I recently spent a full Saturday morning grocery shopping and cooking all the meat we would eat that week. I love taking care of business and being productive at home. I bought 10 pounds of chicken breasts and cooked all of them for quesadillas, stir fry, and soup; I also bought 7 pounds of bananas to peel and freeze for smoothies. I had to clean out our freezer to store the bananas, and ran across some meat that had been gifted to us a questionable amount of years ago. Instead of pitching it in the trash, I decided to cook all of it to re-store for our cat. At one point I had the smell of chicken, goat (another story), and bacon all cooking at the same time. I actually hate cooking meat, so somehow getting it all done at one time feels better than waiting and cooking it throughout the week.
As I was cooking (and feeling really good about my productivity) this nagging, nasty, little voice kept sneaking into my mind trying to tell me I was wasting time and being selfish–that somehow spending the entire morning in my own kitchen cooking for my family was selfish. I was reminded of how the devil will use anything to kill my joy; it may be something someone said or something I’ve read that’s burrowed deep into my soul creating doubt.
Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between conviction from the Lord and lies from the devil. However, Jesus told us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Life becomes complicated when we forget what and who we should be focusing on. The bible says in Proverbs, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” (Proverbs 4:25-27)
When we’re distracted from our work set before us each day, whether the distraction is good or bad, we’re not living with joy or accepting the abundance that the Lord is offering to us. My particular purpose that morning was to cook food for my family, and even the simplest chore can be done with purpose when we do it out of love.
Another translation of the bible says “give careful thought to the path” instead of “ponder the path”. When we’ve given careful thought and prayer to the path we’re on and know it’s where we’re meant to be, we can fight the doubts when they come along. It’s so easy to become dissatisfied with the path the Lord has placed us on and the blessings he has given us when we look to the left or the right away from God for our guidance. Why is it so easy to doubt and criticize ourselves? Whether we’re spending our entire days at home changing diapers and wiping noses, waking early to go to work, or living as missionaries in another country, we are on a path that has been set before us, and we can walk with confidence if we keep looking directly forward, doing our work for the Lord.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)