Thursday, February 25, 2010

Keep pressing on

The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph."
~Marvin Phillips

Cleaning & organizing

A friend posed the question, "What do YOU do?" on her blog as it pertains to house-keeping. I like this question because I used to be a real "neat freak" (often called A.R. by my former roommates—which describes a person with such attention to detail that the obsession becomes an annoyance to others). Somehow God broke me of that "idol" in my life!

Now, I must say, I do SO love order. It is in my genetic makeup! (For example, when at the store looking at greeting cards, I have to restrain myself from re-organizing the ones that are out of order.) But slowly God has helped me not to have to have EVERY SINGLE THING in place. Like the utensil drawer. I think it would be excellent to have each stack of spoons, forks, and knives perfectly aligned—oh the beauty! At some point many years ago I stopped noticing when they aren't stacked perfectly. But I digress...

Back to the topic of house-cleaning. Given my mainly melancholy personality, I would probably be most prone to the "neat freak" method of cleaning, where everything MUST be spic & span at all times. But it enslaves you at the expense of your kids and other important things. Something has to give—BUT it doesn't have to be all or nothing! (I recommend working that out with the Lord's help.)

I currently use the "I clean it when I can't stand it any longer" method of cleaning. For some people that would never work, because they'd never notice something needed cleaning! For me, it means I swiffer and vacuum once a week; clean the main bathroom once a week (or sometimes more often, since I have a 4-year-old boy whose aim isn't 100% perfected); dust about once a month; and wash the kitchen floor less than once a month (I can't believe I just admitted that publicly!).

I have also tried the "days of the week" method, but I couldn't stay faithful to it for some reason.

Keeping the clutter at bay is my biggest "trick" to being satisfied with the state of my house. For example, my kitchen doesn't have to be 100% sanitized and spotless—but a cluttered kitchen only lasts around here for half a day at the most—I can't stand it—it's like having a radio tuned between two different stations—I can hardly think straight! Just taking 10-15 minutes to put dishes away, wipe the counters, etc. gives me much more peace.

I also try to keep piles of stuff minimal. I wish I could say I've eradicated them altogether, but as I type, I have a small pile on either side of the keyboard. Maybe a large part of keeping the piles to a minimum is not procrastinating? After all, my piles usually contain things I don't want to forget about (like a utility bill that needs follow-up, a check that needs to be deposited, a few magazines I'd like to peruse when I have some leisure time). So here's one of my favorite solutions—I used my Christmas money to buy it!—this basket ladder a.k.a. basket wall organizer.

I love it! I keep my son's homeschool stuff in it, the latest grocery store ad, etc. Very handy. I highly recommend!

OK, so I kind of got off the topic of cleaning. It's a necessary evil, I guess! But you know what they say: your kids won't remember if your house was spic & span, but they WILL be left with an impression of how they felt about the time they spent at home with you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Draw close to Jesus

Phew! It's been awhile since I've blogged! I've been struggling with fatigue for awhile... but my energy is returning. Praise the Lord! :)

Last night at growth group, our study was about "over-desire" (idols). For me, I have the desire to connect with people... but my over-desire is doing email and blogs much longer than I should, at the expense of my family. I gave the example of me going to the computer, but sensing God telling me "No, not now"—but then basically ignoring His voice and sitting down at the computer anyway.

Well, God convicted me about that comment this morning during my quiet time (QT). James 4:17 says: "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." Being on the computer is not a sin; ignoring God's prompting is. When a person starts ignoring God, they start to get desensitized to His voice. Perhaps that is contributing to why my QTs haven't been great lately.

I want to be a Spirit-filled and God-powered mom. But I can't just hold my lucky rabbit's foot and wish for it. I've got to physically turn away [walk away] from what is drawing me away from Him and turn TO Him. That takes self-control! Eek! I asked myself this morning during my QT, "Am I afraid to give my life—my time—100% over to the Lord? Do I think He'll work me to death, never give me a break, never let me use email, etc?" No—that's a lie! God is good, and He is just—He will provide for my needs, in His perfect timing! And in my heart of hearts, I know I'd rather be in His will than anywhere else—much more satisfying! (Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else! ~Psalm 84:10)

So I repented this morning and I'm starting out on a new foot today. I'm purposing to seek Him for what I do with my time during the day—all of it. [Yes, even here, God directed me to wait to write this until my kids were in roomtime this morning!] How can I expect to be Spirit-filled if I don't repent of "doing my own thing" when I know He's calling me to do something else??

This quote from Steven and Teri Maxwell's book "Keeping Our Children's Hearts" (p. 55) really struck me—

"Are we constantly looking for the line of sin so we can live as close to the world as possible without sinning, or do we desire to draw as close to Jesus as we can?"

GULP! Convicted—right here!!

And here's a John Piper quote that our pastor mentioned in this weekend's message at church—

"The work of the Holy Spirit in changing us is not to work directly on our bad habits, but to make us admire Jesus so much that sinful habits feel foreign and distasteful."

I know a lot of moms [myself included] who so strongly desire to be led by God during our mothering days! Lord Jesus, help me/us to obey You, even when we don't feel like it! I pray your Holy Spirit would move in each of our hearts, causing us to admire Jesus so much that sinful habits would feel distasteful. Help us not to walk up to the line of sin, but to strive to walk right next to You. Amen!