Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Releasing the Myth of Done

Another thing added to the list. They come so much faster than they get crossed off, all these various to-do's, and it just keeps growing. It feels overwhelming, never-ending, why bother?

A new bit of work to tackle. A new mess that must be cleaned. A new email that deserves a thoughtful reply. A new thought that demands to be written down and fleshed out. Another meal to cook, another load of laundry to do, another dustpan's worth of crumbs under my feet. My head hurts.

It's never going to end! I think. Never!

But that's just it, isn't it? It's never going to end.

Have I been expecting, all this very long time, that the list will ever be empty? That the work will ever be done? The laundry, done, even as we wear clothes that will soon make their way to the hamper? The dishes, done, even as we look forward to our next meal? The work, done, even as we count on its continuance for its meager income? The writing, done, even as words ever rise within us?

It's never going to end - and praises for that!

If I look at these daily tasks as things to accomplish, things to check off, there, done, finished, I will feel endlessly frustrated. Because they are never finished. They will be there again, sometimes days later, sometimes mere hours later.

But if I view them as ways to bless myself, serve my family, and worship my God, they become good things, satisfying things. Not fun, not always, let's be real here. But Good.

These daily tasks nourish me physically. As I write these words, I feel the ache in my arms from an afternoon spent on my hands and knees, scrubbing every bit of tiled floor throughout our home. It's a good ache, a satisfying feeling, evidence of having pushed my body even in this silly small way. All day I lift and bend and scour, and maybe it's not a 5K run but some nights I collapse into bed as though it has been.

These daily tasks nourish me emotionally. They give me time and space to let my thoughts drift, to rest my mind, to let words swirl and form within me. The mindlessness of these duties is blessing in disguise, allowing that which is creative within me to bubble to the surface. Yet too often I spend that time grumbling instead, acting the martyr, silently stewing as I do what must be done. Why do I choose anger over daydreams, complaints over creativity?

These daily tasks nourish me spiritually. They mirror my own inner dailiness of confession and repentance, renewal of mind and heart, pushing back the darkness within as Christ shapes and forms and fills my heart. Always the dust and dirt returns, and always I wash it away it again. Always the mess returns, and always I tidy it again. Pushing back the darkness and the chaos again and again and again, what holy work this is!

I want to say No More to the grumbling and the overwhelm, but I know myself. Perhaps, though, I can remember more often? And then more, and still more? This is blessing. This is good. I am privileged to have these daily moments of mindlessness in which to think and pray and create and worship and bless and serve. Thank you.


  1. I needed this today. Thank you.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this.I wake up every morning saying and thinking the same thing....everyday seems like a "deja vu" I sit there and think about how I am feeling and remember I felt that way yesterday...and the day before and the day before that!!And I look around and realize I will be doing the same things I have done over and over and over.UGH!! Yet I still do them as I am complaining and stressed.I love how you said to look at it as a blessing and to serve your family and to worship God.So many times(once I get passed the grumbling haha) I have caught myself drifting in self thought as I am doing my work. I have come up with my most creative thoughts and writings during my work.And have had the best conversations with God. And many nights I have gone to bed utterly exhausted but fulfilled with accomplishment,but understanding why.It's good to change the perspective and the purpose for doing it in the first place.Thanks for sharing.

  3. This was lovely (and an encouragement to scrub our dining room floor tommore - ha).

  4. My list has felt like a burden to me this week, but I think that the trouble is really elsewhere. My desk is a mess. My rhythm is off. I'm uncertain about my priorities. I'm getting just a little sick.


    Sometimes the fact that I'll never get to done is invigorating. I have things to do! I'm alive! Alas, not this week. At the very least, I can be philosophical about it, even if I'm not really feeling it.

  5. Thank you for sharing the words that rise within you. I always leave this place feeling blessed, encouraged, and, somehow, heard for reading them. Thank you for sharing your gift.