“I am drowning in housework.”
“I am buried under housework.”
“I feel like a maid.”
Describe it how you like. We all know what you mean — There is endless housework and you feel like you are the only one working to conquer it.
The imagery that has most resonated with my experience is similar to trying to dig a hole (why? I don’t know, it’s just what I picture), and after 5 minutes someone comes and dumps a bucket of dirt back into my hole. Every once in a while there is a lull in which I can peacefully dig for 15 minutes, but then along comes 5 fresh buckets of dirt that get dumped right back into my hole. And I just keep digging…and then I go to sleep, wake up, and do it again.
Not only is there potential to be overwhelmed, burdened and weary when staring at the endless looming household tasks, sometimes it can just feel pointless. Why pickup, cleanup, wipe up, and mop up when it’s just going to get messy again very quickly?!
That is a good question, and if we don’t have a substantial reason, we should probably reconsider our “digging” habits. Seriously, why would we clean up a house that will just get messy again? Why spend so many hours a week focusing on the cleanliness and appearance of our home? This task sucks up so much of our time during this relatively short life, we better know why we do it – and if the reason isn’t good enough, we should probably stop wasting our time!
You might decide there are a variety of appropriate and reasonable rationales for maintaining your home, but I would argue there is one main motivation that makes our domestic duties worthwhile. We ought to give time to “home-making” because we want to fulfill the domestic role God has given us, with excellence.
You Have Been Commissioned!
Yes, this is a role GOD has given us. The most obvious and straight forward text is Titus 2:5. This passage lists the responsibilities of a young woman, and one of which is “working at home.” One commentator explained this phrase as “one who looks after domestic affairs with prudence and care.” But really we don’t need much explanation right? We know exactly what it means to “work at home” – we couldn’t escape it if we wanted to.
So if you are a young woman you have been commissioned to this task by God himself. And if you are an “old woman” you were commissioned (a while back) to this task, and you should now be so experienced that you are teaching the younger women in this regard (see Titus 2:3-4).
Of course, no encouragement to work domestically would be complete without remembering the excellent wife of Proverbs 31. She is a role model for us all in a variety of ways, but especially as we consider her work ethic in the home. She did not “eat the bread of idleness,” she gave her family the best, and “looked well to the ways of her household” (Proverbs 31:27).
This means cleaning should no longer be a burden but an opportunity to obey the God of the universe. Dusting has value because of the person who assigned the task. Vacuuming, organizing, dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping…all of this is not a waste of time, it is fulfilling one of the key roles God has given you. And when God gives us a job, we have no choice but to do it well!
Let’s Get Practical…
“Doing it well” does not mean perfection. Caring for our home does not mean there are never messes, never highly stacked piles of laundry, and never dirty floors. These will come, and they will be the reality more than most of us prefer. But we should be working hard at this divinely sanctioned task.
Practically speaking, we usually have many other jobs too – so we have to juggle this task with other tasks. But don’t let this ball drop … it is important. Pray that God will give you the wisdom to prioritize and budget your time (and if you are one of the “young women” seek out one of those expert “older woman” for advice when needed).
But the real encouragement for today lies in the fact that this is not pointless labor. God himself gave value to the work you do in your home. It is a task he has set before you. If you can do it out of love and obedience for him, it moves well beyond pointless, and into the realm of living your life for the glory of God.
May we never sweep (vacuum, scrub, mop) the floors the same again!