I hated cleaning and doing chores when I was a kid. I detested anything that had to do with it. It wasn’t fun to me and it took up so much time! Now, I have a daughter who is just like I was. Yes, I know the irony – it’s not lost on me. Maybe I’m more patient with her because I understand. I understand that reading is so much more pleasurable, drawing, and writing, and playing Barbies – so much more imaginative and creative.
I still hate to clean. I procrastinate housework as much as I possibly can and I’m just not motivated unless forced to do it a lot of the time. Luckily, I’m a pretty organized person and I get stressed if things are messy or out-of-control. Those things keep my house presentable. It must be that God built in those traits within me.
As much as I hate housework, it must be done. This is what I explain to my daughter. Everyone has a job. She has hers, and I have mine. You just have to suck it up, put on a great attitude and do it sometimes. I tell her that our character and attitude shine the most in the circumstances we least like. That’s when who we are truly comes out.
Although I tell my daughter you have to do things you don’t enjoy sometimes (like housework and chores), I also have come to learn that they have their place and their priority in my life. There are days when I just don’t feel like picking up, doing the laundry, or wiping something off. There are days I’m tired and I need a break. I think on these days, it’s important to give myself a break – time off. Let things go for a bit.
I can have the goal of having a home that is warm, comfortable, and pleasing to the eye. It can be free of messes for the most part. But I can also prioritize where those goals fit in with caring for my growing children, having valuable family time, and using my home for the Lord. You see, housework will always be there. There will always be something to dust, clean, pick up, and wipe off. But my children are getting closer and closer to the stage where they won’t need me daily anymore. That’s a fact.
So who says I need to have a home that looks like it was created for a magazine? If it takes the place of valuable time with my family – not me.
Everyone has different standards for living. Living conditions should be clean and presentable. Organized is very helpful and keeps away a bunch of stress. But we can let those goals have their time and place. We can declutter as much as possible and replace things as we can when they get broken, or worn out. There is beauty to be found in a home. Pleasure. Love. Laughter. LIFE. The most important thing is that in striving for the beauty and pleasure that you don’t lose the life that exists there. The life that can’t eat popcorn on the new sofa or touch the window. It’s not worth it to lose the life that wants to wrestle in the living room next to your favorite artifact, or run and jump on your bed in the morning with tousled hair and a huge smile. Life wins out over image every time in my book. In fact, I’ve come to discover that that’s where the real beauty in my home lies.
So – although I don’t like to clean and think there are a million reasons why I shouldn’t have to – and although I believe I’m more like Mary than I ever could be like Martha – I do it. For life is about growth, learning, and balance. I want to be a good steward over what God has given me. I just don’t want to elevate it to be more important than it truly is.