Clean

Hold the front page! Yesterday I got my cleaning head on as the family, some more enthusiastically than others, got stuck into some serious housework. Adam and I are painting the kitchen this weekend, which is probably a four part blog series in itself, so in preparation there was a lot of clearing away and movement of items. It’s necessary to complete this groundwork before the real work begins. So under the watchful eye of Fionnuala the men of the house began to clear out the kitchen. This took a while but in the end it was mission accomplished and Operation ‘More Paint On The Ceiling Than Ourselves’ can hopefully start later today.

The clear out obviously got my cleaning juices flowing as I decided to keep going. I don’t do enough to help around the house so this was a good opportunity to carry out a few additional chores and take a bit of the workload off Fionnuala. I’m a work in progress when it comes to household tasks. I mean who knew that darks and colours couldn’t go in the washing machine together? Well apparently Rebecca (11) did as Fionnuala and her looked on in horror as I loaded the machine. Disaster was narrowly averted and I moved on to other less mentally taxing duties.

I emptied bins, swept floors and polished work surfaces. I cleaned windows and washed dishes. And before any of you go ‘Oh isn’t he just the most wonderful husband’ can I just stop you. I’m not. The fact that I didn’t really know what I was doing and had to constantly stop and ask for instructions is testimony to that. What cleaning product do I use for this work surface? Where is this or that stored? Am I doing this the right way and am I getting in your way? I was trying. Very trying….But in the end I hope I managed to make a useful dent in the seemingly never ending list of chores that need done.

What did I learn from my manic morning? Well a few things really. Firstly, preparation and groundwork are key. You can’t just launch into painting a room. It requires organisation and prior preparation. Brains before the brawn. Thankfully Fionnuala has the former in much greater abundance than yours truly. She kept a watchful eye over Adam and I as, otherwise, we would have probably dived headlong into the painting and made a fearful mess. We would have been more destructive than constructive. It’s better to take two hours to do something properly than rush it in an hour and then spend the next five trying to make amends. Slow and steady wins the race.

Secondly I need to wear my dust goggles more often. Fionnuala works hard at keeping the house clean but even after a day or so dust will accumulate on surfaces. I realised this as I was polishing shelves and tables. What I thought were spotless work surfaces contained a fine layer of dust which I had previously been oblivious to; cleaning is a constant process as opposed to a once a month blitz. We can never slack off as the way of the world is that the dust and grime will just start to build up again. My cleaning prowess needs to be more than a one-off phenomenon. I need to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty on a more regular basis.

It’s the same with our lives. We need to be more watchful in so many areas. Our mental and physical well being; our relationships with loved ones; our ability to ascertain right from wrong. It is so easy for us to relax, become a little lazy and take our eye off the ball. Then before you know it the layers of selfishness begin to accumulate again. We become blinded to the truth and allow destructive patterns and negative behaviour to sneak into our lives. It’s almost imperceptible but it happens and before you know it you are right back where you started. A clean conscience and a clear head require your constant attention.

We have to be always on our guard. There are pitfalls and traps at every corner. And there are those who do not want us to succeed. Sometimes it is other human beings but I believe that often it goes beyond that. I believe there are other forces at work, invisible powers locked in a battle that is as timeless as it is beyond our ability to fully comprehend. We might be mere pawns in this struggle, tossed about on the stormy waters like flimsy pieces of wreckage, but we matter. It is a battle for our hearts and souls. It is the difference between leading loving, impactive lives or drifting off down other paths where our sinful natures will stifle and strangle our natural gifts and talents.

Our enemies are cunning and resourceful. They also work hard. They don’t take days off. They are determined and dedicated. We need to be equally so. So just as I learnt on the cleaning chain gang yesterday I need to be prepared and vigilant. And I need to be watchful at all times. Because, otherwise, the layers of sin and self will start to accumulate on our souls and tarnish the beautiful lives that we were born to live. We need to knuckle down and work even harder, applying the most effective cleaning fluid of them all – love. Love is not fancy words or grand gestures. It is a way of life, a routine, a series of habits that you display on a daily basis.

Love kills all known germs. It is hard work. It can be mundane and monotonous. But it is here that you discover the miraculous.

What are your favourite household chores? And which ones do you dread?

Who are your enemies? How do you seek to counter them?

32 thoughts on “Clean

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  1. Does anyone have favourite household chores? 😂 The one I get the most satisfaction from is the bathrooms, you can make such a difference from just a few minutes and who doesn’t love a clean bathroom 😊

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  2. We’re moving in a few weeks and will have to finish the entire basement of the new house :/ I am not looking forward to all the packing and preparation but it is necessary 🙂 I pray that God will show me the big lessons behind these mundane tasks as he has shown you in yours!

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  3. I actually like a good chore day. I cannot settle if the house needs cleaning and tidying, until it is done. We have our own chores, so i hoover, make beds, etc and the good lady will polish, bathrooms and do the detailed clean. I feel so much better when the house is put back together. Sad I know.
    Interesting how you linked a cleaning day to our lives, that resonated with me. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
    Ian

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  4. I am repainting my downstairs door at the moment……but gave up painting walls and ceilings a long ago……..too much details and preparations.skirting boards ,doors,sheds,fence that is where I focus now😉
    I hate laundry…..hag it and fold it😱may be because I do it an average of twice a day
    Have a good week end
    Really love the front picture 😍

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  5. I hate mopping the kitchen floor:( but it is wonderful when I make the time. Great comparison to how we must keep our spiritual house in order. I think one of my biggest struggles would be my tongue…make sure that everything that comes out of my mouth builds up others. Sometimes I forget how a careless word can sting and harm like a knife and the listener might remember for years something said in a careless moment. Thanks for writing:))

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  6. Happy painting! We are going to be painting quite a bit this summer.
    I really don’t like cleaning the chicken coop, but I don’t know if that counts as a household chore because it is outside 😂
    I actually don’t mind washing dishes, which is good because I do a lot of them! In the winter it’s nice because it keeps my hands warm, and when it gets warmer we can open the windows and I get a lovely breeze ☺

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  7. You posit interesting questions—After doing all the work on my own, for a family of 5, I have no favorite chore. I could surely get down on some painting and the like, although. Mainly, I want to commend you for understanding and discussing the monotonous work that comes with being a wife and mother. It’s never-ending and aggravating at times—I have to admit, that beyond the mental abuse I experienced during my last relationship, I tackled housework alone, for 5 of those years and it was one of the prominent reasons I left. It’s great to see a man take ownership of the housework as well as comprehend its toil.

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  8. Stephen, The first two questions are easy – all household chores are dreaded! The harder questions are “Who are my enemies?” and “How do I seek to counter them?” Stephen, now you’re getting really personal! (Ha!) However, I will look deep inside my heart to find the answer to the first, and deep into the Word of God to find the answer to the second. Love your blog! Cindy

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  9. I feel this physically… Ha… We live in a pretty small 1 bedroom apartment, so we try to keep up… But we really only CLEAN once a month… I don’t know what happened between me being in my first apartment years ago to being in this one… I used to have one day dedicated to straight rage cleaning (deepest of deep cleanings) and now I just don’t care HAHA

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  10. Typically I cheat and totally do NOT sort the Darks, Lights, and Whites from each other. Now a days most of the clothes I buy are colorfast and it’s a non-issue. Only time it matters is if I need to bleach something (socks usually).

    Speaking of socks… it’s folding them that I hate doing the most!

    As for my enemies? Self doubt, maladaptive perfection, and what I call “screw it mode”.

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