I used to moan deeply inside whenever I heard someone expressing satisfaction over doing house chores. It was a ''mixed'' moan: half self-righteous, in that I felt above being interested in what I considered ''meaningless and inconsequential'' tasks; and half guilt because I knew if I were being honest, I'd have to admit to a rather sloppy attitude about my personal environment.
Since I couldn't afford a housekeeper, dishes would be washed begrudgingly, and other housework would be done with a maximum of exasperation or boredom and a minimum of inspiration. I was sure that such mundane tasks were a waste of my intelligence and talents.
I was ripe for a major spiritual awakening. But how could the spiritual conceivably relate to housework? Not very closely, in my old estimation.
But I have a new revelation on the subject, which I'd like to share. So much has my attitude about house chores shifted that my friends and family have noticed the considerable change - in the house and in me.
Christian Science has been lifting me to see the thought behind every activity, and to choose the best thought or motive in any task I must carry out. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''Our thoughts beget our actions; they make us what we are.'' n1
n1 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, P. 203.
In this case, resentful and apathetic thoughts about housework had not made me a better or a freer person. I needed to see the housework as an opportunity to live the beauty of Christly qualities and ideals.
I looked to the Bible for inspiration, as I had become accustomed to doing. This passage from the book of Psalms was helpful, and I decided to hold to it as I worked: ''Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.'' n 2
n2 Psalms 90:17
Inspiration began to take hold of this area of my life. Certainly I could not divide my life into areas of significance and insignificance; my thought about my life had to be unified. As a follower of Christ Jesus, I had to be willing to yield to God, to divine Truth, Life, and Love, in all things. This would help me. Self-will, self-justification, and self-righteousness certainly weren't helping me.
I've come to realize that it's the perfecting and spiritualizing of thought that's the real work, whether I'm mopping the floor or involved in a profession outside the home. Having the very best thought I can in any type of work means expressing humility, intelligence, thoroughness, joy, gratitude, unselfishness. These are God-derived qualities, and it's natural for us to express them, because our actual selfhood is the very image of God. As God's offspring we're not dissatisfied, frustrated mortals.
My home atmosphere benefited tremendously as I expressed more of the divine nature. I now see family members joining together, expressing more teamwork and cooperation in keeping things in order.
Sometimes I'm more consistent than at other times in showing more of my real character as the image of God. But I can certainly say I've gained greater satisfaction. House chores haven't robbed me of time I would rather spend on something that would ''develop'' me more. Instead, the doing of necessary chores while I'm consciously expressing more orderliness, patience, and love has resulted in a better organized life. Now there's more time at my disposal to express ideas and interests in other areas.
Mrs. Eddy writes, ''Of two things fate cannot rob us; namely, of choosing the best, and of helping others thus to choose. But in doing this the Master became the servant. The grand must stoop to the menial.'' n3
n3 Miscellany, P. 165.
No honest or sinless work can be undignified or degrading. Christ Jesus' life illustrated God's presence in the humblest of details. How else could he have mastered the greater issues of sin, sickness, and death? In the parable of the talents he taught his followers the commendation of obedience: ''Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.'' n4
n4 Matthew 25:21
Grace and obedience in the everyday details of life transform us more than we know, and prepare us to help ourselves and others in even more significant and lasting ways. DAILY BIBLE VERSE He that humbleth himself shall be exalted Luke 14:11