For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…. but everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. I Corinthians 14:33,40
Nina Roesner – in The Respect Dare – encourages us to “run your home in an orderly way, keeping only what you truly need, and you will have less clutter and more peace!”
The verses above are about running meetings of the church in an orderly way. But I do think that having an orderly home is an awesome idea, too, and I think this verse can definitely apply at home. Order glorifies God and makes life better for the whole family.
It is VERY easy to go to one extreme or the other on this issue:
- being SO concerned with order that we become perfectionists (that was me!) and are more concerned with order in the home than we are concerned with loving people. It is easy to make perfection and total cleanliness into an idol if we are not careful. If I do anything without love for God and people, it does not honor God.
- being so unconcerned with order that the home is messy, nasty and NOT a sanctuary of peace, love and harmony.
ALLOW FOR DIFFERENT STAGES OF LIFE
If you have young children – your house will be a lot more messy than you would probably like it to be. That is going to get better as they get older and learn to put away their toys. Sometimes sleep is more important than no clutter. SERIOUSLY!
If you work full time or even part time – you may not possibly be able to do your job well at work, have an immaculate house, be at your best as a wife and mom and sleep as much as you need to. Something has to give. You may want to respectfully, pleasantly ask your husband what he sees that you could cut out of your schedule and list of to-do items. And you can politely, respectfully ask him to help you. But don’t try to force him. Be gracious if he does not help and pray for God’s wisdom!
If you are suffering from a chronic disease – you will have to give yourself TONS of slack and grace and be willing to let some things go and ask for help. It is unrealistic and unhealthy to expect to be able to do things that you cannot do. Ask your husband to help you determine your limits if necessary.
WHEN WORKING A LOT
My hours in the pharmacy where I work were cut suddenly from 12 per week to 3 per week about 3 months ago. So now, I try to pick up relief shift work when I can. This week, I worked 3 nine hour days Mon-Wed. And Mon and Wed I had an hour commute each way. I had to let a lot of stuff go that I usually would do.
- laundry – I tried to catch up on Sunday, and I mostly let it go. I usually do 2 loads most days.
- sweeping the floors – nope. I usually do that every day.
- cleaning the bathrooms – did not do it and I’m totally fine with that. I do our master bath and I have been teaching our children to each clean one bathroom on Tuesdays this summer.
- changing the sheets – will do that tomorrow or over the weekend. I usually do that on Mondays.
- grocery shopping- did not get done until this afternoon. I usually do that on Mondays.
- cooking – Greg handled that for me! Thanks, Honey! It was delicious! 🙂
I REALLY, REALLY missed my time with my children this week! I got to briefly hear about Bible School as I ate supper. Then it was time to put my 6 year old daughter to bed.
I had blog posts ready all the way through Thursday so I wouldn’t need to spend much time on the computer.
WHAT DID I DO?
- time with God – I CANNOT SKIP THAT! It was a lot shorter than usual. That made me sad. But I did sing praise songs all the way to work and back. LOVED that!
- a quick run in the morning before I got ready for the day.
- dishes – I did keep up with the dishes and dishwasher.
- trash – I did get the trash out! WOOHOOO!
- lunches – I packed my husband’s lunch and my lunch each day.
- time with Greg – cuddled and talked a lot each evening.
MY PERSONAL DREAM FOR ORDER
Ok, I am going to share my idea of utopia for our home. It is probably very weird to most people. So I do not force this idea on anyone else. But I would personally love to sell about 1/2-3/4 of our possessions and completely declutter. I would also love to sell the tvs and video games – note I didn’t say – the computer! I would get rid of the computer if it was clearly God’s will for us. But I would definitely go into withdrawal! I would love to give to the poor and spend the time we usually spend on straightening all the clutter and organizing stuff – ministering to others. But that is my little vision. I trust God to lead us as He wants us to go and I trust my husband to hear God’s voice and His timing.
I like having no little dust-collecting figurines or clutter out on dressers, tables, counters, etc. I would love to have a very simple life with most of the emphasis on eternal things instead of STUFF. It would be MUCH easier to be organized if we didn’t have so much stuff.
For me, when the house is clutter-free – my brain is more clutter-free, too. In fact, I used to have to clean our apartment that I shared with 3 other girls in college before I could study. It was that bad!
Of course, my husband would not think of minimalism as utopia. You know, you always marry someone different from yourself, right? He loves to go to the flea market EVERY Saturday with his dad. They both love to get toys for the kids and bring home things I would appreciate. He is SO VERY THOUGHTFUL and GENEROUS! I used to feel SO STRESSED about that! All I could think was, “WHERE am I going to put THIS!?!?!??!?!” I like to get rid of stuff. My husband likes to find stuff. I get a rush from sending 20 bags of stuff to Goodwill. My husband gets a rush from finding good deals and bringing them all home.
Right now, life without a tv is not on my husband’s radar.
Organization is not a big priority for my husband. Our garage is nothing like the Lowe’s Catalog garages with all the tools neatly organized and the beautiful floor without an oil spot. Our messy garage used to make me want to hyperventilate. But now – I am at peace with it. I appreciate Greg’s incredible talent at being able to renovate any room and fix almost any mechanical, electrical, plumbing or carpentry issue. I focus on that and give him grace and freedom to keep his stuff however he wants to.
Greg doesn’t want his stuff all super organized in matching totes with perfect labels. His priorities are different from mine.
That is ok. I don’t stress anymore. I trust God’s sovereignty and don’t try to force my way on anyone. I don’t make an idol out of my personal agenda for order and perfection. I work at keeping things orderly and neat (within reason) – but my husband would rather us be able to live in the house and enjoy it than have everything look perfect every moment and me be stressing out and stressing everyone else out about how things aren’t ever clean enough. I actually appreciate his wisdom these days!
I seek God and desire to know Him, please Him and trust Him to lead me through my husband. Even about this topic!
Every once in awhile, I go through all the pantry cabinets and get rid of the expired stuff and organize every shelf. And I go through my closet and my children’s closet and find clothes that don’t fit or aren’t being worn and I give them away. LOVE THAT! I love empty space! I know – I am probably weird. Having major allergies to dust will do weird things to a person. 🙂 I try to have my children organize their toys. If I try to organize all the toys – I want to donate 80% of them and only keep a little bit. It is better for me to just not see most of the “stuff.” I also encourage them to give a few toys away to needy children every so often. I know the day will come before I know it when they have outgrown all their stuffed animals and toys – and I will be able to sell it or donate it then.
I also know – chances are huge that I will be a widow one day. I may be able to have a super tidy, minimalist house then.
What is most important for me – is to remember to enjoy, savor and appreciate each moment with my husband and children. Each day is a precious gift. And I long to be a godly steward of all I have been given – in my relationship with God, my marriage and with my children – as well as with our home and possessions. But God comes first. Then people. Then things.
IF THE HUSBAND IS MORE EXACTING
This can be quite a challenge for wives if it is the husband who wants the house spic and span and the wife doesn’t have cleaning as a big priority. It can feel like a lot of pressure when it seems like you never “measure up” to your husband’s high standards.
Whenever possible, show your husband that you respect him by working to keep things the way he likes them. Maybe you can ask him for his top 3 household chore priorities and really focus on those. If you are also working, you may need to ask for some help with the chores. Working full time AND doing all the chores and childcare when you are home is a recipe for total burnout for women and often a recipe for neglecting God, your husband and marriage. NOT GOOD!
Help us to be wise keepers of our homes. Help us to create homes full of peace, harmony, love, joy and rest. Help us use our time wisely and honor You and our husbands even in the way we care for our home. Help us to do it in love. Help us to be humble and to know that as we serve our families, we are pleasing You. Purify our motives. Help us not to be resentful, but to be thankful that we have our husbands and children to care for.
In the Name and power of Christ,
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