Menial

He had Green Curry, and my guy had Drunken Noodles, and I had Spicy Basil Chicken as we sat at my long white dining table last weekend.

We talked over Thai food and it wasn’t the carryout that filled me.

We asked, he answered. We shared, he suggested. We bemoaned, he encouraged.

My ink pen was fast at work as I wildly scribbled down what bubbled up.

I told my husband’s mentor about my current disdain for the constant mundaneness of my existence. A majority of my day is spent doing laundry, cleaning this house, recleaning, recleaning, recleaning, dishes, cooking, and helping my people. It’s incessant.

And yet I have these dreams I dream. I have this penchant for words, and I have visions of what could be, and I have desires unfulfilled, and ideals to achieve, and things I want to do with myself besides match socks and scrape dinner plates and calm people down. (Even though, mind you, much of that is what I wanted and signed up for all those years ago. I had a choice on it. And it’s a huge privilege for goodness sake. And it’s worship.)

“Isn’t there more to me than this?” I said.

“Yes.” was his reply. But then he quieted every flailing inch of me with the following:

 

“But these are greenhouse days, Kate.”

 

Suddenly, all the firing ceased.

Greenhouse days.

He didn’t even need to explain. Those two words resonated, reminded, and made me feel at rest in my current station. He went on to talk about the value of menial tasks when it comes to faith. They create an atmosphere in the head and heart that takes in all kinds of good things and then keeps them there, like glass walls trapping in sunlight.

Listening prayer can take place. Creativity can fly. Service leadership develops.

He then put it forward that this was indeed a season, and that it was up to me to make it fruitful or not, and that I would want it back someday when I’m out actually practicing and pursuing what was dreamed and developed in the greenhouse years.

Can I bear some good fruit outside the home while my main focus is inside the home? You bet, and I plan to. But all this reminded me of my purpose in this moment. And I needed that desperately. Do I think all people need to have a “do laundry, dishes, sickness, and clean up” season in their lives? Not exactly. But was it what I was beckoned to? Yes it was, and I needed the recollection of this. I needed to not feel embarrassed or sheepish over what I chose, either.

And one more thing, do I think that both men and women alike need times of self-denial and service? YES. Lord, yes. It’s near impossible to fulfill a destiny without doing the hard things first. You’d get there and you’d be so egotistical and self-centered that your influence would fall completely flat, and your genuine love for others would wane, and you’re gratefulness would be difficult to keep – if you got to where you were going without walking through some humility, sorrow, invisibility, and surrender.

I’m all about what is happening for women right now. I’m all about empowerment, and voices, and equality, and women really doing their thing, and rising high, and stepping on what once held them down and silent. Absolutely. But in the midst of all the rallying, I began to think that what I had chosen as my main gig for this season somehow didn’t live up to the hype. I began to think that I was above certain tasks and sacrifices. That’s not the movements fault, that’s mine. And I needed the blatant reminder of the value in my current assignment. For others AND for me.

There is immeasurable value in pouring yourself out right within your own walls – whether you’re a “stay at home” person or not.

Ah.

And this is why we have GOT to make a point of sitting down, breaking bread, sipping drinks, conversing, – with the experienced and thoughtful.

Not to turn-for-turn follow their path in life, but to make our lives line up with our own unique calling and highway. Hearing from people that know their lane, stay in it, and drive steady the whole route, no matter where it might lead … they help us to do the same in our own.

We need people like this.

I need people like this – to point me back to my growing spot, to remind me that nothing is forever, and to encourage me to not surpress the dreaming, and planning, and imagining in the midst of my menial. God wants me to do that and He’ll grow lots of really great things from it.

If you’re in a greenhouse season and you’re finding it difficult there, remember that it is the hard that hones us.

And trust that it will all be useful in a good, perfect timing. Not just for you, but others too.

Blessings and growth to each of you this week, friends.

 

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