Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Upon Domesticity, or how God is changing my attitude to my home

Whether we share our home with other adults, a family, our parents or we live alone, our attitude to it says a lot about us. A large proportion of this blog is about my struggles in getting my home in order. I tend to refer to it collectively as housework, but really it is much more than that. I love to be hospitable, but that means as a minimum having some where for your guests to sit!!

Anyone who's stayed with me will tell you that often clearing a chair or floor for sit or lie on is the first thing I have to do. Not having to do this would mean I am freed up to take their coat, sit with them, and have a drink. Having a tidy, organised home, means I have more time for other things, more space for them-not material things. Whilst I can invite my most intimate friends over when my room is a tip, it shouldn't be that way. I would like to be able to be hospitable without having such distractions.

Like so many people, I loath housework. Why do we hate it? I think for a number of reasons, and not just laziness. I can think of two main reasons: the first and easiest is because I'm tired, and very frequently, lazy. The second reason is more complex, and I imagine is the same for many people, regardless of whether your house is immaculate or looks, as my mother fondly says, like a bomb's just hit it. A lot of it comes down to feelings of inadequacy. No matter how hard I try, I just can't be the ideal woman, with the perfect house.

But who says I have to be the perfect woman? Where did I even get this idea?

The world: magazines, television, other people's houses and lives. Did you notice that everyone else always seems to have the spotlessly clean home, the happy children, and dinner on the table at 6.

Products are sold on the premise that, if you purchase them, you will be as happy/successful/attractive etc as the person in the advert.

Mr Muscle will not make me love the jobs I hate. Nor will Country Living make me a domestic godness.

As a friend of Leila Lawler, over at Like Mother, Like Daughter, once pointed out, there are two things you need to sort first off: food on the table, and clean clothes in the cupboard.

{These taste great and are so quick and easy to make, I had them for brekka before work on Saturday}

That's it.

I know I certainly struggle with these two things. There is simply no point in me worrying about the colour of my room or fussing about how clean the floor is if I don't even have food in the house or a clean uniform for work tomorrow.

It has taken me 6 years to begin to get a handle on washing the laundry. Yes, really! I'm hoping it won't take me another 6 to get a handle on putting it away promptly. Still, better to master one thing at a time and enjoy a habit well begun, than lament the failure of half a dozen. Maybe laundry isn't an issue for you, perhaps it is meal planning or making time for people or to read God's Word. Or just having time to day dream or think without feeling guilty.

As I pursue my goal, here are some points I think I would do well to remember:

Do it for God
There is no point in me attempting to organise my home if the only reason is selfish motive. My attitude must be that in doing so, I'll be freed up to do other things. Like bale for my friends, or make fancy dress costumes out of old wedding veils - more on that another time perhaps.

It's finished
Jesus has died...and rose again. Our sins have been paid for. Nothing we do or don't do can affect this, providing we are trusting in him. Our certain hope of salvation won't dissipate if I give a guest beans on toast for dinner, or I haven't hoovered before they come.

We are not perfect yet
God is saving the best until last, so whilst we can try now, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to be more content, less lazy, less concerned about what others think, we won't always succeed.

The alternative to 'all' is not 'nothing', it is 'something'
I am an all or nothing person. I blitz my room or I leave it a dump. I'm learning that this isn't the best way to live. Don't try and do it all at once. Looking after a home is about building good habits, one at a time. It's only now I've got on top of the laundry, that I'm beginning to think about planning what I'll eat each week. Then I'll move onto clearing out my wardrobe and my clothing. A little a time is okay. Really.
Above all, remember that to struggle is no sin, but to struggle and refuse to ask the Lord for His help is disobedient and foolish-He loves us, and like a good earthly father wants us to ask for his help when we need it.

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