The Miracle is in the Monotonous
A few weeks ago, I was in the gym working out and I just got this feeling of complete boredom. I was going through some upper body exercises and I thought, “This isn’t actually fun. I just did these same exercises a few days ago and I’m over this repetition.” I laid on my mat for a couple of minutes thinking about what I wanted to do next when I got hit with this thought…
Sometimes the miracle is in the monotonous.
I had been doing those same exercises for several weeks, and as a result I had gotten a lot better at doing them. When I first started going those particular exercises I felt physically ill because they were so hard for me. Laying on my mat in the gym that day though, I realized I had grown stronger. Somewhere along the way, I stopped doing push-ups on my knees and moved to push-ups on my toes and I traded in my 8 pound weights for 15 pound weights.
But none of that progression would have happened if I would have bailed on my routine of working out, as unexciting as the routine is somedays. (Most days it isn’t unexciting at all though because it’s my only time-out from motherhood.)
I heard someone say one time that the miracle can sometimes be found in the mundane (I can’t remember for the life of me where I heard that, but it stuck with me) and I think that is absolutely true – especially as it relates to working out and motherhood.
Some of these training runs I’m doing for my half marathon in November are definitely wearisome, but in doing these dull runs now I’m setting myself up for crossing that finish line later, which will feel like a miracle…but the miracle is actually happening now with every practice run I cross off my calendar.
I know a lot of my friends have asked me if I get bored as a stay at home mom. I’ll go on the record stating that I never get bored. Boredom sounds like a luxury because it alludes to the fact that I have free time. Quite frankly, my children don’t allow me the time to be bored. There is always something to do – laundry to fold, a mess to clean, a bathroom to scrub, a meal to make, a dish to wash, a boo boo to kiss, a book to read, a train set to build, a discipline to be doled out, a toddler’s question to answer, a plant to water, a lego to fish out of someone’s mouth, etc. You get the picture. I’m never bored. However, somedays I do find the whole routine incredibly monotonous and I grow tired of it.
But then I think that in the midst of all the tedious tasks, a miracle could be happening. Like our bedtime routine, for example. It’s a long one with Atlas. We read a book, we point out different letters in the book, we ask him what his favorite part of the day was, we ask him what he wants to talk to Jesus about, we pray together, we act silly for a little bit, we go over the family rules and we say “I love you” back and forth 12 times. It’s a process, ya’ll and usually it is a process that I love and I try to savor because it is such a sweeeet time with my baby boy. But some nights I’m just so dang tired that I want to skip the whole thing and just say, “Peace out! I love you! See you in the morning!”* But I think I would be robbing myself of a miracle if I did that night after night. I’m hoping all that time we spend with Atlas (& eventually Andi Rose too) before bed will lay a solid foundation for communication that will stay with us through the (scary) teenage years. I want my kids to be used to talking through things at night in their rooms with Dave & me so when they are teenagers who are facing difficulties at school they know that they can trust us with their issues because we are invested in them. But in order for them to one day realize that I’m invested in them, I’ve got to actually invest in them now and sometimes that investment looks (& even feels) tedious.
To Atlas, I’m just being ‘mom’ when I do his bedtime routine, but I pray that one day he realizes I’m on his side in life and I’m his biggest ally and fan…but I’ve got to lay that groundwork now to experience that miraculous relationship that’s rooted in love & trust with him later…and sometimes laying that groundwork is…well….work.
So, if you’re feeling over the monotony of your routine – whatever your routine is – I encourage you to think about what you’re doing now as it relates to the bigger things in life you want to accomplish. Maybe the tedious work you’re doing now will pay off big in the future if you stick with it. Or maybe you do need to switch things up – there’s nothing wrong with that either! We all need a change of pace sometimes! That’s why I signed up for my half marathon – I knew I had achieved the fitness goals I set for myself earlier in the year and it was time for a new goal. If you’re bored because you’ve already reached your goal and now you’re stagnant in life, then definitely reevaluate where you are and where you want to be! Just don’t bail on the boring stuff now if it is what’s going to get you to the good stuff later! 🙂
*Full disclosure: For my sanity’s sake there are nights every once in a while where I shower while Dave does the bedtime routine with Atlas and I just come in to kiss him goodnight. This isn’t the norm, but it does happen because sometimes we all need a break in life. So, if you’re a mom, don’t beat yourself up because you sat something out – it doesn’t mean you’re not a key player in the game – you just needed a water break so you could play better later. 😉
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not grow weary in doing good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”