Let the imperfect progress begin!
Principle One: When the biggest thing in the room is tidy, the whole room looks and feels better, which boosts momentum.
Practice One: Make your bed. That’s it. Just make your bed. Do it every day.
Disappointed? Don’t feel glum about the thoroughly unrevolutionary nature of this first practice. There’s magic in it. You’ll see. And yes, this is my bedroom today, exactly as it is.
About The Task: Whenever my house falls into disarray again, and I don’t know where to start; I make my bed. As soon as I smooth out the last bit of duvet, and arrange my last pillow, you know what happens? I’m done with something. I love the feeling of being done with something. I have trouble overcoming inertia to get into a cleaning mode, and making the bed, standing back, seeing how much better my room looks, and knowing I’m done with something gives me the momentum to keep going. I need to start with a win. Starting with a win is a good idea. If I start in the kitchen, or (heaven forbid) the garage, I may have to wait a while to get the feeling of being done. I will likely be interrupted by the short people in my house. I may get distracted by a million things before I can finish all the way. Prolonged tasks are not the friend of a remedial homemaker. Start with a win: make your bed pretty.
About the Attitude: Your bed is arguably the heart of your home. If you are married, your bed is the most tangible representation of your marriage in your house. You pray in that bed, your hand rests on your husband’s chest as he falls asleep in that bed, you cry in that bed and are comforted in that bed. Your children may visit you for a snuggle in that bed, your husband is refreshed for another day of working hard to provide for your family in that bed, so are you. You make love in that bed, and cease warring in that bed. You maybe made babies in that bed. You sit on the edge of that bed and talk to your family on the phone, and read books and rejoice and sorrow together in that bed. If you are a parent, your children take great comfort in your bed, you rest to care for them and pray over them in the night in that bed. When they are scared, they come to your arms in that bed. If you are single or don’t have children, it is still where you cease your labors, commit your day to Providence, and sleep, in preparation for the next day.
Your bed is more than covers and blankets that ever need straightening,
it’s the physical space where you are most vulnerably human.
So think on these things, pray over your marriage and family, and commit your bed, and the making of it, to God as you gain momentum to move into the care of your home and family today. Do this well, especially the first time. Instead of just pulling the covers up, take the time to smooth your sheets and tuck your linens in. Fluff the pillows. Add and an extra touch if you can. Be present and ask God to help you honor this space in your house. When it is done, stand back for a second and really look at your room. How do you feel about it? Allow yourself to feel pleasure about this little space of order and beauty, even if the rest of the room (like mine) is not finished yet. Anchoring that bit of pleasure when you’re done will help you approach your task a little differently tomorrow.
Bonus Points: Making the bed each day is your win. You don’t have to do more than that. If you want bonus points though, then take “the biggest thing principle” and apply it to another room or two. Let the momentum carry you and see what happens.
“But my bed is ugly”. If you don’t like how your bed looks, choose contentment. This is your bed today. This is your real life today. It is still the heart of your home. It is still significant. Besides, here’s a little secret: tidy is beautiful. Think about it. What is more beautiful; a simple home with simple, even outdated furnishings, where everything is lovingly maintained and ordered by a deliberate homemaker, or a fancy house with modern furnishings that is unkempt and in disarray, without the order of a deliberate homemaker?
Tidy is welcoming, warm, and beautiful.
You don’t need more money to have a beautiful home,
you need to cultivate the heart and skills of a deliberate homemaker.
See? A tidy bed makes a big difference! As I made my bed just now, I was also able to see things I had been walking right by. The doll on my bedside lamp in the last picture? I hadn’t even seen it. And once the bed looked nice, I took maybe 3 minutes to throw random trash away, pick up a few papers and put my clothes in the hamper. My room is more beautiful without random bras on the floor no? This took probably 6 minutes. Magic! What if I take that extra 3 minutes of momentum every day for the next two weeks?
We can do this. We can. Let’s start with our beds and feel pleasure at out progress even with so far to go.
Comment here, or on the Facebook Community Page when you’ve made your bed and with any other insights or objections. I can’t wait to hear all about it!