Menial work matters: washing dishes as loving service

Dirty Kitchen

Do you want to make a small shift in your life that will usher in big-time positive change? Do you want joy and peace, regardless of your life circumstances?

Yes? Well then, what I am about to share is definitely for you. It can totally revolutionize your life. It has for me.

A terrible cycle to be caught in

It’s easy to go through life viewing menial tasks or unpleasant/challenging work as something to dislike or dread or avoid altogether.

And, boy, if our life is full of these kinds of jobs, like it is for most of us (especially those of us with kids), well, “poor us. Why can’t our lives be easier?” Of course, there is ALWAYS someone we can think of who we assume has it better or easier than we do.

This is a terrible cycle to be caught in. I am afraid we all fall into it from time to time. And without a doubt it just sucks the joy right out of living. Amen?!

Some examples from my own life

“If only I had a dishwasher, or a dryer, or a ______ I would spend less time stuck doing this chore. Poor me.”

“Other parents put their kids in school and because I am with mine 24/7, keeping the house is difficult. I have it so hard.”

“Look at her, her husband does _____ task. If only mine did, then life would be much easier.”

Sadly, this is how I operated in the past. Allowing negative thoughts and feelings about life control me was my norm. This is a recipe for feeling miserable.

A new view of menial work

One big, yet, simple thing that has turned this around in my life has been changing my thought pattern about menial work and unpleasant tasks. I no longer view it negatively as something to avoid or suffer through. Instead…

I now embrace menial work as an act of love and service.

I finally recognized that the way I respond to every moment in life is either a gateway to joy or a gateway to misery.

If I accept the circumstances of my life, even the menial chore or task that I am doing, with thankfulness, performing it as an act of love and service, then even that “mundane” work can bring me joy.

(For me, as a Christian, I take it further by viewing my work as an offering back to God, in addition to others.)

BUT, if I fight and reject and complain about the menial task (even internally or subconsciously), my “hostility” makes it impossible for joy to grow out of my circumstances. Instead misery is likely to become my companion.

This is possible

There are many things in life we can’t control. This is not one of them. We absolutely get to decide how we are going to react to our circumstances – to the menial work we face daily.

And when we decide to fully embrace this menial work, tasks we can’t avoid anyway, as loving service, we have nothing to lose except frustration and misery. We have everything to gain in joy and peace in our current circumstances. Everything.

This is for everyone

The examples I gave were from my life. But, regardless of whether you are a stay-at-home mom like me, or are working a full-time job, this principle of loving service can apply. When you view grading papers, or filling a patient’s prescription, or cleaning someone’s home as an act of love and service, suddenly these tasks take on a totally new meaning. Suddenly they become a gateway to joy for you.

Want to join me?

Embracing menial work as loving service gets easier over time with some practice. Is this a new concept for you? I’d love to hear!