Learn to Love What Must Be Done

This phrase from Goethe has been rolling around in my head lately, in the middle of a pile of laundry, reports due at work, and another tantrum to be corrected and redirected. Life is full of work that must be done, whether we love it or not. (And just in case you think I sit around reading Goethe for fun, I'll freely admit that I found this quote on a piece of art.)

Learn to love what must be done.
— Goethe

We can't always change the circumstances of our lives to fit our preferences - especially if you are a parent. For example, I have a deep, abiding dislike of cleaning. Most of the time, I just don't see the dirt ground into my kitchen floor or the collection of leaves piling up next to the front door. There are so many other things I'd rather spend my time on - like blogging, for example!

But life is full of work God has given me to do. This point was reinforced on the last few pages of a book I read this weekend - Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches. Rachel Jankovic, the author, writes about the joy and hardship of parenting, and quotes a passage from Ecclesiastes -

Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
— Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 (ESV)

Often in our lives, we seek escape from work and toil, whether it's the work of our careers, of hard relationships, and yes, parenting. And we need rest and sometimes a change of scenery. But we also have the ability to rejoice in our toil, because it is a gift from God. Our skills and talents are given to us to enrich the world and bring joy and strength to ourselves and to the people around us. And if we can focus on that gift, it makes the work so much easier.

So this Monday morning, I'm learning to love what must be done - to be grateful instead of complaining, because my dirty floors and full clinic schedule and cries in the night are evidence of God's blessings in my life.

What are you learning to love in your life right now?

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