Confession. I am probably one of the most organized/tidy people I have ever known. Not so bad to the point that I would consider it a sickness, but bad enough that I struggle to think straight when things are chaotic and unorganized. I didn't realize how much of a problem this was for me until I got married....and especially with each baby born.
You may be wondering why being neat and organized is a problem...It becomes a problem, like in my case, when so much of your energy and time goes into cleaning to the point that other things get neglected. Whereas some people neglect housework/chores in order to do other things, I am the opposite. I cannot tell you how many times I have found myself cleaning instead of taking care of something else that needed to be done...my quiet time, a much needed nap, playtime with the boys, time in prayer, giving my husband my undivided attention, etc.
This has been an area of constant prayer for me and I am finally starting to see some results. It has been a slow process, but it takes time to purge oneself of old habits. And it takes even longer when one tries to do it himself, without help from above. It wasn't until I started seeking the Lord's help in this area that I started to see positive results. Now I can walk into the living room with toys scattered from one wall to the next, and instead of trying to clean up, I find myself a seat on the floor and start playing with the boys...and I can do so without thinking about all the household chores that need to be done. Do I still consider them important? absolutely. But I'll always have a house to clean (Lord willing). I know that one day, I will no longer hear the pitter-patter of my boys' little feet against this old wooden floor...you see, these little "blessings" will only be under my wings for a season that is fleeting...one day I want to be able to sweep the floor while thinking of all the memories that I made with my children. How depressing to be stuck holding a broom while thinking about all the times I put housework above spending time with them.
"I’m remembering with a strange sadness a woman standing amidst the floral memorials of her mother’s funeral, reflecting on her mother’s far-and-wide reputation for the important stuff of bleach and immaculate housekeeping." (Ann Voskamp)
I do not want to be that woman that Ann describes above, with her children at her funeral reflecting on her housekeeping skills. I want them to be able to reflect on all the wonderful memories we made together....memories that required big messes to be made...and stains...and dirt...and mud...when it comes to boys, don't these things make the best memories? They do with mine anyway.
Yes, having a clean and organized house is important. It makes the household run so much smoother. But the exact opposite is true also. If I spend all of my time trying to keep it that way, this household is not going to be very happy. Why? Because I will be spending all my time cleaning instead of living....I will be nagging my husband or my boys about little messes that really aren't that big of a deal. And we all know what the bible says about a nagging wife, don't we?
Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife.
Better to live in a wilderness than with a nagging and hot-tempered wife.
An endless dripping on a rainy day and a nagging wife are alike.
I don't know about you, but I do know that I don't want my husband or my children to think about me that way!
So I'm going to keep praying about this and remembering that loving well is so much more important than cleaning well. I'm pretty sure that the Lord cares more about the relationships I nurture far more than he cares about how clean I keep my house.
If you are reading this and you are also trying to find this balance, drop me a line and we can begin praying for each other.
Thanks for reading!