I’m hustling around the house, tackling the busy in an otherwise quiet evening. I clear off the remnants from another week night’s dinner in what seems like one swift move, head towards the stairs as I pick up the pair of shoes that have been sitting there since who knows when, take each step up at an extra-fast pace, turning into the bedroom as I toss the shoes onto the closet floor. The night is no where near over. I have lists to tackle, blog posts to write, laundry to sort through. Why am I the only one up and moving?
I walk into the bathroom and catch myself in the mirror. I’m just so tired of the doing, I say. I look extra long at my face, tired from the day to day.
Tired of the dinners I cook after a full day of work that don’t always come with a thank you. Tired of the cards I send that go unacknowledged. Tired of the sweet notes I leave that don’t get returned. Tired of the gifts I spend weeks, even months, thinking about and gathering that get tossed aside as quickly as they were opened.
Tired of always being the one to do while desperately yearning for someone else to do for me.
I crumble underneath my comforter, exhausted from the effort. I feel drained as my tank sits at empty. It’s been several weeks since I have last felt full and I have nothing left in me to give.
I need to be filled up, too, I whisper to the silence around me. I need the cards, the sweet notes, the words of affirmation. I need the night where I’m told that dinner is being handled. I need the gestures, the going-out-of-the-way’s, the occasional flowers just because.
Why do I do? I question my actions. Why do I do if I don’t get anything in return? What’s the point?
I’m just going to stop, I decide. I’m going to stop writing the notes if I know they aren’t going to write one for me. I am going to stop buying the gifts for unappreciative people. I am going to stop cooking dinner. We can each fend for ourselves. Then they’ll see, I determine, my pride swelling up.
If I stop giving, then I stop expecting and my feelings are safe from hurt. It’s logical. And right now my heart can’t take any more but logical. I lay there, my eyes welling, deciding to just quit.
Where’s the joy? I hear Him stop me mid-thought. Where’s the joy in your giving? Where am I in all of this?
He has a point and I am choked by the interruption. Where is my joy? Why am I giving? If everything I ever did went unacknowledged for the rest of my life, would I still do it?
It’s a hard to question to answer as I lay numb between the sheets. In that moment, I don’t want to get up and do anymore.
If Jesus’ sacrifice went unacknowledged for the rest of eternity, would He still do it? The answer is obvious and I am put back in my place. Joy, I think. I’ve got to remember joy.
I go back downstairs, attitude adjusted. I turn on the faucet, ready to tackle the sink full of dishes, trying to pour grace on the one who sits on the couch. Before the first plate is rinsed off, he stands up and walks up behind me. I’ll take it from here, he says.
I sink into grace, my tank filling up. I have been released from this chore and I am told to walk away. I can go tackle my list, my laundry, my writing. Finally, I am given a break.
But I decide to stay, the two of us crowded in a small kitchen. My joy decides to stay and help and the tank keeps filling. I realize that it’s not just the receiving, but the joy in the giving, that fills us up.
And I soak in that moment one dish at a time.
By Jordy Liz, Wide Open SpacesLeave a Comment
God bless you for this. May God help me to find joy in ALL I do and remember to do it ALL for his glory.
My prayer as well!
I have been ashamed at my l lack of joy lately, especially concerning my household and my children. I too work full time and hardly have anything left to give, and everything I do seems to go unnoticed. I tend to forget that I “do all to the glory of God”. Thank you for this post.
I feel ashamed often about it… it is about the glory and I have to remind myself of this daily.
Oh, thank you so much for this beautiful and insightful and PRACTICAL post today. I really needed to read it… Now I need to absorb it. Thank you. Thank you. x
I am so glad you found it practical… thank you for your comment!
Beth Werner Lee says
And even if he stays on the couch, at his laptop, whether working or doing the crossword, the dishes are done for the glory of God.
Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured the cross! he is ours.
Today I woke and made the coffee and cleaned the sink and counters I didn’t face last night, and sat to read before the next thing on a Sunday morning and your post ministers to my heart.
God be with you.
Yes, even if he stays on the couch at his laptop. 🙂 I need a daily reminder of this, too. Thank you for your comment!
It’s funny, I had a similar conversation with a friend about this. I am very similar in the fact, that I write the notes, initiate the friendships, make the cookies for others, host the dinners. And it is exhausting feeling like there is no one there to do for you what you do for others.
This was encouraging because it causes me to ask the questions about why I do the things I do and what my motivation is. And also causes me to ask, where I find my joy, from people or from the Lord.
I wish it wasn’t so exhausting but as women we just need the appreciation and affirmation. Fortunately, God is always there to give it when we so often turn to others.
That was beautiful and timely … I sure needed to ‘hear’ it. Thank you for sharing it.
A much needed reminder of why we do the things we do, especially the ones that are unnoticed. I am a stay at home mom of three and lately I often feel the, why do I keep doing ‘these things’ if no one cares. God cares. He would not have put me in this place if he did not have a plan for not only me but my family. Thank you for your post!
I totally needed to hear this today. Thanks for sharing your heart, and giving our hearts a boost =)
Thank you for your comment!
Beth Williams says
Needed this for myself at work. Sometimes I wonder why I do certain things over and over without appreciation – I know God does appreciate everything we do no matter how small or big!
At work and at home – me, too!
Amy McCollister says
This hit home, big time. I work in a group home for adults with developmental disabilities. I’ve been there for 2 months and rarely hear anything positive, or a thank you. I have found myself wanting to just slack off at work due to this very reason. This weekend, I prayed for the motivation to go in and work my best. I got a glimpse of what it can look like to do something for Him, instead of for the thanks.
What a blessing you are to them. I pray that you feel appreciated and know that you are doing so much for His people that so often go forgotten about.
Dawning Inspiration says
A great reminder….
Thank you for the comment. 🙂
Amy Hunt says
It’s the *doing it anyway* that gets His attention…when we choose to serve first without anticipation or expectation of getting it back, we are worshipping Him. Isn’t it so neat how He loves us so much through those moments when our pride asks “Hey, how about me?” and it’s His Grace that shows us it’s not about us? He’s so amazing how He uses everything!
Rich blessings, Jordy, as you continue to serve Him…
Yes, without anticipation and without expectation of getting it back – that’s how Jesus would do it. I am always asking, What about me? Thanks for your reminder of that.
Thank you for the reminder…at times my life seems bleak and lonely. I reach out and write notes, send cards, remember birthdays. I cook, clean, and comfort, and many times I feel that nothing is appreciated or returned in kind. I am relatively new to my faith and need to learn to find the joy in doing these things with a “God Heart” not a “Sheila Heart”. Blessings to you Jordy…
I pray that your new faith grows abundantly as you reach out to serve others. It’s hard to break our stubborn hearts and only He can do it…
Amen. Thank you for the reminder – the switch of the attitude – the return to joy!
I like how you said that. 🙂 Return to joy!
This is so meaningful for me today. Thank you for the reminder, as my tank has been low as of late. It can be easy to forget that all we need to do to fill our tanks is to turn to Him. Just can’t thank you enough!
I pray your tank fills up soon and I know He won’t let it get too empty.
Living the Balanced Life says
Thank you for this post. I struggle with doing too much and write about encouraging women to take a step back and take care of themselves, which they should. However, sometimes we do need to do these things as a gift of service, expecting nothing in return, knowing that all the while He will fill us up, He will refresh us, if our heart is right.
The successful woman’s guide to NOT doing it all
Women take on too much, don’t they? We are a powerful people and want to take care of ourselves and others all the time. Thank you for your words.
I came back to re-read this post after today. I so want to be able to find the deep joy in my service to my family and yet it seems hard sometimes. Actually, a lot of the time. : )
I need an attitude adjustment as well. I know that Jesus is the one who can help me with this. I know this… and yet it seems hard to find Jesus in my fatigue, in my relentless list of tasks, in the moments when I have lost my patience with the 100th request of the day… I need a “stop” button at those times. A “stop-and-reset” button, I think. I need to remember to do everything as if I serve Christ every moment of every day.
Thank you for sharing, I feel very encouraged & not alone.
For Catherine Rhodes says
For Catherine Rhodes of Bealaville, NC
More Encouragement from Incourage says
[…] from Wide Open Spaces wrote about Finding Joy in the Doing. Let’s be honest – doing the dishes every single day and night isn’t the most fun […]