lives, and my faith. Thank you for voicing it perfectly.
Beth Williams says
This post reminds me of a song by Stephen C. Chapman “Do Everything”. The chorus: While I may not know you, I bet I know you Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all? Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you ‘Cause He made you to do Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face Tell the story of grace with every move that you make And every little thing you do. You see God delights in every single thing we do for someone else no matter how trivial it may seem. Even Jesus washed the disciples feet. For me this year it has looked like making baked beans & helping serve “recovering Soldiers” with my MIL’s church & got a few needed supplies for them. Went out of my comfort zone & made a small video for Relay for life -even though I can’t stand how I sound on video- for their virtual kick off. Also I took a couple Fridays & helped a co worker move. For a house warming gift I made baked spaghetti with meatballs. This pandemic has caused a shift for many people. My hubby got furloughed about a month ago. It hurt as he’s never been unemployed or had government assistance in 31+ years of working for same company. During this time off we’ve enjoyed more time together & gotten a lot of spring cleaning chores done. He has been able to relax from his hectic job (CT Tech). Thankfully his boss called him back to work Sunday. I know God is pleased with each of these small acts done with love.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
I was just talking about the same sort of thing to my Husband the other day. How the subject came up was my Husband was saying about the same people in our Church seem to be the ones making tea after Church every Sunday when Church was on. Before this Covid 19 out brake. My Husband was saying there are other who could do it rightly especially at our womes group when it on. He comes to pick me up because I don’t drive. He goes and make the tea at it in the evening at it when it on for all the women at it. He said I don’t mind making it. It no trouble to make it. He said what gets him is. He shouldn’t be making it at all. But one of the women at the Church that belong to group should be doing it. I stopped him and said. God see all those able bodied people Church that could get up and make tea or help that don’t. But are glad of a cup of tea and a chat after Church. Or cup of tea after the women meeting. You are doing it when you shouldn’t be doing it at all. You look at it the way I do. I said to him. It made him see it all in a different light. You remember your not making the tea on Sunday after Church any time you do it or helping out when picking me up from the women meeting. You remember your doing it on to the Lord and in Love on to him. No for the people in the Church or the Women meeting. You are blessing the people as well. God will bless you for doing it on him. If you do it on him and in Love and to bless the people you are making the tea for or helping out on Sunday or at the women’s meeting. Say as you to help out too yourself or make the tea a Church on Sunday or at the women’s meeting. Lord I do this in Love on to you and I bless the people drinking the tea and the people I am helping. That spoke to my Husband made him see serving in a different light. That he not to look at those who do not help after Church or at the women’s meeting. That God see them. He said from now I am going to do it that way and on to the Lord in Love and bless the people as I make the tea. I did smile to see what I said spoke to him. Love today’s reading it also spoke to me thank you for it.
Kayla Baker says
Much needed words to hear for this mom of 4 boys! Thank you for reminding me that just because it doesnt feel as though I’m soong something huge for God, I AM serving him the exact way he served others. It can be a daily struggle right now and keep my mind and heart centered has proven more challenging then I imagined. Thank you again and God bless you dear.
Thank-you for sharing your thoughts and expressing them so beautifully…..a lovely reminder.
Blessings to all,
Christina I. says
Thank you for the heartfelt message connecting it to a Bible verse, makes sense to take pride in tackling our mundane chores because we show gratitude for God’s blessings and love for those around us…. family, neighbors, & coworkers. Also appreciate reading Bev’s three questions about anxious thoughts, referring to scripture and truth. Great post today, will reference it back …good reminders.
Nancy Ruegg says
You are so right: our small tasks can become acts of worship–all the more valuable to God because He may be the only One who sees . And what an honor that, even in our daily tasks, we can be like Jesus. These are attitude-changers, for sure. Thank you, Stephanie!
Theresa Boedeker says
Resentment and discontentment are the two weeds I have to watch for that try and steal my joy in serving those around me. And it is easy to listen to them when our usual things are being taken from us. My free time I used to have for writing. My quiet lunch times to pleasure read a little. Is now, “What’s for lunch? Can you help me.” And so I have to also look for the blessings. More family time. More time to serve and help. And notice when the resentment starts building and nip it in the bud. Great post.