Now some of you (including my slightly OCD self) looked at the title and focused on the fact that I devalued a clean house (what now??), in essence supporting just all types of dirty homes everywhere (mm!!). FALL BACK!!! Breathe. There’s context… it being that I’m a mother of 3 children who has come to realize no matter how tidy my house may be, my heart most likely has THE most mess that no vacuum or bleach can clean. I’m learning that super clean/almost perfectly placed homes often have things to hide.
As everyone has made their vision boards or set their goals at the beginning of this year or even in December, I’ve felt this inner irritation to “clean house” way before the common “new year”, de-clutter bug hit. Primarily, cleaning the house of my heart. Since about October, I was wrestling with why I was getting so irritated with certain things at home. Toys here and there that the boys JUST “picked up.” Boys getting stuff done in their own, creative (and often slow) ways and not my “most-wise/all-knowing/OCD/quick” way (you know the deal…). Emptied sink now with dishes five minutes later. “New home” to-do and décor list undone. a.k.a. petty stuff. My house would be clean but 1) my kids were dealing with my harsh response to their naivety about cleaning standards or respect for my hard work and/or 2) I was angry with my husband on the inside for not fully partnering with me in getting things done. Like… HOW could he be tired after a long, all-day conference call or multiple conference calls with some people who were just as uncordial and rude as the wife he got off work to see (go ahead… give me the evil eye)? My responses or “fussings” verbally or internally at my husband or boys seemed to amplify themselves over the last few months in my head because, as I was praying about them, God was just showing me I was and still can be COMPLETELY off-tract/off-focus. I needed to refocus because that which I was seeing and being concerned about with my natural eye was blind to what I was too lazy or uncaring to see with my spiritual eye… the wickedness of my heart and the distractions of Satan to keep materialism, idolatry, perfectionism/control issues, selfishness and independence growing there, leading to seeds growing in the hearts of our boys and within the walls of our home.
Today, I must admit – I have learned and grown ALOT since October. I will also strongly admit I have failed many times with apologies needing to be given. Therefore, my 2017 resolution is “getting back into position” and staying there through consistency. Bearing the Fruits of the Spirit so the kingdom of God can be exhibited in service to my husband, kids, family/friends and community. To keep it all SIMPLE and focus on WHOs and not WHATs, even if it means a few dishes are in the sink when company comes or they have to walk over Legos (hopefully with shoes on!) I’d rather have those obvious disorders then hidden dissension.
I cannot explain this as best as I want to, so for the continuation of today’s blog, I’m asking you to read another woman’s blog titled “Cleanliness and GodLESSness.” It says what I’ve felt over the last few months so clearly and truthfully. You will FULLY regret NOT reading it and after you do, you may regret doing so (smile). Your heart and soul won’t though – it may even bring you to tears. Here’s a snippet…
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” But as I recently made my way through the book of Matthew, I realized that Jesus almost exclusively tied outer cleanliness to godlessness and inner neglect of the heart. He’d say things that would annoy the Pharisees like, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt. 23:27–28). Another time Jesus received complaints that his disciples were not following the traditions of ritual cleanliness the Pharisees deemed necessary (Matt. 15:2). Everywhere in the book of Matthew Jesus condemns these clean freaks for their decorations, their extravagant dress, and their neglect of the true things of God (Matt. 25).
I know… ouch! But I promise this will help you more than hurt your temporary, attitudinal emotions (talking to myself, but all love!)
In addition to this blog, please also read a letter written JUST for us wives and/or mothers in the format of C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters.” The premise is to show you how the things we complain about verbally or fuss about internally are the very tools Satan and his friends use to separate us from God, our husbands, children and more. It’s titled, “Dear Mama. Satan Would Move Heaven and Earth to Keep You from Reading This Letter.” Here’s a snippet of that letter as well…
“Along those lines, be sure the Mother starts to value productivity above everything else. Have her wake up early and work non-stop until bedtime. If the husband relaxes in the evening with an hour of computer gaming, be sure the wife notices the pile of unfolded laundry or unswept floors. Do not let her grab a book and relax alongside her husband. Diligence, often one of the Enemy’s virtues, when overdone can be used to our advantage as well. Convince her that as long as there is a shred of work to be done (and there always is), no one should be resting. Then, as she folds and sweeps and he sits, you can introduce the sweet bitterness of resentment.”
I challenge you to read these blogs, take one thing and apply it this week THEN share them with someone who could benefit from the encouragement and/or the wake-up call. What did you think about these two pieces? What did your friend have to say? Leave your comments below!
Happy New Year to everyone. As it unfolds, I pray that above all of the resolutions & goals you’ve committed to, fight for and accomplish the ones that weigh more eternally than earthly. You may set a new cleaning schedule to manage your home better. You may even buy a new home. Just remember that clean, nicely decorated homes are, yes, a blessing to be stewarded well; however, they’ll pass away and whatever is in our hearts – clean and/or dirty – WILL see judgment day.