Ladies, no matter what your station in life is at the present time—whether it be a domestic engineer (a full-time homemaker), clerk, paralegal, secretary, teacher, student, lawyer, waitress, to name a few—there are certain mundane, but necessary tasks of everyday living which the very thought of doing can bring dread.
I have found over time that the worst part of doing any mundane but necessary task is the dread of putting forth the effort. So when the thought of dreading to do something enters my mind, I have learned to give myself a little “pep talk” and say “Don’t dread it; just do it!” Then I forget about the dread and the task gets done.
Beginning at the Beginning
It all begins in childhood, where a child is taught good grooming and proper hygiene. I can recall when I was in elementary school (way back when) my first-grade teacher taught the class a little ditty to sing while acting out the motions. It went like this, “This is the way we wash our face, wash our face, wash our face. This is the way we wash our face, so early in the morning.” Then she would continue on with brushing the teeth and combing the hair. She was endeavoring to teach the class life-long habits of good grooming and proper hygiene—thus reinforcing the parents’ efforts at home.
Also assigning children certain chores in the home or yard can be a valuable starter tool to help them build a strong work ethic for the future and also will give them a sense of accomplishment instead of dread if explained properly.
This reminds me of the first year my eldest son attended summer camp in Orr, Minnesota. I believe he was thirteen years old at the time. The week before he was to leave for camp, in our family Bible study we had been discussing Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” We discussed the many ways in which this instruction could be applied, and the consequences of doing so. It was a very interesting Bible study and the children seemed to enjoy it very much. So, as my son prepared to leave for camp, I reminded him of this scripture. In the first letter we received from him, he wrote, “Mother, I am putting your advice into practice—to do everything with all my might. I am determined to do my part to make camp a success.” His positive response brought tears of joy to my eyes—to know that he was paying heed to my advice.
Many years later, after he had grown children of his own and also grandchildren, some of our family members were sitting around talking, and “out of the blue,” he said, “Mom’s a rock!” He could not have given me a greater compliment. The only reason I mention this is that children do notice our examples—whether we are solid in God’s truth year after year or whether we are as weak as the sand, which can be blown or washed away.
The Apostle Peter uses this imagery to describe our firmness in Christian example. “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:1–5). Yes, we as Christian women are called to be as living stones, with Christ as the chief cornerstone.
We as Christian women can indeed be bastions of spiritual strength to our families and to others—if we in our quiet and steady way hold fast to the truth and stay solid in the faith.
In order to do this, we must be diligent to maintain spiritual growth and to not dread doing the things that this requires—prayer, Bible study, meditation, and fasting. Why are these spiritual tools so important to our spiritual growth? Because they keep our minds focused on God, His Kingdom and His righteousness. I am so thankful that Dr. Meredith reminds us to do these things from time to time—especially to feed on Christ, who is our salvation. If we do not pray and study on a regular basis, how can we truly know the Father or Christ?
Quite a few years ago, my husband and I were attending a ministerial conference in Pasadena, California, in which the keys to spiritual growth—prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting—were emphasized quite often. One of the ladies who was there with her husband had apparently become bored and tired of hearing these instructions. I would hear her laughing and talking to others about the “Big Four” as she called them. She would pass us in the hall and say, “Now don’t forget about the ‘Big Four’” and laugh as she went by. Apparently she did not realize the importance or significance of these spiritual tools.
The dread of doing anything can lead to procrastination. Procrastination can hinder spiritual growth and can cause loss of spiritual ground. The Apostle Paul instructs us: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus... Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind” (Philippians 3:13–14, 16).
Avoid Procrastination and Laziness
Dread can lead not only to procrastination but also to laziness. “I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 24:30–34). Procrastination and laziness go hand-in-hand and neither one is beneficial in any way. The following incident is a classic example.
My husband was telling me one time about a Spokesman Club member who was assigned a speech for the next club meeting. The man told him that all week long he had been struggling to think of a subject to speak about. Each day of the week he would struggle to come up with a subject, but could not think of anything, so he would say to himself, “I will wait until tomorrow and try again.” Finally, at the end of the week, he had decided on his subject. Then on the night of his speech, he addressed the club and said, “Tonight my subject is—procrastination.” My husband said that the way he described his struggles with procrastination during the previous week was very effective and helpful to the club.
There was a song written many years ago titled Mañana (Tomorrow): “Mañana, mañana, mañana is good enough for me”—meaning that to put things off until tomorrow is cool and acceptable, as it is in some quarters of society. But of course, as we know, tomorrow never comes.
So as we continue on in our quest for perfection (maturity), let us heed the words of Christ, “Therefore you shall be perfect [mature], just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). And let us remember to “Do not dread it; just do it!”