Posted by: emilyosburne | June 6, 2009

Finding Significance and Meaning in Every Area of Life by:Robin O’Bryant

skinny jeans Humans are fickle creatures; we continually want what we do not have. Americans are notorious for always wanting to have “more,” to be “better,” and “bigger.” A woman with straight hair wishes her entire life for curly hair. A man with a wife and three kids works eighty hours a week and justifies his actions by telling himself “once I get this next raise, I’ll be happy. I can cut back on my hours and spend more time with my family.” Millions of people work jobs they do not enjoy to pay the bills, never even considering there may be a job somewhere they could be passionate about. It is not our nature to be satisfied and content. It is something we must strive and pray to achieve.

     My entire life I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom, I couldn’t wait to get married, have children and spend my days “playing house” and tending to everyone. When my first child was almost two years old, my dream was realized and as always, the grass wasn’t quite as green as it had appeared from the other side of the fence. While working as a RN in the emergency room, it was all I could do some days to stay focused and do my job, I longed to be at home at dinner time with my husband and child.

     Now I had exactly what I had always wanted, and washing dishes and changing diapers was so insignificant and boring compared to performing CPR and saving people’s lives. I found my self slamming the dishwasher closed, grumbling under my breath as I put my husband’s clothes away, “It must be nice for your clothes to just magically clean themselves and put themselves away! HMPH!”

     After I had my second child in less than two years, I told myself I would be happy if I got into shape and lost some weight. I picked out a pair of “skinny jeans” which hadn’t been on my body in years and got to work. I would be happy once I had reached my goal, when those jeans fit I would officially be fulfilled. I kept food journals and worked out religiously until the day my skinny jeans fit. I had an epiphany when I heard myself saying to a friend, “I think I just need to lose five more pounds.”

     I realized how ridiculous and unreasonable it is to say “I’ll be happy when…” or “If only…then…” The key to enjoying life is to realize it is the mundane and everyday tasks that add up to the sum of your life. If you are not content and satisfied washing the dishes or folding clothes, you won’t be satisfied at the end of a day, a week, a month or even a year.

     You will let years slip by waiting for “SOMETHING” to happen to you or for you so that you can finally be happy. Friends, we must first be happy and content in the mundane and everyday tasks of life. I began to thank God daily that I had dishes to wash, and a healthy child to take care of. I began to take pride in every task I performed. My reward was a sense of contentment and fulfillment that has never waned. I realized that each task I was doing was a ministry to my family and to those around me.  

     No one can do the job God gave you- no one but you. It may seem mundane, and repetitive and even pointless at times. But God has a purpose for you and your life, each task you perform gets you closer to His dream for you. We must choose happiness and fulfillment in every moment. We must know that nothing we do is insignificant. Your attitude in doing the seemingly meaningless tasks of life is the key to finding significance, fulfillment and happiness on a daily basis. Without enjoying the work it takes you to achieve God’s dream for you, you may not even realize when you get there, you’ll still be waiting for the “next big thing.”

What is “the next big thing” you are waiting for now?  Or have you ever gotten “the thing” and then realized that you still wanted more?

Written by: Robin O’Bryant


  1. I suppose my next “big thing” is our family dream house. I am happy without it, but it is something my husband and I have been talking about for years. We are planning to find the house our children will grow to be teenagers in within the next few months. Our eight year old daughter has gotten in on the “big dream” plans. Her ideas for her new room and our new house get more grand with each passing day. I just pray that the “day after Christmas” let down doesn’t happen to her or myself once we finally move in.
    The article reminded me of something a friend of mine once told me after the birth of my first child. She said I should always try to love and appreciate the stage my daughter is in presently instead of always wishing for the “next big thing”. Waiting around wishing for her to be at the next stage – for her to crawl, walk, talk, feed herself, be potty-trained, read, go to school….never cherishing the present day is a sad way to spend your time. I made it a goal of mine to try to appreciate each and every day that God has given me and love each stage that my children are in.

  2. Well, I guess my next big thing is finding Anthony a job so that we can get our baby. I have dreamed of being a mom for awhile now and I am struggling because I can’t even work towards it while Anthony is jobless. I mean everything else in my life is perfect. I have the perfect husband for me, a beautiful house, an awesome job that I love and great friends. However, I find myself sitting in the rocking chair in the nursery praying and crying and praying some more. It’s like I know that God has the perfect plan and time, but after being so close to having a baby in March that was totally unexpected, it’s just been hard to go back to the waiting game. And, the waiting game is even harder when it’s totally out of my control as to when I can resume the forward movement of this adoption. Maybe that’s the point, to learn how to rest during times that there’s nothing I can do and to trust that God is working and that his plan and timing are perfect. So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve been working on being happy and satisfied with what I already have and that way when God’s timing comes, I can just be ecstatic at the new development!

  3. I actually had the opposite reaction to the author. For years I didn’t want children. I was happy being married and really “only had children because my husband wanted them” so of course when they were born I was going to rush back to work, plop them in daycare and get back to it. Was I completely surprised when God had another plan for me. I was completely transformed into this mom who wept for weeks when I actually did have to go back to work. I so desperately wanted to stay home that I worked at it for a year and when I was ready I had another big surprise, I was pregnant with my second child that I had not planned for. After working up until she was almost born I was finally able to quit my job and be a stay at home mom. I have never, ever regretted the sacrifices we had to make in order for that to happen. Those are some of the most fondest memories I have. I was completely fulfilled and have been able to continue to work once they were in school at the schools they attended. Being a mom is the most rewarding job. Now I may feel differently when I retire and I’m living in a trailer…..doubt it.

  4. My next big “thing” is making sure my son and daughter are raised and end up becoming Christians who want to serve the Lord and people who are respectful and can hold down a job. I pray daily that even though we’re not rolling in money and we can’t afford fancy trips and brand new everything, that those many, many minutes of swimming and talking to them at the lake will make a HUGE difference in the future. When they feel hurt or lost or whatever they may feel, that they know they can talk to me because I talk to them every day all the time. I want them to get their “highs” spending time worshipping God and creating those family memories that will last forever. Raising children to be Godly, productive people is definitely my next big “thing”.

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