We have to do the work of the one who sent me while it is day.
Think of a task you really dread. Maybe you even have more than
one! Have you ever noticed how productive we can be doing many of the other things on our to-do list instead of the one we are trying to avoid? For me, one of the tasks I dread most is washing the blinds. Living on a gravel road, they gather a lot of dust and they have to be taken down, scrubbed, dried and re-hung…it takes forever and it’s a pain! When it’s done however, that is a terrific feeling. There are dozens of things I don’t really like to do, scrub the crisper drawer, sort the basket next to the phone where all the “stuff” seems to land and vacuum the stairs to name a few. It seems the same thing happens again and again…they appear on my to-do list and I do ten other things first. It’s like I just dance around them pretending they might just go away.
Someone e-mailed me a link to a little video clip called; Eat That Frog. This little you-tube video contained some great wisdom. The whole premise of the video was to look at all the tasks that had to be done and put the absolute worst or most dreaded task on your list first…and then do it first. It employed the idea that if you had to eat a live frog every day it would surely be the most awful thing you would have to do so if you do it first and get it over with the rest of your day would certainly be better. Procrastinating can rob us of our positive attitude and wear us out. It takes a lot of work and planning to re-arrange our whole day around the one thing we really don’t want to do…but if we did it first and moved on we’d have a much better day!
That sounds like a great idea but I’m still left with little motivation to do something I dread. Here is where an attitude shift can help. This is the stage where it might be a good idea to play a mental game of “follow the leader”. There was a fabulous man named Brother Lawrence who lived a simple and holy life working in a monetary kitchen. He was known for his ability to rejoice in everyday tasks embracing them as the perfect way to practice the presence of Christ. He believed that Christ met him wherever he was, doing whatever he was doing. It was as if Brother Lawrence knew with every task, Christ was there waiting, all he had to was ask Christ if he could join him. Now if I remembered Jesus was my blind scrubbing partner I might not dread the job so much! Another great example is Blessed Mother
Teresa. She was cleaning the wounds of a dying man one day and the reporter following her for a story put down his equipment in disgust and said, “I wouldn’t do what you’re doing for a million dollars!” Mother smiled at him and said, “I wouldn’t do it for a million dollars either, but I’d do it for
There is grace in our obedience and submission. If we were to take our most dreaded tasks and “eat that frog” first with a spirit of love for Christ I think we would be changed. I think we need to remember that every task is our opportunity to practice the presence of Christ like Brother Lawrence. Labor Day weekend is the “finish up” weekend at our house. I need to finish all those “frogs” that didn’t get eaten yet this summer! I think I might try to snag a copy of Brother Lawrence’s book called Practicing the Presence of God and see if I can’t adjust my attitude toward the crisper drawer and the living room blinds!
A Seed To Plant: Make you to-do list and try eating the frog first while you ask Christ to meet you in your task!
Blessings on your day!
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecclesiastes: 4:9-10
I realize this blog is a place to get a lift in your spirit and focus on the work of the Father, but I came across this verse and the first thing that popped in my head was the old “Life Alert” commercials that said “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” I know that has nothing to do with the meaning of the verse but it made me giggle. After way too many hours at school trying to get my classroom ready for Open House tomorrow night I guess I’m just a little punchy! You’ll be glad to know I paused and prayed for more focus!
Today is a big day in Westphalia! Its Open House day and the children who will start school at St. Mary’s next week are either feeling great excitement or complete dread that Open House is the un-official beginning of the new school year. The students will all file into the building tonight anxious to see who their teacher and classmates will be. For some, the highlights of the evening will be the free bowl of ice cream and the fact that they get to dump off their gym shoes, tissue boxes and school supplies so they don’t have to lug them to school on the first day. As for me…it’s one of my favorite days of the year! I love Open House because I get to meet my new batch of “Little Lovelies” and say hello to all the others who hold the title of “Former Little Lovelies” I LOVE my job so beginning again with fresh faces, an uncluttered desk and all the excitement of new beginnings is something I really look forward to. There is also another element to the day that I get excited about and that is seeing all the staff after an entire summer apart. The staff members at St. Mary’s are fabulous professionals and even
greater friends! We work together, we pray together and we laugh together (a lot).
Our new school year together will begin in the most perfect way; at Mass, praying for His blessing on us and on the work we will do in His name. This year we welcome some new faces to our staff family, that hasn’t happened in a long time and it’s exciting! I honestly believe myself to be one of the luckiest women breathing because I work with such amazing, fun, faithful people. We have shared weddings, new babies, grand-babies graduations and personal struggles. We have helped each other raise our children and strengthen our relationship with Christ. I get to go to work every day with a group of people who care deeply about each other, who are passionate about their vocation and who laugh and pray easily together! How lucky am I!
This verse from Ecclesiastes reminds us that we are not meant to go through life solo! God created us to need Him and need each other. We are meant to share our joys, sufferings, celebrations and struggles. We weren’t each given every gift and talent, we were meant to share them
with others and receive graciously when others share theirs with us.
Sometimes we think we’re too busy to “play with our friends” but the
truth is we need them. We need to laugh and talk and share. We need
to support and help and laugh with each other. We need to work and play and pray together. It’s a great thing to feel supported, enjoyed and appreciated…that’s what friends are for.
A Seed To Plant: Plan a get-together with a friend this week. It can be lunch, dinner, a walk or even a chat on the phone…just connect! One more thing…jot down the names of all your friends and make sure you lift them up in prayer by name this week.
Blessings on your day!
Consider it all joy, my brothers when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Consider trials JOY? What was St. James thinking when he wrote this? Upon first glance at this verse we might be tempted to wonder if the beloved Saint put in a few too many prayerful “all-nighters” because surely he wasn’t serious about feeling joyful when the washer breaks, someone you love
gets sick, the fuel pump on the car goes out or the sweet teenager in your home eats the last piece of peach pie you were hiding…I mean saving, in the back of the fridge! Joy…I don’t think so! And what about the really big
stuff like losing your job or serious illness, surely he couldn’t have meant
those things could bring joy. I suppose we could sit down and make a list of all the trials that have happened upon us in the past month and we would be overcome with many emotions, none of which would be joy!
The real meat of this verse is the part that explains what we can get in exchange for our trials…stronger faith and perseverance. Do you remember when you were young and you went home from school and complained about that boy who pulled your pigtails or the girl who annoyingly pointed out your every move to the teacher? The standard reply from home went something like this, “Well honey, if they didn’t like you they wouldn’t tease you.” This verse has a little bit of that flavor to it don’t ya think! God promised that we would have trouble…it is a guarantee, not a possibility. Even though we’ve read those words more than once, trials still seem to catch us by surprise. We sometimes even cop an attitude and think, “What, me…why me Lord? What have I done to deserve this difficulty?” We might even get really sassy and say, “Oh, pardon me Father, but you’ve made a mistake, I’ve already had 8 serious trials this month, I believe this current dilemma belongs to the neighbor or even better, the guy who cut me off in traffic this morning!”
The simple truth is, if He didn’t love us, He wouldn’t give us trials at all. Each difficulty or disappointment that knocks on our front door or barges right into our day is an opportunity to grow in trust or compassion or patience. When we throw up our hands in despair and say, “Ok God, I don’t know how to do this…I don’t think I’m strong enough for this, please guide me and guard me and love me through it!” we will grow in faith and perseverance plus we will be blessed with grace and mercy. I think what St. James was teaching us is that any time we surrender to the holy power of God, that’s joyful, and the blessing is more strength, more grace and more faith for the next thing! It seems strange to thank God for the lousy stuff but that is what we are called to do. We need to act like we are completely aware that He is about to do a might work through that trial if we would just
stand back and let Him take us through it.
A Seed To Plant: The next time a trial comes your way, stop and thank God
for it and ask Him to show you the joy in the situation. We’d love to hear your stories!
Blessings on your day!
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