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Alexandra Davis reflects on the value of meeting each day’s tasks with intentionality, energy, focus, patience, and grace.

Like so many other women and mothers, I’ve been deeply inspired by St. Thérèse’s Little Way, a posture of approaching daily life in a way that imbues ordinary tasks with deep love. St. Thérèse’s influence has become a model for so many women–both those who work outside the home and those who focus full time on homemaking–on faithful dedication to the day’s tasks, no matter how grand or how modest. 

St. Thérèse has been a constant friend to me in trying times and in periods of spiritual dryness. She’s taught me the value of meeting each day with open hands, intensely focused on accepting the “daily bread” I need to faithfully show up in my duties as a wife, mother, business owner, writer, and friend. 

The Duty of the Moment 

I was in high school when I first encountered the concept of “the duty of the moment,” a phrase that’s often volleyed around in Catholic circles. A speaker shared this concept with us during a weekly series, and her words carved deep grooves in my over-stressed heart. Even back then, I was liable to throwing myself into an absolute tizzy of striving and achieving and planning my next steps, frequently burning out before I could even discern a cohesive mission or purpose behind my work. The lessons the speaker imparted—based no doubt on the writings and words of St. Thérèse—were incredibly refreshing to my young but already tired soul. The message I took away was simple: when thinking too big picture feels exhausting, dial it down. All you need to do is ask: what does today require of me? 


checking off a to-do list


I’ve carried these lessons with me in my life as a working mother. Some days, I find myself caught up in a maelstrom of plans and goals and ambitions. Granted, ambition, alone, is not bad. Neither is cooking up lofty goals. A bit of long-term vision can be undeniably healthy and motivating. But I’ve noticed that in seasons where they are my sole focus, my anxiety increases. Conversely, the days that I map out what I need to do that day, and faithfully follow through, I feel better. Level-headed. Calm. Satisfied. 

I don’t think this is a mistake. I think we were designed this way. Our finite minds can only grasp so much. Can only see so far. Can only handle so many plans and goals and ambitions. 

I’ve always loved Ecclesiastes, particularly the verse in Chapter 5 that reads “the sleep of a laborer is sweet.” It gets a bad rap, but Ecclesiastes is not a depressing tome on the meaninglessness of life. Rather, it’s a balm to those who, like me, can become so easily preoccupied with long-term vision that we lose sight of the tremendous dignity of simple, honest, daily work. The verses remind me that while goals are good, sometimes, they can simply be too much, to the point that they can derail us. There are times when we need to take a giant step back. To develop tunnel vision. To focus on the daily tasks, no matter what they are, with dignity and grace. It’s in this simple, honest, daily work that we find deep and abiding meaning.


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The Little Way has shown me that the duty of the moment is sacred when we see it as dignified and beautiful. #catholicmom

mom and little boy washing dishes


The Beauty of Thinking Smaller 

The business and writing worlds are replete with rhetoric touting systems, processes, hacks, and rules of life. While these tools can be good, they have limits. They are guides, not laws. And sometimes we need to temporarily suspend a system or a guide to find one that better suits our current season. 

On a day when the demands of parenting and family life threaten to overwhelm our hearts, a bit of recalibration is in order. Take a step back and ask: what is my duty of the moment? What does today require of me? What must be done now? Maybe some days it is indeed a step in the direction of achieving a greater, loftier goal. But maybe other days, it’s washing dishes. Comforting a crying baby. Taking a meal to a friend or neighbor. All of these acts can be holy work when done with love. 

The Little Way has shown me that the duty of the moment is sacred when we see it as dignified and beautiful. There are no tasks that are too menial, too quotidian, too mundane, when we view them as opportunities to love, serve, and grow in holiness. 

So today, if your heart feels overwhelmed, take a step back. Pause, breathe, and ask: what does today require of me?

Copyright 2022 Alexandra Davis
Images: Canva Pro