[Editor’s Note: This post originally ran last year. I was unable to do post the follow-up articles in the series because of a change of seasons in my family. Let’s try again! The second post in this series will run on Thursday.]
Nowadays it seems we need how-to books, vlogs, blogs, and even devotionals to tell us how to clean our homes. Entire industries have sprung up catering to how-to-clean your house. My great-grandmother would have thumped my head or said her favorite line while holding out her hand, “cry me a handful, just cry me a handful.”
Lest you think I am the guru of housecleaning with no compassion for those who may struggle. I am not. In fact, I’ll have to share soon how I did not know until six months into marriage that a bathroom was supposed to be cleaned. Housecleaning has always been an uphill challenge for me. I’ve read the books, watched the videos and still it comes down to two simple words no matter how I avoid or slice it: do it.
The problem is not really the cleaning, it’s the want to.
I admit–I don’t want to.
As a newlywed if I didn’t want to, I didn’t. Now as a mom of four if I don’t, a new life form is likely to grow in my home. Is there a problem with trying to improve one’s skill? Of course not! FlyLady.com is a great resource. I will always credit her with cleaning with my shoes on and shining my sink until it sparkles.
As my friend Michelle recently said, “If you’re heart’s not in cleaning, it’s not going to get done good.” And that’s true whether it’s our children completing chores or ourselves. The want to is all about disciplining ourselves to get the job done whether we want to or not. If you’re like me and missed out on the cleaning want-to gene, there is help. First, talk to the Lord; ask for His strength, ability, discipline, and want to.
Avoid making housecleaning an idol or stronghold.
It’s just cleaning. It’s taking a broom, mop, a toilet bowl wand, furniture polish, and getting to work. It’s not about spending time obsessed with learning how or allowing it to consume our lives. It’s a chore and we just…do it. How would we respond if our kids said, “Mom, I need to pray about this, do a devotional and in a few weeks, Lord willing, I will be ready to do my chores”? Yeah, you and my grandmother both!
Beth Moore in her book, Get Out of that Pit, says, “Scripture has a name for a small distraction that becomes a big distraction. It’s called a stronghold. Scripture defines it as any and “every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Anything that becomes a bigger preoccupation in your mind than the truth and knowledge of God, anything that dwarfs His truth and knowledge in your imagination, is a stronghold. In other words, if I have a relationship through which I can no longer prioritize Christ and His Word, Satan is building a stronghold there.”
Don’t allow life to be ruled by a belief system that places housecleaning, of all things, into a position of dominance. Nothing, nothing is to take the place of our time spent in prayer and study of the Word of God. If you are feeling overwhelmed and defeated, especially after reading about how someone else keeps their home spotless on a daily basis, let me give you a bit of truth:
* They do not have your life, your home, or your family.
* They are probably not in your season of life.
* Their expectations of what a clean home is and how to do it may not work for your family.
Housecleaning is a stewardship issue, a priority on a weekly to-do list, and a part of life. When it overwhelms, defeats, and paralyzes a family into doing nothing or not giving it it’s proper place, there is a problem. But there is an easy solution.
Overcoming and Conquering
Keeping a clean home is a challenge we all face daily. It can be put into its proper place, not dominating or overwhelming our lives. We can walk in freedom, not locked in a stronghold of cleaning obsessions that require more and more.
In upcoming posts I will share how knowing your family’s season of life is key to cleaning, introduce you to a panel of moms who will inspire you with real life strategies, talk about the nitty-gritty of getting everyone to help–including spouses–and celebrate putting cleaning in its proper place!
Can you spread the word? Forward this email to family and friends. Got a question or have a strategy you would like to share? Please, please do! Commenting is how we become a community of encouraging sisters–and live out mentoring. If there is a particular issue you would like to see addressed, let me know!