Saturday, March 27, 2010

Neat as a Pin

When the kitchen island is finally clear of clutter, just my daily journal laying open neatly to remind me of priorities, and the kitchen table is clear and gleaming, peace settles into me, and I realise again how neatness and simplicity improves life for me.

"I need to focus on that," I tell myself, and determine that each area I leave, I will leave beautiful, tidy, cared for. "That," I explain to myself, "will help my attitude all day long."

It's true, life seems better, easier, when things are in their place, when I come out in the early morning to a restful, orderly house, a wide, clean carpet surrounded by neatly arranged furniture, a blank table ready for my Bible and journal and books. It is without question a better way to start the day than when chaos left over from the day before fills my mind with unfinished tasks when it should be clear for stillness and hearing His quiet voice.

But hours later, growling and frustrated by the impossibility of my goal, at the continual messes constantly being created (and recreated...I just picked that up!!) by three separate persons with no notion of my personal priorities readjusted, three little people just living life as any children would, I realise my goal has not brought peace, but more anger and bad attitudes than before.

My heavenly Father, as I continually beg Him for wisdom, gently restores perspective. Reminds me that, while neatness can be a goal, and an excellent habit to train children in, it can never be a highest priority. Joy comes from doing each task, not for a continually clean home, but for Him. Peace comes from resting in His wisdom rather than trying to fight the battle on my own. Life comes from seeing each task, from cooking breakfast to brushing little girl's hair to cleaning up the horrible mess of spattered corn meal mush caused by my own clumsy fingers dropping the bowl, cleaning it from windows, walls, floor, and furniture, as a work of love for His glory. From seeing the purpose of trying moments, trying days, in helping produce patient endurance.

I have three precious children, I remind myself. Drink them in! Teach them neatness as consistently as possible, yes, for the improved quality of all of our life, for the glory of God, who orders and creates beauty, but don't ever lose sight of the main goal, to love God, and to lead these three little people to know Him and love Him, too.

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