Wednesday, September 11, 2013

stop cleaning your house!

i swept the floor 15 minutes prior to this picture being taken...
and then they ate dinner and i wondered - why on earth did i sweep the floor right before dinner?

anybody with me?

people often ask me how i do everything that i do.  i laugh.
the people who ask that question don't know me very well and have never been to my house {or in my car}.  if they had, they would know the answer.

if you really want to know how i accomplish so many things in a day here's my answer...

i don't clean my house {or my car}.  

and so the real truth here is that i don't do everything.  nobody does.

would i like a neat and clean house?  yes.
but...would i like a neat and clean house more than i want to write or play outside with my kids or bake homemade muffins or read books or be available for others? no

i know it sounds ridiculous and some of you are cringing right now because you would have a nervous breakdown if your laundry room looked like this...
{this is actually my laundry room}
but here's the deal...
there are only so many hours in the day.  only so many days in the year.  only so many years in our lives.  we each have to step back and decide how we can best spend we can best be used to serve those around us.

lately i've found it helpful to look ahead to the end of my life {maybe that seems a little morbid but stick with me...}.  i ask myself this question...
at the end of my life what will i regret not having done?  
what will i feel a little sting of guilt over having neglected?
what things of eternal value have been set before me that i believe to be responsibilities unique to me?

for me - it's not having all of our clothes ironed and hung up.  it's not wiping down my counters twice a day {or even once}.  for some of you it may be...and that's cool...i would love for you to come get your fix at my house too!

the things that i think i would regret not having done are
writing about what i'm learning,
teaching my kids new things,
having long chats over late dinners with my husband,
helping women heal their broken places,
telling my stories and listening to others,
sharing the grace i've found...
these are the things that i feel wired for and that i believe allow me to have the greatest impact on others.

here's the tricky part in all of that...
some days i feel a little sting of guilt that i spent the extra hour of free time i had writing a blog post or reaching out to a friend in need instead of catching up on laundry.

but i've come to realize that the guilt and regret of today is a product of my comparing myself to others right here and now rather than me considering what's important in the long run.

as i sit here writing this post at my kitchen table i am surrounded by cups with dried up smoothie inside of them, a half dozen pipe cleaners, a bag full of tissue paper squares, a fork, a dirty straw, a dvd case, a few markers and a lot of crumbs.  my intention was to clean all of this up as soon as i put the kids to bed.  before i could get to it i had these thoughts that needed dumping so i opened up the laptop and here i am...with you.  in the long run that matters more to me.
you matter more to me.

yes - we all have to clean up after ourselves eventually but if you're finding yourself stuck in a vicious cycle of sweeping and scrubbing with nothing of value in between maybe it's time to take a day off.

give yourself permission to neglect something of lesser long-term value for the pursuit of something eternal that's been waiting for your attention.