Turn your monotonous tasks at work and home into opportunities for spiritual growth.
I often think that if I just had more time, I’d be able to give more time to God. It feels like the little monotonous tasks of my daily routine are holding me back from better, more important things — be that reading a good spiritual book or having time to pray. But I’ve realized that all of that isn’t true. If I reorient my thinking, I can actually turn the monotony into prayer. In fact, there are many saints who spent their lives doing repetitive chores, and they used their daily tasks to help them grow closer to God.
For example, St. Martin de Porres was allowed to do only the chores other people didn’t want to do when he asked to join a Dominican convent. He was essentially a servant for much of his life, and only after special permission was he eventually allowed to help in the infirmary taking care of the sick. His days weren’t glamorous, and he didn’t write any profound books or evangelize whole countries. But he allowed the little tasks he had to do help him grow closer to God.
Chiara Corbella Petrillo, a servant of God, found that she could offer everything in her day as a stay-at-home wife and mom to God for others. She often offered little things like making the bed, brewing coffee, and sweeping the floor for her husband. Discovering this secret helped transform her daily routine, and made it something important to be taken care of rather than something unnecessary to be rushed through.
So following the example of Martin, Chiara, and countless others, here are a few examples of ways to find God in the most boring and seemingly unimportant parts of your day.
1Offer your least favorite parts of your day as prayers
Waiting in a long line? Scrubbing the floor? Fixing the copier at work? Pray through it. Start a decade of the Rosary, or if you need more concentration, offer what you are doing to God when you start. You could say something as simple as, “I need help fixing this printer,” or “Lord, make haste to help me,” or make the sign of the Cross.
2Dedicate your daily frustrations for the people you know who are suffering
Write a list of intentions, and then when your heater stops working, or the third grocery store pickup order you’ve tried is out of the one ingredient you need, you have a reason to be patient. Maybe that reason is your cousin who is battling cancer, or your coworker who just got laid off. Either way, it gives meaning to the inconvenience you are experiencing as well as directing your thoughts to others’ suffering instead of your own.
3Pray every time you get into the car
Say a short prayer to your guardian angel or a Hail Mary asking for protection on your drive. Not only is it a very practical prayer (who doesn’t need a little extra grace while driving?), but it helps dedicate that much more of your day to God.
4Listen to prayers or a spiritual podcast while you clean
Why not learn a little bit about your faith while you do something monotonous? Here are some ideas if you are not sure which podcast to listen to.
5Pray before you eat
You can say a simple, “Thank you, Jesus, for this food” prayer or the classic “Bless us, O Lord.” Making and eating food consistently breaks up our day. Thanking God at mealtimes is a way to offer the morning and afternoon to him.