Remember when I wrote about my house being in shambles due to slab leaks and other such problems (just smile and nod)? Well, that’s still my…
Life is full of what we might call meaningless details. Personally, I’m in a season punctuated by these time-consuming trivial things. I suppose that’s what happens when you have 1 shower leak and 2 slab leaks in a matter of 2 months. There’s lots to fix! But alongside the necessity of repair (“necessity,” I admit, is a relative term) there are 101 smaller decisions about details — what to do for shower tile, and shower hardware, and paint colors, and floor color and type and style, and on and on the list goes.
At first it might sound dreamy to make all these “fun” decisions, but eventually they feel like an intrusion to the more valuable aspects of life.
Put it this way: we all have a limited amount of time and energy (and money), and investing a good chunk of our resources into stuff that won’t last more than 50 years can feel like a waste. Which is why, sometimes I find myself tempted to adopt a bad attitude with each new domestic distraction. But I recently remembered some wise words my daughter’s mother gave her… (yes, that means they were my words): Maybe the stuff you are dealing with is meaningless, but how you handle it is not.
Why Meaningless Stuff Matters
No doubt our kids feel like plenty they do is pointless (making their bed, memorizing math facts, folding clothes, washing dishes, etc). Which is why at some point I told my daughter that even if what she is doing is (or feels) pointless, the way she goes about it still matters. Because the truth is, God cares about the character she’s developing as she goes about her tasks. Her work ethic is important. Her patience is valuable. Her joy through difficulty matters. Her ability to persevere is crucial.
Even if what she is doing on the outside is entirely inconsequential — what is happening inside has potential to please or displease God.
And the same is true of me and you.
There is probably a massive list of chores and activities we do every week that seem trivial and inconvenient — and maybe the reality is they are, but who we are (and who we are becoming) as we go about these things is very important. And thus the things that don’t matter, in a way actually do.
Redeeming the Mundane
When I think of someone who had a long list of menial tasks I think of the Proverbs 31 woman. The verses that describe her include a whole host of random time-consuming tasks. But what made her so noteworthy was who she was — a selfless God-fearing women. She was worthy of praise even though her tangible accomplishments weren’t much more than decent meals, hand-made clothing, and some profitable merchandise. Nevertheless because she went about her days loving and serving others, all her tasks had meaning and worth.
That’s probably the most important way we can redeem our trivial to-do lists — by making sure we are driven each day by the desire to love and serve others. And with that, we should be God-fearers just like the Proverbs 31 woman (Proverbs 31:30). Our aim needs to be set on pleasing God, which will remind us that our less desirable tasks are no excuse for a bad attitude. Instead they are an opportunity to choose holiness when we don’t feel like it. They are an opportunity for patience and growth, an opportunity to exhibit joy and develop perseverance.
All that to say, random meaningless tasks are not always an interruption to life — sometimes they are just what we need to keep developing our character. What makes them a waste of time is if we are wasting the opportunity!
So all that to say, whatever is on your to-do list for today, don’t forget: It matters how you handle the stuff that doesn’t really matter. Who you are (and who you are becoming) is very important, even when the tasks aren’t so much.