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Chores and Gifts

Church of the Resurrection Insights Blog 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

This passage from 1 Corinthians claims that God plants gifts in each of us, though they may look so different, it’s hard to see. Sometimes, I have a hard time seeing the gifts of those I’m closest to. And this is most likely to happen when I’m unhappy with myself in some unacknowledged way. Instead of pausing to do a self-check in, I turn my energy on others, focusing on their shortcomings or annoyances. I think of how much happier my life with be if only they would just ____ (fill in the blank).

To interrupt this unhealthy pattern, I’ve found the most helpful strategy is to pause and become mindful of my own present moment. What am I feeling? How is it manifesting in my body? What is underneath that feeling? What deep desire is at the heart of my frustration?

Here is an example: After asking my husband several times to do a chore, he still hasn’t done it. I can feel my frustration building: “Why can’t he just do what I ask? Why does he prioritize other things? He said he would do it, but hasn’t and there’s no telling when he will get to it. Doesn’t he care about our home and life together?” My frustration escalates so that eventually I question his commitment to me. I start keeping score of all the things I do to help him and I’m way ahead on the scoreboard!

But when I just STOP, pause and turn inward instead of focusing on him, I can get curious about what exactly I’m feeling. It looks like this:

  • I pause, interrupt my run-away thoughts

  • take 3 slow, cleansing breaths

  • do a gentle body-scan to notice non-judgmentally what I’m feeling/sensing in my body.

Then I get curious and ask myself some questions:

  • What am I feeling? I’m frustrated with him because I need him to get this done so that I can check it off my to-do list.

  • How is it manifesting in my body? Rising pressure in my chest, upper torso, jittery energy, fantasized rantings about all the things I want to say

  • What is underneath that feeling? I’m overwhelmed with all I feel like I have to do. I expect him to help relieve that by doing what I ask. I realize my self-worth and identity is tied up with being the good person who is productive and gets things done, who has her to-do list cleared at the end of the day.

  • What is the deep desire at the heart of it all? I want to be free of this pressure, to feel spacious in my own life. To not feel compressed and squeezed by so much to do. I long for some breathing space and more joy and availability for God might be up to instead of checking off a to-do list. My heart’s desire is to recognize my beloved-ness of God and stop putting my self-worth in my productivity.

At the heart of it all, I want more open space in my life and less focus on productivity. That is a holy desire and one that I can embrace and start to honor more. My energy starts to shift, as I invite God to hold this desire with me and show me opportunities to live into it, to let go of my drive to productivity. Ironically, it also helps me have “eyes to see” that the very thing I’m frustrated about now is one of my husband’s God-given gifts. One of the things I love about him is his ability to be fully alive in whatever he is doing, not easily pulled away by outside pressures--including mine! I can recover my appreciation for this gift in him.

To be sure, I still want the chore done. But I’m less frustrated, more open to problem-solving together a way forward that works for both of us.

Today, Great Love, help me to get curious about myself instead of blaming others. Open my eyes to their gifts. Amen.


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