Making Life Easier…or Harder

When our first baby reached toddlerhood, my mother-in-law gave some sage advice about parenting: you can either make it easier on yourself or harder on yourself. She was talking about discipline and kids’ behavior, but it’s true for everyday life, too–we can make it easier or harder by how we think about our ordinary, repetitive tasks.

The truth is, there are LOTS of things we HAVE to do every day, or at least frequently. Why waste time and emotional energy dreading them or complaining about them?

Cleaning the kitchen. Scrubbing toilets. Answering emails. Cooking supper. Paying bills. How much harder do we make them by thinking negatively and getting aggravated?

Getting Ready in the Morning

I’ve even caught myself dreading getting ready in the morning! How smart is that? I can either choose to cheerfully go about the exercising, showering, dressing and beautifying, or I can choose to feel sorry for myself and focus on how long it takes or how much I have to do that day. Seriously. What a hard life.

When I recently realized that I had gotten into the habit of a makeup-less, t-shirt-and-yoga-pants existence at home, I took myself in hand and put more effort into my morning routine. I was surprised at the mental resistance I felt, mostly because it took longer to look nice. Duh. We’re talking a few minutes.

This revealed some laziness and lack of self-discipline in my character. I can say that because I’m talking about myself. I wouldn’t say it about you because I’m not walking a mile in your shoes. But you know what? It feels better to call it what it is and set about making changes.

Talking Ourselves into Procrastination

I tell my kids that no matter how long they wait, the kitchen isn’t going to clean itself. Putting it off and dragging their feet about it just makes the pile of dishes higher and the egg yolk more stuck-on. How much simpler it is to pop in the earphones, listen to an audiobook and keep up with the kitchen after every meal.

We all know that exercise is good for us. We say we know that, and then we promptly dread it and procrastinate and make any number of excuses for why we don’t have time. In the time that we spent avoiding exercise of some kind, we could have gotten it done.

Mondays and Christmas

Mondays and Christmas have this in common: neither is a surprise, so no fair complaining that it snuck up on me. Mondays and weekends and Decembers are pretty predictable. Better to admit that, make a plan ahead of time and get to work rather than moan about how busy I am.

We make all this stuff harder because of our thoughts and attitude about it. In an effort to excuse ourselves and avoid responsibility, we create unpleasantness in our minds that becomes tangled up with the stuff.

How Reading The Hiding Place Helps

At one time I re-read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom at least every other year. I always came away with a new appreciation for the ordinary tasks of life, the things that Corrie and Betsy would have loved to do during their dreary and horrible months in prison and the concentration camp. It helped me re-set my perspective on everyday life, and become aware of my silly thoughts of dread and dislike. Corrie’s faith lessons and Betsy’s love of beauty and service inspired me to rethink my life.

Do a thought check-up and see if you’ve been unknowingly making life harder by dreading ordinary tasks. You can completely change your energy for the job by choosing a new perspective and thoughts. Make life easier by recognizing silly dread and not wasting time on complaining about things that you’re going to have to do anyway!

Have you realized that you’re making an everyday task harder by your thoughts? How will this awareness change how you approach the job?


  1. Charlotte, this was very helpful for me today. Thank you so much!

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      I’m so glad it helped, Callie!

  2. I appreciate this encouragment today. First, it’s helpful to understand I’m not the only one who feels this way, and secondly, I needed the kick in the pants to get up and DO something instead of fretting about how tired I am and all the things that need to be completed. Thank you!

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      I know, right? We use up a lot of energy–even physical energy–fretting and dreading!

  3. Great post! It is easy to get into the yoga pants existence. I dread laundry and it piles up which makes it more dreadful. When these little tasks are done it feels way better than all the suffering from dreading doing them.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      And usually we find that the task wasn’t as bad as we thought! (and then I feel a little silly!)

  4. Annette Hicks says:

    You must be inside my head!
    Your words of wisdom inspire, you have a knack for pointing out areas I struggle with and putting a name to it.

    Thank you for this post, I can relate.

    God Bless,

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Ha, I can only write it because I’ve done it, Annette! I’m glad it strikes a chord (or nerve?)!

  5. Bette Sue says:

    This message was an answer to my prayer. God is good and always on time. This helped me to see things clearly about my attitude lately. Thank you for your willingness to help.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Love this! He definitely leads us where we need to go!

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