“She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household… She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.” (Proverbs 10:15, 18 NKJV)
I pause to absorb the timeless message. That woman had great self-confidence, to know the merchandise she was creating was good enough to sell.
I read on. “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed in scarlet…”
I tilt my head, thinking. My kids still fit into last winter’s coats. I wonder if that counts as being ready for winter. I continue reading. “…Her clothing is fine linen and purple.”
Ohh, fine clothing! I just went to the mall and bought new jeans on clearance – I bet that counts! “She makes linen garments and sells them…”
Hmm, maybe the clearance jeans don’t count. I wonder if she was irritable from spending long hours sewing by herself late at night. “…She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”
On her tongue is the law of kindness. I contemplate those words. She must have been tired, but yet she chose gentleness. How did she do it? My eyes focus in on the next verse. “She does not eat the bread of idleness.”
Excuses start rolling through my mind. Conviction begins rumbling in my gut. I want to close my Bible, to turn away from the uncomfortable. But this time, I make myself consider the words I’d just read.
I think of the 30 minutes I spend reading my favorite blogs before I roll out of bed most mornings, the 15 minutes I use browsing social media when I arrive home from work, and the 45 minute television show my husband and I regularly watch before we go to sleep.
None of these things are bad.
But then I think about everything I want to do. Declutter my house again. Publish the book I’ve written. Read to my kids more often.
Those little minutes are adding up.
I rapidly calculate the numbers, grasping for something measurable amidst the emotions swirling around my heart. Not counting in-between moments I spend throughout the day, I’m wasting at least 10.5 hours of time every single week. My mind whirls with the possibilities of what I could accomplish with that much free time.
If somebody told me they were going to gift me with 10.5 free hours each week, or 45 free hours every single month, what would I say I’d do with the time? Would I want to write another book? Take a warm bath every night? Exercise daily?
I know what I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t say I was going to spend that time staring at my phone.
Sometimes we think we’re too busy. We don’t think we have time to keep a clean home or to linger over a great book with our kids. And yes, there are seasons of extreme busyness. But there is a very wise observation that says,
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn
My question today is this: Are we finding a way or are we seeking an excuse?
This year, let’s love our families well. Let’s stop playing the part of the martyr and start welcoming our loved ones’ interruptions – and their messes – with warm hugs and gentle words.
Here are a few simple ways to start:
- Help your creative child set up an art center.
- Fold your husband’s clothes and put them neatly in his drawers.
- Clean the kitchen and light a candle while dinner is in the oven.
- Tidy the living room, then set out a card game to play or a book to read together.
- Throw away the trash and run a vacuum in your vehicle.
- Sort through your own closet, only keeping the items that you feel pretty in, then relax with a good book.
When we see photos of roses, chocolate, and other romantic gestures popping up on social media, let’s choose to also intentionally offer love in less flowery, but longer-lasting, ways. We can pour ourselves into our homes and our families. We shouldn’t clean because we need something in return or to make ourselves feel valued.
Cleaning runs much deeper than that. We want to live a life of no regrets, a life that isn’t held back because of a chaotic home. We desire to create a clean, calm environment that our family members want to come home to each evening.
We don’t always know what life holds, but whenever something comes our way, whether good or bad, we want to be ready.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…” Proverbs 31:28
Friend, I know that sometimes we’d love to create a clean environment but we aren’t sure where to start. So I want to share a fantastic series that’s going on right now. It’s all about How to Organize Your Life in 30 Days, and it’s written by authors who hope to encourage and inspire you as you work to create space in your own home for love, laughter, and warm memories.
The best part is there are no rules – you can join in anytime and do as few or as many of the challenges as you’d like! Go here for details.
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