Right before I got married, my mom pulled my husband aside and told him, “Remember, you can hire somebody to keep your house clean, but you can’t hire someone with her mind or her heart.”
She said this knowing that my bedroom hadn’t had a deep clean since early 2001.
If you’ve met my mom — with her nine kids and her sparkling clean house and her organizational structures on point and her days bustling with the endless chime of Proverbs 31 activity — you know that those words did not come lightly, nor were they meant to devalue the high calling of keeping your home. But they were full a Gospel-driven freeness that I want to offer you today.
Some days — heck, some seasons — the house is a wreck. Some days you’ll order takeout for the thousandth time in a row. Sometimes, that to-do list will fall by the wayside and you’ll swear the cast of Clean House is going to show up on your front doorstep every time the doorbell rings. (Can you tell I’m preaching to myself here?)
But don’t make your housework a law that you must live by. Instead, preach the Gospel to yourself. Single women, look for a husband who will shepherd and hold your heart even when the laundry pile is kissing the ceiling. Married women, let Christ shape your identity, not the state of your toilet bowl. Young wives, give yourself time to figure it all out. Young moms, give yourself grace and let it fall by the wayside as you learn to love your kids.
Some of us are not gifted in the art of sparkling baseboards. Some of us are way better at juggling babies on our hips than laundry baskets. Some of us are better at delegating to people under our care. Some of us have the generous heart down. Some of us have the active mind pat — P31 did it all — probably because she wasn’t real.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t aspire to her level of greatness, but maybe her perfection isn’t supposed to drive us into SuperWifey overdrive, but, rather, to drive us to the Cross for our aid and our identity. If your house is pristine, but your spirit is crushed — you missed the point.
I’m still learning how to juggle it all. Some days, P31 and my Mama feel like nn unattainable pipe dream. But as important as that to-do list is, anyone can do it. Only you can grow and learn and thrive through the unique challenges and lessons that come from accomplishing it. Only you can love your kids the way you can; know your husband the way you do; share your heart because it’s yours. You are more than sparkling countertops, and you’re more than an overflowing clothes hamper. You are the daughter of a King who is glorified through your service unto him and your rest in him.
Maybe it sounds crazy that a disorganized closet could be a battle for deeper meaning in Christ, but God uses all kinds of means to teach us profound lessons. Consider this Sanctification 101: Home-Keeping Edition.
I’m off to clean my living room… but I promise not to be defined by it. Cause Mama says I’m so much more than the sum of my chores — and, as always, she’s right.