Thursday, May 05, 2011

and on the third day...

i like a clean house. i like clean floors, dust-free surfaces, shine and sparkle, everything in its place. i come by it naturally. my mom is a perpetual cleaner. growing up, i remember her cleaning our house before and after the housekeepers' had come and gone. always have your house ready for pop-in visitors, she said. don't forget to wash your walls, she taught. i got this clean gene from her. however, in this season of my [abundantly blessed] life, i have a 6 year old and a 2 year old, and most days, i choose spending time with them over mopping the floors, dusting, or folding laundry. cleaning the house isn't top priority, but it's something i do because it has to be done.

this month, i signed up for the 31 Days to Clean Homemaker's Challenge, inspired by Sarah Mae's e-book and hosted by Joyful Mothering. i signed up with confidence, thankful for my inherited clean gene! but then i read the e-book and realized there's much more to this challenge than scrubbing and vacuuming. together with more than 250 fellow homemakers, i am gaining a new perspective on cleaning my house. i'm learning that with the right perspective, with my whole heart and with prayer, my house cleaning has the power to bring life and love to my home.

every day in the challenge, we focus on an area in our home to clean and an area in our life to pray about. part Mary, part Martha.

on the third day of the challenge, i dusted the top of the refrigerator. i sang along to worship songs on the radio as i shined the wooden cabinet doors. i prayed for my husband while i sprayed vinegar solution on the shelves. my pile of used, dirty rags mounted in the sink. i finished the challenge of the day, took a few steps back and assessed my work. my kitchen gleamed bright. i vowed silently to myself to never let it get as dusty or grimy as it was, ever again.
and right then and there, on the third day into the 31 Days to Clean Homemaker's Challenge, i thought about my spiritual condition.

does it get grimy? do i let dust gather? is there a build-up, making it dull and lifeless? are there layers of gunk that i ignore because it's just easier than cleaning? how confident am i in my relationship with the Lord? am i too busy to notice? am i distracted? focused on other things?

my relationship with God should shine brighter than the shelves in my refrigerator do now. the gleam and sparkle should radiate so greatly from my heart that everyone who comes my way takes notice and wants Jesus. my prayer life and quality time with my Lord should be such a top priority that the dust never has time to settle. praying and seeking God is something i do out of pure love for Him, not just because it should be done. every conversation i have should leave me and others thinking about, talking about, and/or praying to God. singing worship songs should be like scrubbing an SOS pad on my soul. i should be raw, humble, contrite. like new. thankful. my heart should always be deep-cleaned. my surfaces should always be prepared for my Savior.

if spending time in God's Living Word is the upkeep, scripture is the solution. devotionals and worship music are like furniture polish and scrub brushes. fellowship with Christian friends is like a feather duster. 

right then and there, i vowed to never let my relationship with God get dusty, ever again.

"The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands He has rewarded me. 
For I have kept the ways of the Lord; 
I am not guilty of turning from my God. 
All His laws are before me; 
I have not turned away from His decrees. 
I have been blameless before Him 
and have kept myself from sin. 
The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, 
according to my cleanness in His sight."
-2 Samuel 22:21-25 NIV


photos courtesy of jaymiek