Whatever You Do...

I'm not going to blame my Facebook departure on anything other than my inability to cope with differing opinions and bad news.  (For the record, I'm never particularly great at coping with these things, but pregnancy hormones are having a field day with my emotional state right now.)  However, if you'd like a small glimpse into one of the things I read that I can't shake, and if you happen to not have stumbled across it in your day-to-day, here is Matt Walsh's blog post entitled "You're a stay-at-home mom?  What do you DO all day?"  (Many apologies if you think I'm about to beat a dead horse.  That's not my intention!)

Let that be our starting point, and I will try to explain some of the thoughts I've had since reading it. 

When I first read it, I found myself nodding along.  The irony of this was not lost on me.  Five years ago, reading a blog post like this would have had me shaking my head (and probably my fist) as I thought things like, "How dare this guy demean working moms in this way?!"  Having entered the realm of "staying at home" nearly three years ago, however begrudgingly, (!!!!  Say whaaaattttt!?  Where has the time gone?!), I obviously have a different perspective on not only the task of being at home, but the title of working mom.

As I read it now, the words paint for me a picture of a man who values the work his wife is doing at home with their children.  It shows a respect for the vocations of wife and mother.  And it suggests (albeit not subtly at all) that these positions are worthy.  To stay-at-home moms who don't get performance appraisals, pay increases, promotions, or awards, words like these are invaluable.  Yes.  Even from a complete stranger.  (Note to husbands - they'd be even better coming from you.  wink, wink)

Thinking back on how I would have read it five years ago, I'd have heard a man who had no appreciation for my need to exercise my brain, use my education, set an example for my children by working hard and being successful in my career, and my adept ability to manage both a home and a career.  The guilt I was already told I should feel for leaving my kids in someone else's care all day long would have been compounded.  I would have felt devalued as a successful career woman. 

But...why?  Why would I have felt this way?

Because in my feeble mind, the only way to pour value into one thing is to rob it from somewhere else. 

Thank GOD, it doesn't work that way.

My God - the Creator of the universe, the One who knew me before I was conceived, the One who redeemed my sin with the blood of His Son - is the giver of all value. 

This is good news, folks.  Because at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what Matt Walsh and his blog followers think of you or me.  Or what our Facebook friends think is true.  Or what the eye-roller at the grocery store thinks as you check out with your whole brood along for the ride.  Or what the mom at the coffee store drive-thru says under hear breath as you grab an afternoon pick-me-up for yourself and your coworkers back at the office.

There's only One opinion that counts.  And that opinion comes backed up with grace upon grace, who knows we'll screw up and loves us unconditionally anyway.

The problem is that our identities are tied up in what we do instead of who we are.  Our value doesn't come from accolades and performance, whether at our workplace or in our homes.  It doesn't come from a tidy home or a merit-based promotion.  Our value comes from the God who created us and loves us.

What does this have to do with "work," you ask?

Because we all work.  Men and women, white-collar and blue-collar, at the workplace and at home, earning six-figures or barely making ends meet.  I'm not going to suggest that one works harder than the other or has a more valuable job.  Our culture is good enough at that without one more person chiming in on the matter.

Instead, I want you to think of the last person you encountered (or anyone you've ever met) who embodied these verses:
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.  Colossians 3:23

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31
For me, it's the little old man at the dump on the eastern shore of Maryland who couldn't have been a day under 80, hopping around tossing reeking trash in the scorching midday sun with a smile on his face like I've never seen before.

It's the breakfast attendant at the Residence Inn in Amelia Island, Florida who not only walks around with her wet rag ready to sop up the syrupy mess my kids will undoubtedly leave behind but with a sheet of stickers and coloring pages to pass out to every child in the room simply because she loves bringing joy to their faces.

It's the janitor at our church who sings worship songs while he vacuums.

It's the hostess at Chick-Fil-A who literally will not let me carry my own tray or retrieve my own highchair.

It's the exhausted woman at the grocery store with a cart full of kids who patiently stands her ground with the one child who is pitching a fit, despite the fact that it would be easier to just put the box of Dora fruit snacks in the cart and continue on down the aisle.

It's the butcher who makes it a point to smile and chat with every single customer who walks in his store, and won't let you leave without a brown paper bag full of bubble gum for the kids and a personal escort to carry your bag of meat to your car.

The Bible says whatever you do, do everything in Jesus' name because we are working for God, not for men.  Our goal should be for our actions to bring glory to Him.  Sometimes it may not seem like we have a glamorous position in life, because our culture says that to be successful we have to put so many hours in, make so much money, have such-and-such a degree.  Sometimes it may seem like our credentials, our finances, our accolades merit more respect than others.  Sometimes we just need to extinguish the chatter of our culture, so we can hear the words of the one that matters.  On any given day, I may fall short of my best, but I can rest easy knowing that God's mercies are new in the morning.  I can pick myself up, dust myself off, and try again.  I think it bears noting that my best and your best are two entirely different things.  Let's do our own personal best.  Period.

God calls us to work and to work hard at whatever we do. 

I don't know about you, but I think that's an excellent place to start this day.
No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.


Denise said...

Wow! Incredibly written post Jennie. I couldn't agree with you more. I wish the whole world, especially Christians, would read it.

Sharon said...

Powerful post, Jennie - and absolutely TRUE! I hope that many will read and be inspired by your words. I sure was.


Debbie said...

I could not agree more,and love this. And yes, I grinned at the irony of the whole thing because I have stalked you from one place to the other.

I also enjoyed the previous one which I have JUST seen.
I tell you the truth (Yea, verily I say unto you) if your facebook hiatus brings you BACK to blog land so I can enjoy your head, it's a good thing. (And I shut out my SS class facebook page because I was so inspired by you. So there...)

Debbie said...

Grammar and mechanical errors in my duly post noted. Felt the need to say that so you don't fear that spending too many years as a house mommy completely fries the brain. It doesn't. Menopause does.

Post a Comment

Before you go, I'd love to hear from you! Let me know what's on your mind! (Please and thank you.)

Back to Top