Courage in the Small Things


Photo by Sugar Pond (Mess) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I think that the hardest thing in the world is getting up every morning and doing the same thing over and over again. I think it requires the most courage and perseverance — much more than overcoming major obstacles. If the devil is in the details, then the devil surely lurks in these everyday, mundane actions.

Boredom is the place where trouble starts. When kids are bored, they cause trouble. And I think it’s the same with me. When I get bored, my mind starts to wander. I wonder what it would be like if just one small thing were different. What if I lived in another city? What if my husband were more perfect? What if *I* were more perfect? All these “What Ifs” chase around my head and lead me to believe that there’s trouble where there isn’t any trouble and I go looking for adventure.
Boredom. Plain old-fashioned, Mom-I’m-Bored-ness.  It’s just exactly this kind of discontent that the devil tries to work his magic in. And, in fact, it takes a great deal of courage to fight the urge to push it all down and find peace in the day-to-day routine.
The small details of daily life are simply not fun. In fact, they are downright boring and those boring bits are much less glamorous to conquer than major obstacles. After all, who rallies around you to help you finish the laundry, pick up the toys in the living room, or take a shower? No, that’s where the devil gets us –all that boring little insignificant stuff. And we have to face it alone.

When we stop the What Ifs and look hard at the here and now, that’s Courage. When we bend over, touch the floor, and say “This is where I am right now; this is my mission,” that’s Courage. When we make the decision to keep going, to do what needs to be done, and quiet the doubts that our little contributions are not worth enough, that’s Courage.

As Teresa of Avila says “God walks among the pots and pans.” Even if you aren’t faced with a sink full of dishes and your daily struggle is the stack of filing that never ends, or the morning meeting that you dread, this everyday repetition is where we find God. We just have to have the courage to trust that God knows what he is doing with our lives.

So, march on, everyone! I’ll cheer for you if all you did was get a shower and kept the kids from killing each other. I’ll cheer for you if you just got the top of your desk cleared for the first time since the Clinton Administration. Just let me know what to cheer for in the comments and consider joining in on Small Success Thursdays with Sherry Antonetti.

Copyright 2016 Katie O’Keefe


About Author

Katie O’Keefe, mother of two and Oma of two, is a great fan of nifty new tools and dusty old books. After working for 25 years as a musician, Katie decided to go back to school and graduated with the BA in Philosophy from Ohio Dominican University in 2015. You can find more of her writing at The Backs of People’s Heads and Baby Faces.


  1. Katie, I love that you are such a cheerleader here! We need that! Honestly I’m in a phase of life right now where a little boredom would be a welcome change from the dizzying pace I’m keeping. BUT I do remember thinking, “Is this all there is?” quite frequently when my kids were little. I wish the older me could go back in time and tell that young mom, “pay attention to this… these are the moments you will really cherish!” To young moms out there, revel in the mundane. You won’t remember the big adventures as much as you will those quiet little moments of grace. Try to enjoy them. Thanks Katie!

  2. Thanks Katie! You’re message today it just what I need to hear and always try to remind myself. I have 3 small kids and a military spouse so sometimes we get caught up in the uncertainty and the mess (or at least I do), rather than embracing courage to stand up to the challenge, be it a deployment or a clean corner of the kitchen counter. Thank you

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