Smart Work


Do you feel you have to do everything yourself?  I used to feel that way until I found myself in an exhausted heap.  That’s about the time I discovered that some of history’s most accomplished people learned the secret of smart work.

Do you remember the story about Moses appointing judges (Exodus 18)? Moses had led thousands of Israelites out of Egypt. He served as their only judge, hearing and resolving all of their disputes. (Mediating our children’s disputes is a tiring job. Can you imagine breaking up spats between thousands?)

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law saw that Moses was going to wear himself out and wind up in a loony bin (my description).  When Jethro asked Moses why he was doing all the work by himself, Moses said, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will.”  (Exodus 18:14-15)

I can relate to Moses’ response—doing things because they need doing. But sometimes I need to stop and ask myself about the “why” and “how” of my work.  Jethro told Moses that there were other well-qualified men standing around doing nothing and that Moses needed to delegate.  (Sounds like Moses was working hard but not smart.)

Some of us need a Jethro—someone to shake us out of the belief that we have to do everything ourselves. Can I be that person for you today? YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL YOURSELF. Hire a babysitter periodically or swap babysitting with a friend. If you are able, get someone to help you with housework. They may not do it exactly as you would. But, so what? When our kids were toddlers, my friend and I joined forces and cleaned our houses together while our kids played. We finished a lot quicker than when we cleaned our houses separately.  When either of us did shopping at the big warehouse store, we’d pick up things for one another. Figure out your own way to delegate and share duties. You’ll be happier and so will your family.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Photo courtesy Microsoft free images

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3 thoughts on “Smart Work

  1. Thanks, Alecia! These are wonderful words of wisdom! This is a reminder for me that I need to delegate more to my children and accept that it is not perfect. It is hard to make sure that they follow through. It is definately easier to do it myself.

    • Yes, you make a good point. Having things done perfectly or “my way” is a fast way to burn out. So I ask myself, How important is it that a task be perfomed to perfection?
      Most of the time, it’s not important at all. You’re so right that it is often easier to do things ourselves, but then our children miss out on a chance to learn. And we miss an opportunity to do something more imporant, such as, REST!

  2. Absolutely, Alicea! I sometimes feel that parenting magazines make us feel that, if we aren’t doing everything perfect as a parent, then we are failures. I was such a slave to magazines like that when my son was little. And I always felt I fell short when the birthday party didn’t look exactly like the one on the magazine pages, or when I just felt too pooped once in a while to read my son to sleep. I felt like my house had to be “white-glove” ready at all times, even if my mother-in-law lived 300 miles away and wasn’t likely to pop in. I look back and see that such pressure on myself was unecessary and maybe even detrimental. Now, when my son comes home from college, I just try to laugh with him and spend time with him–who cares if the floor has a few dust bunnies or I don’t have time to produce a glistening roast from the oven?

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