Putting Work into Life

Oh, how I wish I’d learned a better work ethic at a younger age. I feel like maybe if I had learned earlier it wouldn’t be such a struggle now. Now, I feel like an old dog trying to learn a new trick, and it feels very much like an uphill battle. In fact, it has me determined to make sure I try to teach my kids this lesson from early on…

Life is Work

And Americans are lazy.

Or maybe just people, in general, are lazy?!

At the very least, I’m lazy, but I’m also pretty sure I’m not the only one!

My mom did her best raising me alone, and I’m so grateful for all that she taught me, but I still grew up lazy. I didn’t learn work ethic. I didn’t learn that life itself is work. Rather, I waited for everything to come to me. I never cleaned my room because I was happy to live in my own mess, I didn’t have to put in much effort to excel at school, and I didn’t even bother trying to get in shape though I was overweight from a pretty young age. In other words, I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, and played all the time, and never did anything that required effort unless I was literally forced into it.


  1. Cleaning
    Now I’m grown, and I’m no longer happy with messes, but I am often too lazy to do anything about them because – well, because it’s work! And it’s not just a little work here and there, like when I was little and cleaned my room once every few month (yes, I know, lucky me – you probably had to clean every week). No, it’s not just a now-and-then thing; it’s a daily effort.
  2. Exercise
    I never exercised as a kid, despite being unhappy with my body. I never played sports, either. I just played with my friends once in a while and basically did what I wanted to do without worrying about whether I was active or not. And I didn’t know – that is, it never even occurred to me – that such a lifestyle wouldn’t be sufficient for my body. Even as a teenager, when I started to realize that some people may need to exercise to control their weight, I thought it was a last-ditch attempt, only to be really considered if dieting alone couldn’t fix the problem. I really thought I could continue my whole life this way! But God didn’t make our bodies to sit around inside all day on the computer! I believe He made our bodies to work and to play, and as our work becomes less and less active, we have to make an effort to exercise in order to stay healthy. Because it’s GOOD for us. It’s not a punishment, as I once believed. It’s not something you do because you have to in order to control your weight. It’s just a good, healthy habit that happens to require daily effort.
  3. Eating
    When I was younger, food was very much an instant gratification kind of thing. My single, working mother rarely had time to prepare a meal from scratch, so we ate a lot of frozen pizza, instant macaroni and cheese, and other such things. Now, I’m ashamed of all the junk I’ve put into my body for over 20 years, but at the same time I realize that in order to eat well, I have to intentionally work at it! And not just once in a while, but every day! I have to think about what I’m eating as well and when and why I’m eating it, and I have to take time out of my day to prepare it.
  4. Relationships
    Even my relationships take work! Who would have thought? In grade school, if you’re in my generation, you called your friends when you were bored, and you were allowed to talk, to maybe one of you would visit the other’s house – simple. The only potential problem was having one or the other set of parents say no for some reason. But as a grown-up, it’s not so simple any more. Friends all come with their own problems, and to have a good relationship, you can’t just call them when you’re bored; you have to be there for them when they need you. And sometimes you have to learn how to love people in spite of their flaws, or in spite of distance, or in spite of lack of time to “hang out!”

And the same is true for a relationship with God! As a child, my mom prayed with me before bed and before meals, and I went to Sunday school. As a teenager, I started to understand that it required more than that, and I started to try harder, but I still thought that it would be easy. Only now am I beginning to understand how much daily work has to be put into that relationship to keep it really strong.

Skills, and the maintaining of them, is the same way. Oy with the work already!

Teaching Work Ethic

How will I (eventually) teach my kids about work? How will I get them to understand good work ethic?

  • Well, I guess the first step is learning it myself. And I’m trying to – really, I am. For the past few months, I’ve been working on building one good habit each month so that I learn to do the things that are good for me. 🙂
  • And I think another part of it will be building good habits in them when they’re young. (I always thought that if I’d been made to play a sport when I was a kid, I would have had a much easier time learning a habit of daily exercise.) I can see it now… my kids will probably hate me for making them do things, and I will wish they could see how I’m doing it for their own good… and it’s probably going to be way harder than I anticipate. But hopefully I can help a little by teaching them healthy habits.
  • Finally, if I can teach them what my friends and I learned in our study of Ecclesiastes last year. All is vanity. Too much work is no good, but neither is too much play. BALANCE is important. So, have one hand of toil and one hand of rest. I think I can help to teach my kids a healthy work ethic by helping them rest and enjoy play- and rest-time. first time baking bread!

Just some thoughts…

Think about what goes into your body. Think about exercise. Think about your relationships. By not allowing play time to be all day, every day, it becomes more precious to me when I do get that time, and my quiet times are more able to fuel me for the work I know I must do for the rest of the time.

And the best part is that work doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Work is rewarding! And when I’m feeling lazy, that’s exactly what I try to remind myself of! lol

(An example of rewarding work: Me with my first-ever homemade bread!)

Ready for Rest and Relaxation

I’ve got the itch. It’s time for R&R. Past time, in fact, if we go by the month Hubby requested for leave. We still don’t know when it’s actually happening, but we know it’s coming soon!

We’re sort of glad that we’re getting mid-tour leave in the last half of deployment, but the long wait to see each other has been kind of killer. Now, with the time fast approaching, it’s almost all I can think about. I spend so much time thinking, planning, imagining him here. We’ve talked about our expectations for the time (I would recommend this highly to people looking to R&R coming up or even redeployment; don’t just assume you’re on the same page!), things we want to do, people he wants to visit. I’ve made to-do lists to get the house ready and shopping lists to make sure we’re stocked up and have all his favorites, and he has started thinking about foods he wants to eat so he can experience all the good stuff before going back. It’s very exciting!

A couple days ago, I was picking up some R&R-related items at the store, and I must have been looking pretty happy as I thought about his arrival – enough that one lady commented on how great my smile was! 😀

The last time we faced R&R, Hubby and I weren’t married or even dating at the time, and he stayed mostly with his family in between making visits to me and other friends. This time it’s going to be totally different. Neither of us has experienced this before, so we may not really know what to expect.

I’m just trying to keep in mind that I should expect a great time and not worry about imperfections. It won’t be perfect, there will probably be some bumps, but we can still have a wonderful time together. My only real hopes are that we have a relaxing, enjoyable visit that refreshes us and helps us make it through the last few months of deployment! Do you have any other tips for how to mentally (or emotionally, or physically) prepare yourself for R&R?


(R&R or mid-tour leave is a two week break during deployment. The soldier basically gets to go home – or somewhere else – and chill out with no responsibilities for a while before going back. Travel time from the deployment location to home doesn’t count, which is good since it can take anywhere from a day or two to a few weeks, but as soon as he or she arrives at home, they get 14 days until their return flight. This is pretty standard for all year-long-or-longer Army deployments. I don’t really know how to works in other branches or with shorter deployments.)

Passage of Time

I’ve been thinking about how deployment is changing my perception of time. I’m starting to realize that God’s using it to give me a whole new perspective, and I think in some ways I’m understanding God a little tiny bit better. Like I have a little more understanding of the idea of him being outside of time itself.

When I have to go a few weeks without seeing friends, I sometimes chuckle on the inside when they explain on our next meeting how much they’ve missed me, while I feel that hardly any time at all has passed. What’s the big deal? Next to having to wait a year to see my other half again, to feel him and look into his eyes… Well, let’s just say it makes all these little gaps of weeks and months feel like nothing.

I can’t really imagine what it is like for God to be outside of time, but if the (global) church is his passion, his love, his other half, so to speak, and he is separated from her for… well, a long, long time… Well, I can imagine that feeling now. She fell away from him, and he won’t be reunited with her until basically the end of this world. Like a year’s separation for me, and how impossible and horrible it seems to a normal married couple, God’s separated from his bride the church for… thousands, if not millions of years. How insignificant must other, shorter increments of time feel to Him? To me it gives new meaning to the verse that says a thousand years is like a day to the Lord.

I’m trying to apply this understanding to my prayer life. See, I’ve been getting frustrated with God for not answering my prayers. Sometimes I pray specifically for the same things for weeks on end, and sometimes I begin to lose hope that he’ll ever hear me and answer. But I have felt like he’s saying to me, “Just because I haven’t answered in a week, you think I’m not listening at all? Trust me! I hear you, and I will answer you. I will meet all your needs. Have patience.”

Sometimes, I’m afraid time won’t ever slow back down. If weeks feel like no time at all, will it still feel like nothing when Hubby is home for two weeks of R&R? Will I have trouble soaking in his presence and enjoying our time together? Will my life speed by too quickly, with this perception of time? I have hope because I’ve known women who have been through deployments with their husbands before who still ached terribly at their husbands’ absence for a week or two of training. So things must eventually return to normal. But hopefully when that happens, I’ll still be able to remember the lesson I learned. Mostly – the patience.