I glance at my to-do list and see #allthethings that went undone this past week. I moan as the thoughts begin to flood my mind, “WHY can’t I keep up with it all? WHY am I such a bad mom? WHY can’t I be a better help to my husband?” I aspired to do #allthethings. I planned to do #allthethings. So, what happened? Certainly the answer lies in my inefficiency, my inadequacy.
Somewhere in the middle of this self-deprecating sesh, Scriptural truth drowned out the noise of negative emotions:
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
2 Corinthians 9:7-8
I don’t have to do #allthethings — no one asked me to. But the things I choose to do and the ways I choose to serve others should be done with a cheerful heart. Not because it needs to be done but because I have intentioned to do it and to do it with a proper attitude of service. But how can I do this when I’m knee-deep in monotonous tasks and overwhelmed by my own inability?
I rely on the grace of God which abounds to me. It is more than enough and is greater than #allthethings in the world put together! That changes everything. His grace is never out-matched by my lengthy to-do list or naively ambitious aspirations. He gives the measure of grace I need each day to do the things that really matter — to love my children and my husband, to serve others around me and proclaim the name of Christ as I go.
In his abundance, I find –though I may not be able to do #allthethings– I can do allthings through Christ who gives me strength. And I’m so grateful for #allthethings He has allowed me to do for Him today.
The Didi at the coffee shop giggles and mocks me when I thank her for my caramel latte. The taxi driver shrugs his shoulders when I hop out of his taxi with a cheerful Dhanyavaad and the handful of bills he required. Even my neighbors visibly signal their dislike for my habit of voicing gratitude. After all, aren’t neighbors supposed to look after each other?
Saying “thank you” for every little tiny thing is largely an aspect of American culture. Many times A few times, I have laughed at myself for thanking the officer who so generously gave me a speeding ticket.
In my excessive expressing of gratitude, however, the phrase has lost its meaning. I thank my husband for passing the milk, but so rarely do I say “Thank you for paying the electricity bill” (which is no small feat here) or “Thank you for helping our daughter learn to read.”
Even less do I say, “Thank you for making time for our family, or “Thank you for your faithfulness to me.” Every day, meaningless thanks roll off my tongue but the taste of these words is new and strange.
I think of the times I have felt overworked and under appreciated after a 12 hour shift with life-sucking toddlers. Arms around my waist and a “thank you” whispered in my ear turn me from stiff and sour to putty in his hands. I leave the work undone to melt into my husband’s side and wind down the day with too many words exchanged on a juice-splattered sofa.
Living the Golden Rule, I express gratitude for the sacrifices he makes. He is constantly balancing the pressures of work/ministry/family. I see his shoulders relax. As a man who relentlessly strives to excel in all areas, he needs reassurance that he’s the only one that thinks he’s dropping the ball.
Sure, he has responsibilities, and he is man enough to do them without a pat on the back. We are family, and appreciation goes without saying. But why should it?