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A Big Task Girl in a Small Kingdom World

A Big Task Girl in a Small Kingdom World

I am a big task kind of gal. Seriously. I’d much rather put together a huge training on how to work with at-risk kids than make a meal. I’d rather redecorate an entire room than clean out a closet. I’d rather write a series on same sex marriage than call someone back to return a message.

I don’t know why I’m this way, but it comes out all the time. Little tasks drive me nuts, and I’m awful about getting them done. For example, I’m notorious for writing thank you notes or cards to people, and then carrying them around for weeks because I just never actually got them mailed. I drive my husband crazy because I leave the phone charger sitting out in the car, instead of putting it away in its cubby – just because it seems like a waste of effort when I’ll just have to get it right back out. It is like pulling teeth for me to set up a dentist appointment (pun intended) or checkup for the dog at the vet. I can’t get motivated to organize things in the house unless my organization-king husband does it with me. I’ve been known to put darks and lights together in the wash, because doing two separate loads just takes too long. And I never, ever fold socks. But if you need volunteers for three days straight to help at a Christmas Fair to raise money for a cause I’m passionate about – I’ll be there.

I’m just terrible at the small things. I can’t stand cleaning, or cooking, or doing a load of laundry or feeding the dog. I do them, because I’m a stay-at-home-Mom who doesn’t really have a lot of excuses for not doing those things, but I fight my own attitude about doing them all the time. And I also have to battle my incessant urge to do something….big. Y’know, start a foundation or speak at a Women’s conference, or litigate some really important parental rights case. Small things don’t tend to have a lot of sense of completion to them; almost always you have to keep doing them over and over and over again.  Big things, on the other hand, bring acknowledgement, grand purpose, and a feeling of satisfaction at a job well done.

People tend to look at me and say, “She’s good at a lot of things”. They see the “big” stuff I get accomplished, and see it all as a good thing.

They’re wrong.

Really, being good at big things is, at its heart, selfish.

I hate to admit it, but the Lord has brought it to my attention more and more. Why is it self-focused? Because everything in God’s economy is opposite of ours. Big is small and small is big. Jesus said it this way: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16) And he likened the kingdom of God to a mustard seed – the tiniest seed ever – that grows into a huge tree (Matthew 13:31). 1 Corinthians 1:27 summarizes it: “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” Our world values big things, but God doesn’t. It’s kind of like “Opposite day” that my kids like to play. It’s opposite eternity in God’s kingdom. In His world, the smaller, the weaker, the better. If it’s not smaller and lesser, then it’s less God’s kingdom and more…self.

That’s not so good news for me. My strength is the big things… the outward things. Yes, I can speak in front of people, and I can do really good research on important topics, and I can even help develop a day treatment facility for at-risk youth. But what I struggle with is those things that you can’t see so easily: pride, ingratitude (particularly in the form of complaining about whatever), impatience, the need to control…the list can go on and on, I assure you. Unfortunately for me, those are the things that actually count in God’s kingdom.

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Who are blessed? The poor in spirit. The meek. The peacemakers. Those who mourn. Who does God use? Those who are willing to be, as God told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, small: “For my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Not those who can accomplish big tasks by themselves.

That’s the other reason being good at big things is selfish. If I’m good at doing something big, then I’m the one doing it, not God in and through me. The whole process of sanctification, of becoming more like Christ, of being able to be used by Christ, happens in our ability to become small. Our character is developed through our daily, mundane responsibilities of everyday life. Not the big, exciting tasks that I plan and execute out of my own power or abilities. The moment by moment walking with Him and making the choice to do the small, the insignificant, the mundane, the ordinary, and to do it with joy and gratitude. God’s power is made perfect in us through our weakness, not through our strength. Through our littleness, not our bigness.

What does this mean? It means that I need to choose to clean the bathroom with joy, out of an effort to become small. I need to give thanks each time I have to hand wash a food-crusted pot, because the very act of doing it helps to make me more like Christ. It probably also means that I even need to put my phone charger back in its cubby. If I’m reveling in the accolades, or patting myself on the back for having completed a big project, I’ve become big again. And by doing so, I’ve started moving away from God’s kingdom. It means I need to stop searching for the big task, and instead rest, in joy and gratitude, in whatever small thing comes my way. I need to actively seek the small and the insignificant, because doing those helps me fight the beast of self, like David against Goliath, with smallness.

I think I’m going to go sort the laundry now.

Maybe, if I do it enough, I’ll actually get to a place where the Lord can do something big through me.

2 Responses to “A Big Task Girl in a Small Kingdom World”

  1. Rebecca says:

    ENFJ, as of the 10th grade, which is the last time I think I actually took it! So…yeah.

  2. polly says:

    Wonder what your Meyers-Briggs is? Mine is INFJ (as in, I am so perfectly described by the INFJ description that it is downright creepy), and I see a lot of myself in this as well. I have a hard time with the quotidian tasks of everyday life, but have reconciled myself to them by remembering that they are instrumental to carrying out The Vision of my life that guides me. They are tools, perhaps; or little stepping stones. Or just completely unavoidable aspects of life (sometimes I long to live in 19th Century England where even middle-class families had a housekeeper and a cook….although I might have been a housekeeper or a cook!!) Anyhow, I get what you’re saying! And yes, fighting that beast of self….lessons to learn/remind ourselves about every day!!!

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