Recently I almost missed my friend from high school and college getting married
I also almost missed visiting with my aunt and uncle from far away and an afternoon of fun with my kids at the beach
Why? Why did I almost miss these wonderful moments?
Because I wanted to stay home and clean. Because I thought my house wasn’t tidy enough according to “others’ standards”
But then I thought to myself “I shouldn’t LIVE TO CLEAN” instead “I should CLEAN TO LIVE.” Having a perfectly clean house isn’t the be all end all of life. It’s not the basis of my self worth. It’s not my life goal. It’s not what I want written on my tombstone: “Here lies Rhisbeloved – she kept a clean house.”
That’s not to say that sweeping, moping, dishes, and laundry shouldn’t be done. They should be done: so that our families are healthy, can eat, and aren’t naked. They should be done; but they should be prioritized correctly. Having everything spotless like Martha Stewart shouldn’t be our number one priority; cleanliness shouldn’t be our idol. And yet so many blogs, woman’s magazines, and conversations seem to say otherwise. How many times have we been afraid to have people over because of what they might think? How many times have you judged someone else’s house? How many times have you stressed yourself out cleaning like a madwoman before guests arrived because you were afraid of how they will judge you based on your house? Many people, most notably Martha Stewart, have spent their careers telling us how to decorate and clean and what our homes should look like. They make money playing off our fears of inferiority.
Speaking of Martha, there’s another Martha that comes to my mind…the Biblical Martha. The Bible does apply to our lives today and here’s what it has to say about household chores:
Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing.[l] Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus is saying that being with Him is the better part. Jesus is saying to draw near to Him and let Him prioritize our life, give us the strength to do what needs to be done, and take away our worries. Focus on Him.
But I think He is also saying that it’s important to focus on the people around us too. We need to enjoy their company and presence. We need to be present to them – listen to them and love them. Our household tasks are meant to serve us – to make our life healthy, to give us mental calm, to save time finding things so that we have time for fun, to save money not rebuying what we need so we have money for fun. We are not meant to serve our household tasks. We need balance.
So the following week I spent two days cleaning & then spent the rest of the week having fun with my out of town family. Check us out: