The Doldrums of Drudgery

Some days are full of meaningful exchanges. My daughter and I connect over her schoolwork. My husband and I are in sync. I’m able to affect someone’s healthy lifestyle choice at work. Heaven feels so close during prayer it’s as though He beamed me up for an hour.

Other days, all I do is kill ants.

Spring means dealing with an invasion of pesky black ants. They don’t invade en masse but one by one by one. I spot them crawling up a wall, along a window ledge, across a kitchen shelf or along the bathroom sink. So, one by one, as I see them, I stop what I’m doing and end their foray into my world and then return to what I am doing only now I am distracted by keeping one eye out for tiny intruders.

Other days it’s not ants but perhaps endless errands or hours spent waiting for medical procedures or sick with a cold or cleaning up a series of messes created by others or handling complaints at work. Whatever it is, there are days when I do not see the adventure of life with Christ but only the drudgery and dullness of existence this side of the veil.

These are the days when evil whispers in my ear “There is no more than this. You have fooled yourself into thinking there is. Despair. Abandon hope. You are simply dust and life is a series of endless, meaningless tasks.” But that is the voice of evil, using the minutia of life to tempt me to doubt what I know is true. The evil one knows that faced with great challenges or disaster, my human spirit rises up and reaches for God so I cannot be tempted to turn from Him then but faced with the daily dullness of repetitive chores or petty annoyances or mindless vagrancies my spirit sinks to the ground, I feel small and unnoticed and am most open to hearing his case against my hope of heaven.

Odd this, that I should need Jesus more on days of drudgery than on days of disaster but the truth is I need Him all the time but on the days of killing ants I am less inclined to search for Him. I should keep in my kitchen a sign that reads “Beware the temptation in the tedium for doubt resides in the doldrums of everyday.”

I thank God for these days of ant-killing because it is in them I am reminded that I have far to go to become like Jesus. Thomas Merton once said “The monk is not defined by his task, his usefulness; in a certain sense he is supposed to be useless, because his mission is not to do this or that job but to be a man of God.” Before all other callings, I am called to be His, to be like Him, to be with Him even in the midst of dust bunnies, oil changes and leftovers.

There is a poem by Alistair Maclean that goes “Even though the day be laden and my task dreary and my strength small, a song keeps singing in my heart. For I know that I am Thine, I am part of Thee. Thou art kin to me, and all my times are in Thy hand.” Know that on the dreary days, evil whispers in our ears but know also that greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world – even in the days of chasing ants.

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    The Conversation

  1. Mid Stutsman says:

    Oh Lori! How I can relate!! Thank you for this–I needed to know others are right there with me and feeling and hearing the same things. You have such a wonderful way with words!!

  2. It’s all God – He knew what you needed to hear today, Mid! Sending love right back at you!

  3. Joe Crowley says:

    Happy Good Morning! I have good news for you, when you run out of ants at your house, you are most welcome to come and thank God at my house!
    Well stated. I am always challenged by the people of God whose whole existence is tied up in the never ending search of finding enough food and water for today. Or the people in factories, or on assembly lines, who have to go on and produce every day in spite of overwhelming monotony. The people who would love to have an ant climb their wall just for excitement. Yet, find their joy, excitement, and entertainment, in the God and Creator of the Universe and the relationship that they have with Him. Even on a dull day I have a fairly exciting life, and should be grateful while digging deeper into God. Thanks for the reality check!

  4. You, too, have a way with words, Joe! We do, indeed, have luxurious troubles. This is our challenge – to appreciate what we have and work on behalf of those who have not!

  5. I’ve been killing ants at work since last week, Lori! I can relate… and not just to the ant problem!

  6. Melissa says:

    Hey! I found you from Karen Aldridge’s blog and wowsie kapowsie but did I need this Word today! Isn’t it amazing how God is using FB and blogs to reach us too? Thanks for your honesty, I might have to add you to my list to read each day. Check out my blog at


  7. Thanks so much, Karen! I love how God works! I’ll stop by your blog and check it out! Thank you for reading.