As a new college grad, I couldn’t wait to go to work every day. Which industry and the actual work were fuzzy details in my imagination. My dreams were full of promise, full of hope, unrealistic in the best way.
When the time finally came for me to go to work every day, it was for less money and at a higher cost than I anticipated. I’d worked part time throughout high school and college in similar offices, but what a difference between 10 and 40 hours. Like, about 30 hours worth of difference.
Thirty hours of answering the phone, making copies, unloading reams of copy paper, absorbing tension from coworkers and clients.
As a newlywed, I delighted in the new responsibilities that came with my new role. I planned and cooked the meals, scrubbed the toilet, did the laundry with cheer, as though I’d never done these tasks before. The newness of having someone to do all this for felt affirming and rewarding.
But that sink of dirty dishes fills up every day. The newness wears off, and there are moments when it feels like an endless cycle of drudgery.
The thought arrived as tiny and irksome as a buzzing fly: I can be more than this. Something irritating to swat away.
But like the fly, the thought would always circle back around, sometimes landing briefly. On particularly tiresome days, when I felt at my lowliest, the belief that I not only could do something meaningful and important, but deserved to, began to take root.
In an eerily short amount of time, the root sprouted into a palpable discontent. I watered it most days. Disappointment and an ugly pride overshadowed much of what was already good and fruitful in my life.
I won’t say I don’t still feel that way some days. The difference is that now I see it for what it is: a desire that more, better, and bigger will never quench.
It’s rooted in a dangerous pride, overcome only by patience and gratitude. Either I set it aside, or it will swallow me whole.
But really? Five years later, and I still have someone’s socks to wash? It’s not the task that’s rewarding, but the bigger picture. There’s joy and promise in the work that maintains my most important relationship on earth.
The unglamorous 9-5 paid our bills for two years while Mike finished school, now one of my proudest accomplishments.
I don’t mean to discourage big dreams. Be grateful because you have it better than most, forgoodnesssake.
Not at all. The line between complacency and contentment is so fine that we can sleep walk right over it without noticing.
This isn’t to stifle, but to encourage. You may feel like you’re waiting for something big to happen, waiting for the exposition to build into its climactic peak.
Maybe you are. Maybe you’re preparing for greatness. But in the meantime, what is the work you can call yours? While you’re hoping for more, what are your already capable hands uniquely equipped to do?
Right now, I’m harvesting some seeds planted during those early years of marriage, while I was driving to that office every day.
In other ways, this is a season of preparation and equipping. I’m pouring out what I’ve got for the good of others, and I’m soaking in more for a purpose I can’t see yet.
Your daily work might not feel glamorous. It might feel hard and exhausting and unappreciated. All fruitful work is like that.
Do the work that’s yours. What everyone else is doing and what you’ll do in the future is inconsequential right here, right now.
Do you struggle with appreciating the work you have?