I'm on a mission to rid this house of dust and grime this week. Two years ago I spent almost 12 weeks fighting a sinus infection that sapped my energy and left me in extreme pain. Last spring the Lord had other work for me -- heart work -- so the deep cleaning didn't get done.
This February vacation week I'm focusing on just the cleaning. Decluttering and re-organizing are going to have to be done piecemeal throughout the spring, or not at all. And that is the number one danger inherent in deep cleaning:
Disappointment: I will only be happy with perfection.
The fact is, the Lord has given me the strength, purpose, and time for a nice thorough cleaning of every room, top to bottom, and time to re-seal the floors and oil the woodwork. That's it. There's a LOT more I'd like to do, and a lot more that needs to be done. But you know what? I'm thrilled I have the time, health, and energy to do that much. My health was poor two years ago. My time was short last year. This year I have both in abundance, and I will rejoice!
The second danger is one I didn't expect, and it broad-sided me yesterday:
Discontentment: God hasn't given me the house I need, want, or deserve.
Martha Stewart couldn't clean this old stove! I hate it! It doesn't even have all the burners working!
I've had these same stupid kitchen curtains for 15 years!
If I don't get a new floor in this kitchen soon, I'm going to snap! They have better kitchen floors in CUBA!
These rooms HAVE to have a new coat of paint NOW!!!!!
Why can't we just replace these three panels around the shower? That isn't rocket science. They're broken down, nasty, and a bear to clean!
How am I supposed to clean a wall WITH A HOLE IN IT???? How hard is it to fix this? We've got 17 partial buckets of sheetrock mud booby-trapping the basement, let's just pop ONE of them open and get to work, shall we?
When this barrage of thoughts comes, only the Word of God will suffice:
I Timothy 6: 6-10
6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Your house -- your home -- isn't about the walls, floors, and furnishings. It's about the ministry of love that you are using to encourage your husband and friends, nurture your children, and reach out to a lost and dying world. Not one of those groups really cares what condition your kitchen floor (or walls, or light fixtures) are in if your home is clean, warm, and welcoming.
You and your brothers have been wonderfully understanding as I've ripped apart every room for cleaning. You've played together, kept the laundry running, and even helped with a few of the big projects. And that brings us to the third danger of deep cleaning:
Selfishness: This is my time and my project. Help or stay out of the way.
Funny thing, husbands and children still expect food to appear three times a day during spring cleaning. They fail to see the fun in bobbing for laundry. They actually want it folded and in their drawers! They demand to use the toilet and shower you JUST cleaned. Argh! Your husband and children are obviously selfish barbarians who have no appreciation for a home that sparkles and shines.
Remember, this is something you are doing to serve them. This is still their home. And while it may send you flying around the room on your broom when you see them spill a bag of chips on the floor you just polished,
You do not get a pass to speak in clipped, angry tones during cleaning week.
The fruit of the Spirit in word and deed are required now more than ever. Don't soil your heart with ugly thoughts and words while you wipe the dust and fingerprints off the walls. Use the time to meditate and pray and ask God to do a little spring cleaning on your heart while you spring clean your home.
Love you lots,