Gratitude during Challenging Tasks

Do you have moments where you think, “This is really hard!” or “Why am I doing this?” or “Wow, this is taking way longer to do than it should!”

I definitely experience these thoughts. Like tonight, when I was working on an important project for our homeschool co-op. All of a sudden I realize it’s the early hours of the morning. For the last two hours, I have been trying to finish things up, only to find that there is more, and more, and more to do! I suspect you have times like this, too.

Maybe you’ve had times where it’s taken way too long to get the kids ready to leave the house. Maybe you’ve had times where it’s taken a long time to choose your curriculum for your upcoming homeschool year. Maybe you’ve had times where it’s taken a long time to clean the kitchen.

What do all of these have in common? They are things that need to get done, and you’re the one who needs to do them.

That’s tough to hear!

One thing that helps me is to remember the Wedding at Cana.

At the Wedding at Cana, Mary knew that the wine had run out for the bride and groom. In order to help, Mary asked the people at the wedding to do whatever Jesus told them to do. Then Jesus turned the water into wine as a gift for the bride and groom, and for their guests. I love Mary’s trusting words, “Do whatever He tells you.” This is a beautiful image! Jesus knows what is best for us, and He knows what is best for everyone around us, too. We are Jesus’s hands and feet, and He can and does ask us to do things. God might ask us to do hard things, or He might ask us to do easy things. He might ask us to do things we are not good at. Remember how inadequate Moses felt when God asked him to speak to Pharaoh? You might feel that way, too, when God leads you to do certain things in life. God might ask us to do things that will leave us exhausted (e.g., raise children). He might ask us to do things that we love to do and that make us happy. He might ask us to do things were are good at–He might ask us to do many things that we are good at because God has given us many gifts. God is a loving God.

“Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5)

When I am faced with a difficult challenge, I might have to reassess. Is this what God wants me to do? Discernment is an important part of our life. Prayer is key, and knowing God in an ever day relationship is important.

If I have discerned that it sure seems like God is asking me to complete a challenging task, I try to remember Mary’s words, “Do whatever He tells you.” God will provide.

I suspect if you’re reading this blog, you probably already trust in Jesus! I find great comfort in the Divine Mercy Chaplet when I am completing a challenging task, particularly when I get to a point when I feel like there are a lot of factors out of my control. Instead of praying the entire chaplet, I sometimes simplify it and repeat, “Jesus I trust in you.”

Jesus does ask us to do things that we might not actually be able to complete, but sometimes He just wants us to try. Out of love, you can do things for Jesus because you trust in His unconditional love.

Another way I like to face difficult tasks is to remember, “This is really hard, but I owe my life to Jesus.” On a practical level, looking back at the story of my life, I can think of a few times where I could have died, but by God’s grace, I am here. You might be able to think of times like that for you, too (e.g., car accident, cancer scare). For whatever reason, God has helped me through some difficult times and did not (yet) call me home to heaven.

When you realize these “close encounters” to death, a natural question is, “Why?” It helps to remember that it’s a gift to be here on this Earth. It’s a gift when you can recognize God’s will for you and accept it. It’s easier to do God’s will if you can recognize it as an opportunity to do something for God, even if you are not good at it, or even you are having trouble persevering to complete the task.

The next time you are doing a task that God has led you to do (e.g., educating your children, loving your spouse, taking care of your home), consider trying any of these strategies:

  1. Trust in Jesus.
  2. Do whatever Jesus tells you to do. (As best you can discern!) Memorize the Bible quote.
  3. Offer up what you are doing for Jesus with love. Imagine what you are doing is a gift to Jesus.
  4. Be grateful for the opportunity to do the special task for Jesus and for others.
  5. Be grateful that Jesus asked you; He really could have asked someone else, but He has asked you to be His hands and feet.
  6. As an Italian religious sister once taught me, “Fake it till you make it!” Sister Raffaella loved to say this. The idea is if you know you are doing something that is Holy and is God’s will, but even if you don’t think you are good at it, just pretend that you are good at it. Then it will likely become easier and more natural…and even if it never becomes natural, at least you are trying!

 

 

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