This post is part of the Clutter-Free Clean series.
Homemaking is hard – often overwhelming – work. I would have thought it would be easy by now. After nearly twenty years at this job, I thought all the cleaning, organizing, laundry washing, and meal planning would come naturally.
Sure, in many ways it’s easier to run a household with so many years of experience under my belt, but those years didn’t magically transform me into a softened version of Martha Stewart, with perfectly prepared meals perfectly served in a perfectly organized and decorated house.
Somehow, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.
It still takes intentional effort for me to make this home into something more than just a place to gather dust on junk we don’t need. I have to make plans and follow routines. I have to step outside of my natural tendencies and venture into the territory of serving others.
Basically, I have to work at it.
Looking at My Heart
While staring at my cluttered house and messy life (and hoping to make it all clutter-free clean), I’ve been doing some soul searching. I’ve been thinking about my motives and priorities. I’ve asked myself why I care about the condition of our home and where that concern should fall on my never-ending list of responsibilities.
As I’m asking all these nagging questions, there is one word that keeps shouting out at me: LOVE.
Being a homemaker is about humbly counting others as more significant than ourselves. It’s about looking not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. It’s about being a picture of Christ in our home. (see Philippians 2:3-7)
We may feel like all we do is serve others. Forever and ever. All the time. Without end.
Yet, are we serving out of love? Is our desire to display selfless Christ-like love what motivates us? Is the love of Jesus driving us to fold one more load of laundry or sort one more box of toys?
It Begins and Ends with Love
I must admit that I don’t feel like making my home clutter-free clean. Yes, I want a clean house, but I really don’t want to put in the effort. Really. I really, really, really am not in the mood.
But the thing I keep coming back to is the fact that one of the greatest ways I can love my family is by creating a welcoming home for them. I can best love my husband by making our house feel peaceful when he comes home after a busy day, and I can love my children by making a space for them to relax and refresh after the stress of relationships and schoolwork.
That kind of love is so very hard to remember.
When I’m picking up the dirty socks off the floor or sorting through the toys scattered around the living room, it is much easier for me to grumble than act in love.
When I know I should organize the closet instead of check my Facebook feed, it is downright difficult for me to act in love.
When I work my tail off to clean and scrub without anyone even noticing, it is humbling to act in love.
It is love that should drive us to place creating a clutter-free clean home on our list of priorities. It is love that should drive our response when others don’t help out or recognize our hard work. It is love that should drive us to choose serving others over serving ourselves. Love, above all else, must be our master.
The Greatest of These is Love
If I have a perfectly clean and organized house, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have great decorating talent, and know how to prepare gourmet meals, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I serve my family tirelessly, but have not love, I gain nothing (my application of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Think through those words for a moment. You’ve likely heard them a million times before, but think about how they relate to homemaking.
Think slowly…patient, kind, not rude, not insisting on its own way, not irritable or resentful. Read each and every word, and think about how it should change your view of your home and the family you are called to serve.
Walk and Work in Love
As we are working to make our homes clutter-free clean, let’s always be evaluating if we are acting in love. Let’s not get so caught up in the doing that we forget the loving.
We must lovingly guard our tongues and attitudes against lashing out at those who hinder our cleaning efforts. Let’s also recognize that walking in love in our homes might mean laying aside our love for ourselves, our love for Facebook, our love for “me time,” our love for doing whatever we want whenever we want.
We have an opportunity to serve God through serving the people who enter the doors of our home. We can love our family in a way that is unique and important. No one else in the world can minister to your husband and children by giving them a peaceful environment to live in, love in, and grow in. God has uniquely given that job to each of us.
So, as we’re thinking about our priorities and making various to-do lists over the course of this month-long clutter-free clean homemaking challenge, let’s intentionally look to the interests of others and seek to love like Christ loved us.
To help you create a Clutter-Free Clean home, for the month of October, I’m giving all my newsletter subscribers a special printable pack with cleaning and organizing lists, plus the All-In-One Printable Pack ($5.00 value)! Subscribe HERE to get your freebies in the next Weekly Newsletter!