Once in awhile I’ll have a kid observe me performing some menial task and ask, “Mama, do you like changing diapers/washing the toilet/matching socks/cooking dinner/making the bed?”
It’s always a funny question because on the one hand, most often it’s asked in relation to a chore that no one in their right mind would list as their favorite activity. But it’s become an increasingly funny question over the years because I generally find myself trying to explain why YES, in fact, I do kind of like doing this boring or dirty or endless job.
You know what the secret to living a fulfilled life of purpose is?
Love what you do.
No, that’s not a typo and I didn’t get it backwards. While everything around us (and our carnal hearts within us) screams, “Do what you love! Settle for nothing less!”, we find ourselves transformed by the Holy Spirit until one day we’re confessing crazy things like, “I delight to do YOUR will, oh my God!”
His will becomes a delight. He calls me, and enables me, to love what I do.
And what is His will?
He shows me. He shines the light of His Truth on the shadows of life, and suddenly daily acts of service are seen to have meaning and worth. Nothing is beneath me, because nothing is beneath His notice. Making a name for myself starts to seem a bit like vanity when I see the incredible value of the people around me. Better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Wherever His presence is, there I find joy.
What has God called you to today?
Maybe it’s not your dream job. Maybe you feel like a square peg in a round hole. Maybe you’re hoping this is a stepping stone on the way to somewhere else.
But maybe it doesn’t matter.
Not in the equation of purpose and joy. Those things exist in nowhere and in nothing else but Jesus.
Maybe you’re raising babies and feeling like you’re not cut out for it, and overwhelmed by the never ending cycles of mundane work that are not what you were picturing. Maybe it’s older kids who are giving you a run for your money.
Maybe you were born a woman and that mere fact chafes against your soul.
I’m telling you: the secret to a life of purpose and meaning is found right here, right in this moment, right inside the lines He drew for you. You can love what you do when you realize it’s the thing He’s asking of you. “I delight to do You will, o my God!”
Do you? Do you delight in that?
Oh, many times have I paused and confessed in anger, in weariness, in frustration: My soul is freaking out and I’m not good at this and I hate it. God, show me Your ways. Let me see this in Your light. Set me free from selfishness and striving. I want to delight in Your will!
And He answers. Through His Word, by His Spirit, He washes me with truth and leads me in paths of righteousness.
And somehow, years later, a kid asks me, “Do you like making dinner every night?”, and I pause and realize, there is delight in this task because I am doing it with Jesus, for the people He’s asked me to give my life to.
Pretty much, kid. Pretty much I love what I do.