At this moment my house looks a lot like it did before I started really trying to keep it together 9 months ago, and I’m discouraged. I was not feeling well early this week and as I sat on the sofa trying to recover, the house began to prove Newton’s laws of entropy-the (not so) gradual decent into disorder and chaos. Sigh.
It’s amazing how fast it all slides.
I felt lousy, tried to rest, watched too much British TV and then added the guilt of ice cream and goldfish
crack crackers to the mix. I like to rest. Except for when I have to, then I have a giant guilt-ridden pity party while my house falls apart.
This is the curse of sweet idealistic perfectionism poured over two scoops of sloth.
I couldn’t do all the things on my schedule, and I had to cancel some plans, so I didn’t do anything at all. Today I feel significantly better, but now I have to start over with my chores.
Have you been here too?
How can we face down all these messes, piles, and evidence of our Remedial Homemaking status, without having a crappy day?
How can we tackle this with kids at home, without annoyance at the messes they leave behind our cleaning?
How can we set our hearts right so we’re not sinning in attitude and words while we do the right thing with our hands and feet?
How can we experience any kind of pleasure or joy in the long list of tasks, rather than feeling discouraged and overwhelmed until everything is finished?
Four Steps To Begin Better:
- Start with the right question. This matters. Here’s what you ask: “How can I put God’s heart for home, marriage, and family on display today? How can I show his priorities for me are good?” The question is not how can you handle your house so you can someday be “good enough”. It is not how you can compare well to others, or keep that certain friend or relative from judging you. The point is not to ease your anxiety or help you feel pride that you aren’t like “those” people. Your hope is in Jesus, not your performance or your house. There is grace for you as you aim to glorify him instead of to scrub away the evidence that you need a savior every day. You will begin to experience homemaking differently as you switch from asking, “What does my homemaking say about me?” to asking “How can my homemaking say something good about Him?” If it’s about me, I’ll never be able to do enough or be perfect enough or I’ll be tempted to run over people while I work. In contrast, if it’s about him, then every little good thing I do matters and brings joy, even if it’s not perfect and even if I have to go to bed without all my boxes checked.
- Answer this question in prayer. Go find five or ten minutes to pray. I don’t care what you have to do to make it happen. Do it. You need God’s answer and his strength. I have to straight up lock myself in the bathroom and sit on the edge of the tub. When I finally submit to laying my tasks before God and asking him to show me how to put his heart on display, there is generally conviction, repentance, relief, and resolve to begin better.
- Hug your kids (or show tangible kindness to the people around you). People are more important than things. Is your goal to display Gods heart toward marriage, home, and family, or is it to get as much done as possible so you can feel better? Are you honoring God if you clean your house while barking at your kids or spouse? I blow this. I do. This alone proves vocational homemaking is enough to reveal my idols, sanctify me, and prove I’m a sinner in need of grace. So I try to smile in the face of my kids and kiss and hug them before I begin. In this way I remind my heart that it’s not about clean stuff and personal accomplishment (or failure). I still ask my kids to play outside or in their room while I clean sometimes, but I want my heart to remain welcoming, and my attention available even when I’m working.
- Begin! Make your bed, start a load of laundry, and go clean the kitchen. My kitchen is the key to everything. When it is under control, my home runs better and my family experiences an immediate result. Don’t do what I get tempted to do and go organize some random shelf or drawer because you’re overwhelmed. Just start in the kitchen. Start grumpy if you have to, but start. Put on music, an audio book, or pod cast if that works for you. When your kitchen is under control, stay on top of the dishes and move on to the next high impact area. You work faithfully, and let God have the results.
It is noon. I have managed to write this blog post instead of attacking my piles, but that’s okay. I feel better having thought through these steps and I’m less bogged down already. I will eat my lunch, go and pray, and then begin.
In my next post, I will come back and share the results. Do you need to tackle some chaos today too?
I hope this helps us get started with more joy and purpose.
May your aprons and bibles both be well-worn,
The Remedial Homemaker