Tuesday, March 25, 2014

{Tuesday Tip: Clean Your Room}

At the risk of sounding like your mother, I bring you today's Tuesday Tip: Clean your room! Now, before you scowl and stomp your foot, let me explain.

We all know the benefits of having a tidy bedroom, especially at the end of the day when we crawl into bed. The lack of clutter frees our minds to rest more peacefully, and waking up to a clean slate is much more welcoming than being faced with last night's laundry.

But I want to share with you another benefit. When I was growing up, my mom cleaned the house every Monday. I can still remember her donning those blue sweats and an old T-shirt, filling the bucket with Pine-sol and attacking every germ like Wonder Woman. (She even had a way of making it look fun.) After a few hours the house sparkled, at which point we would promptly spread our fingerprints and kid germs all over the place. (Such is life.)

When I became the mom, I quickly realized that I couldn't attack the house in one day. (Homeschooling can be limiting, let me tell you.) So I spread out the tasks over the course of the week. I also realized that I have the most time and energy on Mondays, in addition to the fact that we don't have any commitments outside of the home. Therefore, that's when I take care of the most important job: cleaning my room.

Why is it so important? Because my marriage is important. By taking care of this "chore" right away in my week, I'm giving it priority. If I only have the time or energy to complete one task that week, I want it to be our bedroom. Because that's our haven, that's our place of peace and rest. I want to nurture it, tend to it, and not let it become neglected because no one else really sees it or hangs out in there anyway. It represents much more than just a tidy space.

Now, hear me: This doesn't mean that our room is always perfect. Heavens, no. I have two brown paper bags full of the girls' clothes sitting in the corner right now, waiting to be stored or donated. I have a stack of papers to organize, and Jamie's video equipment has a way of . . . sprawling. (I finally removed the helicopter from the dresser.)

But rather than let what I can't do overwhelm me, I try to do what I can, letting the principle of this ministry motivate me. My Monday cleaning routine usually involves changing the sheets, dusting, vacuuming and emptying the garbage. Sometimes I'm able to accomplish it all at once, and sometimes I do it in spurts. (Like when the kids are doing math and we decide to race each other: "You finish five problems and I'll get the sheets in the wash! Let's see who can be done first! Ready? Set? Go!")

By the end of the day, our cozy space is welcoming, and my week begins with the knowledge that I've spent my time well, representative of my desire to keep my most important relationship first.    

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