When You Wonder If Your Work Matters

Posted by on July 24, 2014 in writing | 18 comments

The kitchen mat underneath my feet at the sink does little to comfort the ache that shoots through my arches, and throbs in the balls of my heels. It’s made for people who stand a lot, which most definitely qualifies me for the purchase. I do stand for most of the day, sometimes at the sink, and other times in the school room. Sometimes it’s in front of the washer and dryer, or beside the couch, with my arms full of warm, clean clothing that I’m folding.

My work today, includes preparing two meals from scratch and cleaning the kitchen twice, once after each subsequent meal. Tomorrow, they’ll be just as much work, and I’ll give the mat another testing to see if it helps. I admit, my expectations at this moment, are low.

Work Matters

The sink is most often my thinking spot, with the shhh of running providing adequate white noise. I wring my soapy hands, as I consider how to outline my work.

This is not a new debate for me. In my struggle to outline what it is I specifically do, I wonder if my work matters. Doesn’t it need a title or label to count? The various titles for women who work in and around the house are all fine and good, but for whatever reason, I just can’t latch on to such industrial sounding terms as, “domestic engineer”.  I resist the acronym, SAHM (stay at home mom) because I am other things, in addition to “mom”.

Besides the housewifery and homeschooling, I also write, though most of the time, don’t get paid for it. I’m only recently able to, (without choking it out), call said writing, my work. That is my own baggage, though–a story for another day.

I’ve struggled to believe that without a proper name and a steady paycheck, my work still matters.

As I’ve come a short distance in navigating this thought, I fall back on the Word, which tells me that whatever I do, whatever my work looks like matters, not because of it’s substantive value, but because I matter to God, and I was made for good work.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV

Whether I manage to find a comfortable title that fits my hybrid life of mothering, teaching, writing and ministry, or I don’t, doesn’t diminish what I do in God’s eyes. He SEES me, be it at the sink with my throbbing feet, or scrambling to scratch words down at my desk before sunrise.

I work because it brings me pleasure to do so, and because He’s called me to it. It matters for the same reasons. Work though I sometimes curse it, is a gift–an invitation to co-labor along side God, an opportunity to create and serve as a representative of a Kingdom bigger than this tiny spec in the universe. (1 Corinthians 3:9)

In working I find communion. The inevitable tension that comes with juggling numerous balls of varying weight, serves only to stretch me further in my understanding of just how much my work actually matters.

Your work matters to God because you matter to Him. Titles and paychecks don’t determine our worth in His eyes. He values our efforts because He made us in His own image.

****

I spray the last of the macaroni scrapings down the drain and leave the useless mat in search of my supportive shoes. My work today has been about feeding people, in both belly and brains. We have a history lesson to finish and another meal to make before sundown. Maybe, in between, I’ll manage to write something.

 

 

 

Sharing this post in community with the High Calling, (in response to the prompt, Your Work Matters to God) 

  • http://thehighcalling.org/ Marcus Goodyear

    Before my wife started working part time again, she preferred the term “Work at Home Mom” but that “Mom” only label definitely gave her trouble.

    Your talk of finding holiness while doing the dishes reminds me of Brother Lawrence in Practicing the Presence of God. He wrote about his kitchen duties and said this, “That time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things [I'm sure you can relate to that one!] I enjoy God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees…”

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thanks for your comment, Marcus. I love that quote from Brother Lawrence. It is so true. As a busy “work at home mom”, I find all sorts of moments to commune with God, be it at the sink or bent over the tub washing little squirmy bodies. I am grateful that communion with God can be fluid in this way. ;)

  • Lisha Epperson

    “Whether I manage to find a comfortable title that fits my hybrid life of mothering, teaching, writing and ministry, or I don’t, doesn’t diminish what I do in God’s eyes.” I rejected the SAHM and caledl myself a full time parent/educator but it doesn’t cover all I do and I ‘ve given up on searching for an acronym for the many hats I wear. I’m learning to just be my creative self and let God lead the expression of that. So wonderful to read words written by someone who “gets” my heart. Love you for it Kris!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      You just go on being your creative self. You know, it hit me that God has a name for is, it’s our name. It’s Lisha, and it’s Kris. He SEES us, and He calls us by name, not acronym. We are His, and He will lead us continually through this as we constantly surrender it all to Him. Holding on with you, my friend. XO

  • http://www.Littlehousebigworld.com/ Lindsay S.

    I too struggle with the title of what I do and am sitting in that same boat with you. I don’t know what to call it, but I think God calls it faithfulness. Faithfulness to do it day in and day out. Faithfulness to trust him with these weak hands of ours and pray that he uses them for good. Faithfulness to be okay with a lack luster title and thank Him because it really is a grand title after all.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Lindsay, I think you’re right. God calls it faithfulness. That’s perfect. Much love, friend.

  • http://journeytoepiphany.wordpress.com/ Kimberly Sullivan

    Been there. Done that. It’s a stepping stones toward his destination for you! God doesn’t waste anything!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Yes, His ability to use every shred of our lives amazes me. It’s all for purpose, indeed.

  • http://theslamdunktrove.blogspot.com Slam Dunks

    Very important work you are doing Kris, and certainly a role that never gets enough recognition. I am the dish guy for our house, so I use the sink area for cleaning and thinking as well.

    God Bless you and your family.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thank you so much. The sink is a great spot for thinking ;)

  • http://lauraboggess.com/ Laura Boggess

    I LOVE the work you do. The ways you give of yourself matter to me and to the many lives your words touch. I can relate to that struggle with the title too, Kris. Even though I work outside of the home part time now, I stayed home with my boys for ten years before stepping back into my chosen career. And then there is the work I do from home–the career that chose me in this writing thing. It is a sort of communion, isn’t it? I”m glad to rub shoulders with you, friend, in the midst of this beautiful communion.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Laura, I found your words to me so encouraging. Thank you, my friend. it is such a great gift to know we are not alone in our wrestling. It is a dance we learn along the way. God leads with gentleness and grace. Love to you, sweet friend. XXO

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  • Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Oh, Kris, there’s a metaphor in that phrase ‘supportive shoes’ I think…….something substantial that holds you (me) up and gives strength to the work we do. My favorites are Birkenstocks after 6 1/2 hours in a classroom. I hope yours give you the relief you need for the parenting/writing/ministry life you have and give.
    Your work inspires me!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thank you, Jody. My house shoes are a pair of Silver Dr. Scholls ballet flats. They aren’t perfect but they look cute, and they help a little. ;) Praying for you as you continue to work! What a gift you are!

  • Michelle

    In the midst of feeling like these efforts to raise up and train and school my children are futile, I easily forget how He loves and cherishes me and has me right where I am. I do have purpose and I anxiously await the fruit of it.

    Lord, have mercy…help me to see that what I am doing is not futile and thank You for this gentle reminder that You are here with me

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Yes! It’s NOT futile, Michelle. I pray we both cling to that truth!

  • http://www.crazyrev.blogspot.com/ C.Brian Ross

    “… whatever I do, whatever my work looks like matters, not because of it’s substantive value, but because I matter to God, and I was made for good work.”

    A great thought. As another ‘budding author’, working on vol.2 of a planned series, I sometimes wonder if it is worth the effort! I’m not writing Harry Potter in any number of shades of grey, yet believe that my work is helpful to those who wish to understand the Christian Faith better. Not the kind of material that wins a Booker prize!

    Be blessed, dear sister. You, and what you do, do indeed matter to Father God. :-)

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thanks, Brian. God bless you as you continue to do it all for His glory! May you find complete fulfillment in Him. Nothing else measures up, yes? :)