So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work…these pleasures are from the hand of God. Ecclesiastes 2:24
“Mommy! Mommy! We want to clean! What can we clean?”
Say what? There is no way I heard that correctly. These kids want to clean? Did I really just hear them say this? And so it began. Their first task? Cleaning off the sink in the hall bathroom. The one that accumulates every hair bow, every toothbrush, and every wash cloth that has wiped chocolate covered mouths.
And my kids actually want to clean it!
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10
If only I could learn to enjoy cleaning as much as these two did. However, it is a chore I hate to do. Perhaps it is because I am a little obsessive about how my house should be cleaned. No, don’t use that cleaning sponge, use this one. I don’t wash the towels with the sheets, I wash them this way. No, that basket doesn’t belong there, it goes on that table. I become so obsessed with the rituals I have assigned to each task that no one wants to help me….no one wants to be a part of my obsessive cleaning plan, and endless orders.
And, usually on any other day, I would not have let my children help me clean, because they would have used the wrong cleaner, placed the towels with the sheets, and put that basket on the wrong table.
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details. There is only one thing worth being concerned about! Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken from her.” Luke 10: 41-43
Oh no! My obsessive list of cleaning rituals has made me a Modern-Day Martha! Missing out on golden opportunities that await me in my own home. Missing out on the rest promised in Matthew 11:28. Missing out on the opportunity to teach my family about the teamwork written in Ecclesiastes 4:9. Missing out on the chance to rejoice in the everyday tasks of life as instructed in Colossians 3:17.
Missing out on many of the things that are much more important than whether someone uses furniture polish instead of Windex.
“Mommy! Mommy! We want to clean! What can we clean?” Before I was able to give a rebuttal, or to let my Modern-Day Martha list of rituals force me to object, my husband looks at me and says: “You better take advantage of this and run with it!”
And I did. I let them use whatever spray they chose. I didn’t care where the basket ended up. I even let them sort the clothes.
I gave up my need for rituals and details this once so I could enjoy a little peace and rest. To watch my kids complete a task together. And once again to learn just how important it is to rejoice in the mundane tasks that each day has to offer.
I may not be able to get over my need to wash the towels and sheets separately (as I still insisted the kids sorted those correctly), but I am challenged to give up the tendency to become a Modern-Day Martha, and to become a Modern-Day Mary instead-relishing in what matters most.