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My niece was just given two hamsters, she named them Zig and Zag. She sent us a video of them running on their wheels. They just kept running on the wheel with no final destination. Have you ever felt that way (other than running on a treadmill)? Exhausted, running on your own strength through life at a steady pace to what feels like absolutely nowhere.

Tony Reinke refers to it in his book 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You as “Routines of nothingness. Habits unnecessary to our calling. A hamster wheel of what will never satisfy our souls”1. Doing everything while simultaneously doing nothing. Lost in a perpetual cycle of Martha when the Lord longs for us to be more like Mary.

As a mom of three young littles, it is easy for me to be busy. Busy cleaning dishes, making meals, cleaning toys, changing diapers, grocery shopping and pulling little undies out of pant legs before tossing them in the wash. I don’t need to go far to find something for my hands to do. However, this day-to-day busyness is distracting. These earthly things (which arguably need to be done) are pulling my heart from heavenly things, and my soul feels it deeply and daily.

Am I too caught up in the day-to-day grind that I forget to focus my heart and mind on eternal things? Things that will fill my soul so that I can pour out. I have spent many of my days as a mother caught in a cycle of mundane tasks, and so I forget that God has had and still has a purpose for me.

Maybe My Wheel Is Part of God’s Good Plan?

I recently read the book “Becoming Elisabeth Elliot” by Ellen Vaughn and one quote from the book so perfectly expresses the purpose for this difficult cycle we find ourselves in. Vaughn (and Elliot) wrote about the wilderness wanderings, “the mundane, unremarkable multitude of steps in the long journey of the children of Israel as they headed toward the Promised Land. The stages of their journey, dull and eventless as most of them were, were each a necessary part of the movement toward the fulfillment of the promise” (p.67).

Do you ever feel that sister? The mundane, unremarkable, dull and eventless long days and short years? And yet, as we stand on the other side of history, we can pull back the curtain in this Bible story and see the beautiful truth that these long days are a necessary part of the movement toward the fulfillment of a beautiful promise that one day we will be with Him. The God who spoke everything into existence with a mere breath.

That is the ‘why’ in what we do. These acts of service that we always find ourselves doing are creating in us not only a deep level of sanctification and purity, a deep longing to disciple our children, but also a desire for what’s to come! A healthy longing for heaven, a longing for complete fulfillment in Christ.

“Is this really what God has called me to do?” you might ask yourself. I get asked this question frequently by young moms. Of course as Bible believing Christians we know that yes, mama, this really is what God has called you to do (and it really is a worthy calling!). What we are doing as mothers is a sacrifice and fragrant offering to the Lord. We also know, especially thanks to the ministry of John Piper’s expositions on Christian hedonism, that we are to not only love God but enjoy Him! Enjoy the service He has called us to! Enjoy our ministry at home.

Looking at the Mundane Differently

God tells us in His Word to “not grow weary of doing good” (Gal 6:9), “do everything without grumbling” (Phil 2:14), “train up a child in the way he should go” (Prov 22:6), “make disciples” (Matt 28:19), and “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:16-18). Practically speaking, He called us to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28) and He told us that children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward (Psalm 127:3). So, we can remind ourselves of these Biblical truths every day. We can write them down on sticky notes and plaster them all throughout the house (true story! I did this).

We can also cultivate a heart of deep gratitude for what the Lord has given to us. A grumbling heart is cured when we are focused on our daily blessings. Offer up thanksgiving to God. Pray prayers of praise to the only one who is worthy of it all.  Those are good things to do, but I need to ask myself daily, am I preparing myself for heaven in my current calling?

Martha World, Mary Heart

Oh, that we would be like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet with a year’s wages worth of perfume, ready and willing to demonstrate our love to Jesus with our service to Him. Jesus said that wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she had done would be told in memory of her! Wow! The thing that she was remembered for was her pouring out. Her worship and her service were a pleasing aroma to the Lord. She saw, ever so clearly, who Jesus was. She sat at his feet doing what looked like a foolish, meaningless task and Jesus commended her. Her devotion to him was made known throughout all generations in a mundane, unremarkable task.

Our pleasing aroma to the Lord in this season is for us to willingly and joyfully demonstrate Christ’s love for us in how we serve him and are a service to our family. Our daily cross-bearing routines should point our children to our ezer, the God who helps us in our mundane tasks as we extraordinarily seek His sustenance and look forward to the things to come with joyful anticipation of all that God will do in and through us.