Diligence = Visualizing each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to accomplish it. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." Colossians 3:23
"...a special assignment from the Lord..."
As a homeschooling mama, I find I have no trouble whatsoever at finding tasks to keep me busy! In fact, many days, I work very hard and with all my heart....but only to find a disappointingly small portion of my to-do list crossed off. I'll transfer my unfinished tasks to the next day's list and then wake up in the morning already feeling overwhelmed. Why is it that there are so many things to do, and yet so little time?
I've been reading a wonderful book about the Proverbs 31 woman - Beautiful in God's Eyes, by Elizabeth George. (I highly recommend this book!) And there is something about this incredible lady of Scripture - as well as her New Testament counterpart, the young women of Titus 2:4 - that has really helped me find peace and success in being diligent in my work:
She has limits.
These beautiful women are diligent, yes - but only in the things the Lord has given them to do. Take for example the young women of Titus 2:4. As far as work is concerned, they are admonished to love their husbands and children...and to be busy at home. And that is all! Certainly, they could - and I'm sure they did - do other things too, but anything more is not required. According to this verse, any tasks that are not involved with taking care of my family and home are 'extra' and are not a burden placed on my shoulders that I must accomplish. What a relief!
The woman of Proverbs 31 is diligent, industrious and successful...but she, too, is selective in what tasks she spends her energy on. She takes care of her family and builds her home. She is a business-woman - but this arises out of the work she is already doing at home (weaving and sewing) and does not interfere with her priorities. She is focused and purposeful - and I can't help but notice that she (like the Titus women) is busy at home. And only at home.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and lern from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
I've been taking a long, long look at my huge to-do list in these past few weeks. The question must be asked: who is assigning these tasks that are written here? Is it the Lord? Or is it me? The answer is difficult to accept, sometimes, because there are so many good and wonderful things that a homeschooling mama can try to accomplish with her time! But unless those noble things have been given by the Lord, they will become a burden, or even worse - a problem, if they distract me away from the true work He has given me to do.
Love my husband and children. Manage my home. Educate my children. I have learned that when I apply all my energy to accomplishing these things, my work really is finished by the end of the day. I may not have been able to do all of the 'extra' things I'd like to, but there is peace in my home and my heart. And I wake up refreshed and hopeful the next morning!