“Faithfulness begins at home.” -Ruth Chou Simons
This line really resonated with me this week. As a creative soul and the wife to a minister, I often feel pulled in many different directions. I have passions and dreams that I want to pursue while also raising an active toddler and serving my husband. When life becomes especially chaotic, I often have to let go of a few things in my life, and usually, it’s something that I am personally pursuing. (ex. my blog) But when I become discouraged and feel like all I’m doing is mundane tasks I have to remind myself of what Ruth said, faithfulness begins at home. If I want to use my gifts and passions to create and serve others well, I have to first serve my family well.
Faithfulness in Cleaning
Serving my family begins at home, and cleaning is (unfortunately) definitely part of that. I don’t know about you but “cleaning” can often take the beauty out of spring for me. Cleanliness and organization have never been strong points of mine and probably never will. Actually, my husband is the clean one between us (I know I’m a lucky woman). He often volunteers to clean something I’ve forgotten or simply help me around the house.
Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at maintaining a fairly clean home but I still have to work on two things, maintaining a clean kitchen, and deep cleaning each room.
Faithfulness in Cooking
Cooking has never been my favorite thing to do either. Not only do I not enjoy cooking but I like cleaning up afterward even less. I got into a bad habit of leaving the kitchen dirty after every meal. I would also leave shoes and toys out everywhere in the living room. And every morning when I would wake up and walk into the kitchen I walked into a messy, disorganized home. Although I hated cleaning up after a long day, I realized that it was worth it to wake up to a clean room.
Cleaning my kitchen and living room is a discipline and a habit. And being joyful, like Psalm 51 says, is also something that we have to remind ourselves of daily. Joy has always been a challenge for me. I like to be prepared and so I naturally think about the worst case scenarios in every situation. This, unfortunately, makes me a naturally more pessimistic person. I also often struggle with anxiety which can quickly turn into a downward spiral.
Just like I had to experience what it was like to wake up to a dirty kitchen because I didn’t feel like cleaning it the night before, I also had to experience what it’s like to live a joyless life. I struggled a lot with the loss of my freedom and time when I had my first daughter. There were so many things that I couldn’t do because I had to care for my baby. While I knew she was a blessing, I went about my days frustrated, miserable, and constantly yearning for something more. It wasn’t until I reached a breaking point where I realized that I was not putting my joy in God but in earthly things.
Faithfulness in Choosing Joy
Sometimes joy is natural, sporadic, and spontaneous, but more often than not it’s a habit that we must foster daily. It’s a choice. Yes, our joy comes from the Lord and we need to ask him for it, but it also comes from us actively seeking Him and choosing to be joyful in the midst of difficult and sometimes impossible circumstances.
For many of us (me included), cleaning is often a joyless task. It’s constant, never-ending, and sometimes feels pointless (why clean up toys when your toddler is just going to make the same mess the very next day?) Some of us can only find joy when things are always neat and tidy so resentment seeps in when our little ones create chaos in our lives. The truth is that true joy only comes from the Lord. This means that whether our home is chaotic or tidy, our joy must only be found from the Lord. It is only when we truly believe this that we can serve our family through cleaning with joy-filled hearts.
If you want to dig deeper into practical steps to take in finding joy in cleaning, check out Amy Terry's new devotional! It's a wonderful devotion that points us to the word while also providing practical ways to clean your home! Check out her link here: https://refocusedbiblestudy.com/2018/04/09/how-would-jesus-spring-clean-2/