Day II --
Thought for the Day: (Building on Ideas from Beautiful in God's Eyes by Elizabeth George) Some tips for happy and productive work:
1) Pray daily for the people in your home. As you move about your home, pray for the person whose room you enter or the person whose clothes you sew, etc. Pray when you cook. Pray for guests who will be coming or who have just left. (If you also work outside the home, take your habit of prayer there, as well. Pray for your boss, co-workers, etc.)
2) Pray for God to give you joy in your work. Pray for God to give you strength. Ask Him to guide your planning. Always depend on the Lord in everything. Search the scriptures to seek His will for your work. Proverbs 16:3 "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."
3) Memorize scriptures that encourage you to be joyful in your work. Recite them to yourself when you feel your motivation flagging.
4) Do you work as unto the Lord. Put all of your heart into it. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men" Colossians 3.
5) Be patient with yourself if things don't go smoothly. You might be sewing a skirt, and find that you have to rip a seam out a little and sew it again. Or, you might mop a floor and the dog scoots across it with muddy paws. These little frustrations can seem like a huge deal in the moment. I know that I can easily feel that I don't have time in my schedule for mistakes, accidents, or interruptions. Yet, I also find that if I just patiently deal with things and move on, I will make progress.
6) See tasks as challenges, not as burdens. Put your creativity into your work. Look for more efficient ways to do things. Or, see how pretty you can make the results. Or, see if you can turn some of your work into healthful exercise. Yes, it's hard to be creative when cleaning a toilet. Every job -- even one that might seem glamorous -- has a certain amount of tasks that are routine and unexciting. But, if you are continually viewing your overall work with a creative eye, you will find more joy in it.
7) Take rest breaks when you need to. God created our bodies and knows that we need rest. Some well-timed breaks can give us energy to accomplish more. Be disciplined, though, and get back to work when it's time to.
8) Be thankful for each day. We only have a short time, in the eternal scheme of things, to accomplish the work God has for us on this earth. Every day is a new opportunity to do something meaningful with our earthly lives.
9) Don't get overwhelmed with the hugeness of your work. Break it down into small steps. Work little by little.
10) Keep your goals in mind. Envision the results.
Thought for the Day: At the end of every day, remind yourself of what you have accomplished that day and thank God for it. Include things that may not seem very noteworthy to others -- such as changing diapers or managing to get yourself sweetly presentable on a day when four of your children have the flu. It's wise to think of what didn't get done and to note what still needs to be done. However, you will be happier if you also take the time to note tasks and activities that you did get to.
What God Says About Work: After the fall of man, work became associated with a certain amount of fatigue, frustration, and pain.
In Genesis 2, God tells Adam of one of the consequences of his sin -- a consequence that we still experience today:
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food."
However, even though our work in a fallen world can be frustrating at times, that does not do away with the fact that God created it and blessed it and that it is good. In Genesis 2:5-15, we learn, "And the Lord god planted a garden eastward in Eden, and the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."
The word keep (shamar) means " to hedge about, to guard, to protect, and to watch."
We also learn in Genesis 2 that God said it wasn't meant for man to be alone and that He created a woman, Eve, to be his help meet -- his companion.
Genesis 1 gives an overview of the creation of man and woman in God's image, along with God's blessing and the work for which men and women were originally created:
"Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'
The'n God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.' And it was so."
Work is inspired by God, created by God, and blessed by God. As Jesus said in John 5:17, God, Himself, is always at work. "Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." We know from other scriptures that every work God does is good.
When Jesus as God's Son in the flesh walked the earth, He demonstrated this quality:
"And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him."
As we already noted, Proverbs 31 says that the worthy woman does her husband good all the days of his life. In this, she is imitating the heart of God. She also provides for her family, reaches out to those in need outside of her family, and watches over the affairs of her household. She does not eat the bread of idleness. She works eagerly and willingly.
If we are tempted to laziness, giving in to it brings us pain, dullness, lack of results, poverty (though not all poverty is caused by laziness), lack of good, and even depression. Attending to the work God gives us brings fulfillment, productivity, fruitfulness, and satisfaction. Plus, we have the joy of doing our work for the Lord, as a gift of love and thankfulness to Him.
Happy Home Keeping!