Lesson # 3: Hard work.
Anyone who knows me will know that I like to have a balance in my life. While some people have to resist the temptation to work too hard, I...well, let's just say that's not a temptation for me. And this trait is not a reflection on my parents. My parents taught us girls to work hard. And my other two sisters each have a different personality than me in this area. At any rate, I did not inherit a workaholic jean.
At this phase in my life where I am graduated from college I think I may have also started to feel entitled to having a really cool job. But I haven't found "the dream job." In fact, I don't even know what my dream job is (other than being a mom). But what I realized this week, is that it's not about what job you have. Work is a principle of the gospel. I always need to be working, whether at home doing house work, volunteering in the community, or doing what I call my "high stress, low rewards job" - substitute teaching.
The church leaders certainly teach this principle. I found this page when looking up some statements about work. Elder Neal A. Maxwell said that "work is always a spiritual necessity even if, for some, work is not an economic necessity." It doesn't matter how much I am getting paid or if I am in the field of my degree, I need to work hard.
Jeffrey A. Thompson shared a powerful lesson in his BYU devotional, What is Your Calling in Life?
Allow me to share a simple experience from my mission. As I as nearing my release date, I anticipated a sense of loss when I could no longer give all my time to serving God. At a zone conference, my mission president opened the floor for Q&A on any topic. I raised my hand and asked, “After our missions are over and we are no longer full-time servants of God, how can we keep a sense of purpose?” Before the mission president could answer, his wife leapt to her feet and, literally elbowing him aside, said, “I’ll take this one.”
I will never forget her response. As near as I can recall, she said, “When I do the laundry, I am building the kingdom of God. When I scrub the floors, I am serving the Lord. When I tidy the clutter, I’m an instrument in His hands. I do a lot of mundane jobs, but if my eye is single to God and I’m trying to serve my family, then I feel as much purpose in my work as a missionary can.” Those words remind me of what King Benjamin said about laboring in the fields to support himself—a decidedly unkingly occupation. He said, “I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God” (Mosiah 2:16).e
I have found that the devil tempts me to think I would really be happier if I didn't have to work. But that is not true! In fact, I believe I will never truly find happiness if I avoid work. No amount of leisurely walks or good books will make me feel fulfilled. Work brings joy.
Realizing this turned my week around. I took more subbing jobs and did more work around the house. Even when I was tired Thursday night from managing a rowdy bunch of 2nd graders all day, I set goals for the evening instead of just plopping down on the couch to get sucked into facebook for an unpredictable amount of time. I was in control! On Saturday Jeff and I went to the temple to do sealing ordinances for the dead. Then we worked around the house. It felt great to clean! Having a clean home invites the Spirit. Being organized is empowering. We still had time to be together and Jeff was able to go to campus while I went to the Relief Society broadcast.
I may have to learn this a few more times, but realizing this really helped me change my outlook on my life right now and I am grateful!