When I quit my job several years ago to stay at home with my kids full-time it was a big transition for me. I had been working or going to school for most of my life and suddenly it all just stopped. As someone who likes to feel productive each day, being home with young children was a challenge for me. I could no longer see a stack of completed work at the end of the day and feel good about what I’d accomplished. When you are at home with young children you are busy all day long but often at the end of the day you look around and it appears as though you’ve done nothing.
For some people finding the value in what they do every day is not so difficult. Maybe you are a teacher and there are 25 young kids who look up to you to lead them everyday. Maybe you volunteer at a homeless shelter or with the elderly or disabled and you can see for yourself the effect your life has on other people.
And most of us have certain times in our lives when we feel good about what we are doing. Helping someone move, offering support to a friend during a difficult time, volunteering to coach your kid’s sports team. There are many things that we do in life that make a difference to someone.
But life isn’t always like that. When you are shoveling snow for the third time in one day or up half the night with a cranky baby or struggling to keep your cool with a difficult customer at work it is a lot harder to see if what you are doing even matters at all.
Often it feels like all we are doing is merely biding our time. Counting down the minutes until work is over for the day. Being eager to finish school and start a career. Thinking everything will be great once we get married or have a baby or the kids start school or grow up and move out. Looking forward to retirement. Then things will be great. I just have to wait until then.
But what if instead of counting down until then you were intentional about making whatever you are doing now meaningful?
In her new book, For the Love, (due out in August but I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy!) Jen Hatmaker says, “A worthy life involves loving as loved folks do, sharing the ridiculous mercy God spoiled us with first….It means restoring people, in ordinary conversations and regular encounters. A worthy life means showing up when showing up is the only thing to do. Goodness bears itself out in millions of ordinary ways across the globe, for the rich and poor, the famous and unknown, in enormous measures and tiny, holy moments.”
What this means is that you don’t have to be doing something BIG everyday in order to make your time valuable.
Being kind to someone who is not being kind to you. Helping someone who can’t or won’t help you in return. Saying something nice when you want to say something, well, not so nice. All of these things, all of these little moments can add up to a life well lived and full of meaning. People may not always appreciate the things you do but that does not mean what you have done is worthless.
There are so many bad things happening in this world every day. Hurricanes and cancer. Terrorism and abuse. Why not choose to add something positive to the world instead of more negative?
If enough of us made the choice to do something good every day, no matter how small or insignificant it seems, together we might just change the world.
DO YOU AGREE THAT THERE IS VALUE TO BE FOUND IN THE LITTLE THINGS WE DO EVERYDAY? HOW ARE YOU INTENTIONAL ABOUT MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF THOSE AROUND YOU?