After I posted “Questions for Mentors,” I received an unexpected phone call. After chatting for several minutes and catching up on the news, my friend (who happens to be an “older woman”) asked me whether I’d be open to some advice about keeping my house clean. In light of what I’ve been meditating on, I said YES!
She mentioned that she probably wouldn’t have offered, except she knew I have asked prayer about it, so she knew I probably wouldn’t be offended. This is the second or third time someone has poked a bit into my life as a direct result of my willingness to ask for prayer about a sin I was struggling with. It was encouraging to be reminded that asking for prayer is a really important part of how the local church body works together.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16
I know that this blog is primarily about your growth as a Christian mother, and your readers are grateful to you for sharing what you’ve been learning, but I for one would not mind some advice about keeping *my* house clean! =)
Well, if I teach my children about what God is teaching me regarding my house, then maybe I can justify a post on it. 😀 For now: once I had been getting enough sleep, I needed to realize that the difficulty I was still having with my house was because of my sin of laziness (more specifically, the sinful lust for my own comfort at the expense of others’). I started meditating on laziness verses in Proverbs. The one that helped me see my problem best was the one about how a lazy person makes a hedge of thorns around himself. I realized that my sin was limiting my ability to serve my family, was hurting my marriage, and hurting my ability to minister to my church and neighbors. Once I realized that I was sinning, and not winning the battle on my own, I turned to James 5 and reminded myself that the time for transparency is when I need the help of other believers. It wasn’t until I was willing to humble myself and ask for specific prayer in our ladies Sunday school class that God started to change me.(not: pray for me that I would keep up with the housework this week. Rather: Pray that I won’t be lazy, and that I would wash the dishes in my sink today.)
As a result of my prayer requests, one lady in my church offered to come over to help me. She did give me some practical help, but it was her reminder that taking care of my house is also a stewardship opportunity that has helped me think about my job better.
Practical things that have helped me the most: plan one major chore each day (kitchen, bathrooms, floors). do what you have to do before you do what you want to do. get kids involved. one load of laundry a day. fold clothes as soon as they’re dry. wash cooking pans before you eat. go to bed with a clean sink. Ask for help– an elderly woman in the church came over once a week for awhile and helped me fold clothes and talking with the children while I cleaned. Just having another adult around helped me be disciplined instead of wasting time, and she looked forward to the time watching the children and being a part of someone else’s life. (I think asking for help is especially important when you’re so far behind you can’t catch up, even when you’re walking in the spirit and doing everything you can) I know having children involved goes against reason for some, because children slow you down and don’t clean well when they do help. But, I think the benefit exceeds the cost. That might make a good post, too. :)But maturity doesn’t happen in a week. I’m still learning and growing.
Thank you, Michelle. I appreciate hearing your articulation of the sin that is causing our ineffectiveness in our household duties. I also agree with many of the practical suggestions you gave.
One thing that has helped me tremendously over the years is to cultivate a love for this space I call home. The Lord has helped me to see this space as precious. With the change in my affections, cleaning became a lot easier. =)
Just to add a thought….I find myself become more disciplined in the mundane household duties when I remind myself that this is my special calling from God. Not that I don’t have other talents or that I won’t do other things in my life, but that right now, in this moment, caring for my home and children is what God has called me to do. I find I’m not wanting to do the chores because I am feeling “unimportant” and that feeling doesn’t sit well with me and I want to ‘escape’ the never-ending dishes, laundry, and toilets needing to be cleaned and do something either “fun” or “important”. Reminding myself God things the mundane is important helps a lot.
Thanks for these thoughts, Seda and Laura. They helped me to be disciplined tonight in getting my house back in order. God reminded me — my family and home IS my priority and ministry. I need to be spending my energy on loving my husband and children, exercising self control, and so on. As I do these things, the secondary priorities seem to fall in place. Seek ye first….