I read a quote in a book recently that I think holds the key to transforming our days. That’s bold, I know, but if you spend much of your days on daily routines, you’ll definitely want to keep reading. (In case you missed my post on organizing your inside, this quote is from the same book, Ordering Your Private World by Gordan MacDonald.) Here is the quote that I want to camp out on today.
Most of life is lived in the routine…the man or woman who learns to make peace with routine responsibilities and obligations will make the greatest contributions in the long run.
Five words stopped me in my tracks.
MAKE PEACE WITH ROUTINE RESPONSIBILITIES
What would happen if we made peace with routine responsibilities? It seems so simple but as I think back on my own life, I know I haven’t done this completely yet. And the areas where I have made peace with routine responsibilities? My life is noticeably better.
How many times had I been annoyed at having to throw the clothes in the dryer? How many times did I act shocked when the girls’ watermelon snack resulted in sticky floors? How many times had I been bummed to do the things I need to do to sustain our very life?
I can actually do all these things without huffing or puffing! What a novel concept, huh? I’m embarrassed to still be learning it! But imagine a day where those routine responsibilities that normally feel so draining or just plain boring didn’t shock us. What if they didn’t throw us off balance so much? I don’t think the answer is pretending that they are suddenly amazing and we love them. Maybe instead, we just “make peace” with them. Which means we stop thinking it was created to make us miserable or spawned by Satan himself. We simply acknowledge that it’s a cost of doing business (or doing life).
The reason we do this is because we 100% know it’s for our benefit. Holding a grudge against the laundry doesn’t hurt the laundry. No good thing can come from staying annoyed by our routine responsibilities. Letting it go can only work in our favor.
- You know you’ll have to make trips to the DMV
- You know you’ll need to wake up with sick babies
- You know you’ll need to scrub stoves
- You know you’ll find crumbs under the table
So how do we do it? How do we “make peace with routine responsibilities”?
Take it further.
1. START WITH LISTING OUT YOUR DAILY CHORES.
In particular, think about the ones that always fill you with that low-level dread or feeling that it’s a waste of time. It might be barely perceptible but it’s enough to have you responding to your kids or spouse differently because of it. It might be the ones that you procrastinate the most. Paying bills is one of mine that I hate sitting down to do, I think because there’s no visual that it’s complete like a counter going from messy to clean.
2. WRITE OUT WHY YOU DO THAT CHORE.
Thinking about the why can make it alittle easier. Not always, but it’s a good start! 🙂 My mom breastfed exclusively me and my sister (twins!!) till we were a year. A year. Twins. A year. Honestly, I can’t imagine but even today, she’ll tell you what motivated her. Not having to spend money on formula. My mom is frrrrruuugal and they didn’t have much. The thought of spending so much on formula for twins was enough to power through double the nursing for a full year. If you’re going through your list and you can’t figure out a logical reason for why you do it, it might mean it’s something you can stop doing.
3. REWRITE THE NARRATIVE.
What would it take to fully remember that these things will continue to happen and they are just a part of life? Is there a phrase that you need to post near your dishwasher or dryer? What about the litter box or where you change diapers? What does it look like to “make peace” with the chores on your list?
4. DO SOMETHING WITH IT.
So many of the mundane tasks I’ve rattled off in this post can be done while praying. Our most popular worksheet, House Prayers, was created so that we could transform seemingly mundane chores into mountain-moving moments. Maybe you’ll never appreciate why you do something enough to make peace with it. What if instead, the time became the opportunity for something more? What if those moments became your prayer closet? Just recently, I decided to make my laundry room my prayer closet. I got a big cork board and tacked on different resources (like this) and worksheets (like this and this) so that when I’m in there switching the laundry or folding towels, I can make the most of that time! There is no better way to “make peace” with a task than recognize it as an opportunity to pray.