For most of my life, I have been a bit of a neat freak. I like for my things to have their place and be in their place. Clutter makes me a little nervous. However, sadly, the older I get, the less I have the ‘want to’ or the energy to be so neat.
But I think that the desire for order is at the root of my fascination with the so-called “Tiny House” movement. I can so see myself living in a tiny house, where every part of the house has more than one purpose. And everything must be in its place for the owner(s) to even be able to move around and survive.
And if there is too much “stuff” and nowhere to store it, then the stuff just has to go!
Plus, there is far less square footage to vacuum, mop, and dust! Ah…my dream home is shrinking!
Did I mention…not a great fan of house cleaning lately?
Are you like me and struggle with the pressure of keeping your home clean and in order?
In our reading in Proverbs this week, this verse spoke to me.
Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. Proverbs 14:4
I thought about how if it were just me living in my own little tiny house, then I’d have everything organized just the way I, and only I, wanted it. Oh, so neatly. And no clutter!
But then what?
I’ll tell you what…solitude.
And I’m sure, that at times, you moms of rambunctious little ones who live daily with no privacy, might welcome a little solitude. But, I’m pretty certain you wouldn’t trade your house full of the “much increase” of joy and laughter and play for a magazine-photo-worthy house. (And neither would I.)
We understand that clutter makes a house a home.
So, while the “oxen” in your home may be messy, it’s all worth it!
I remember when our girls were young, all the play forts and toys spread from their rooms to our living room to the dining room. They made forts by throwing bed sheets over their bunk beds, or over the dining room table, or over chairs set in a circle in the living room.
And these forts didn’t come down with the sun either. Oh my, talk about clutter!
My “crib” could have been clean of clutter without children to create any. But, where is the fun in that? Or the joy and innocence of pretend?
One of my favorite times of pretend with my girls, was playing “doctor.” I got to be the surgeon! My parents had given the girls “doctor” medical bags complete with supplies. Those supplies would be spread all over the living room.
And each girl had to have “surgery.” Emergency surgery!
Standing behind our love seat, I placed them, one at a time of course, on top of the back of the love seat. It was the perfect height for my “operating table.”
Don’t laugh. I expect to hear some of your stories in the Comments. 🙂
Then I would lift their shirt a couple inches and begin. But first, the incision. The best part.
Because it had to be made with my finger trailing across their tummy at the most ticklish spot. Somehow the “anesthesia” was never strong enough to prevent the giggles.
Then I’d have to dig around “inside” their tummy (tickle) until the surgery was complete. What fun!
Proverbs 14:1 says,
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
Each season of life brings its particular brand of clutter. Perhaps your children are teens. Their clutter is posters and trophies and sports equipment.
Maybe your children are grown and gone, and you are now a caregiver to parents, or maybe an adult child with special needs. Or even your husband whose health is failing.
Give yourself a break. Relax and spend the time with these precious loved ones, not focusing on the clutter that comes with them, but rather the joy of still having them with you.
Give yourself permission to be less than whatever you consider to be the perfect homemaker.
Yes, we are to be homemakers. To keep our home a clean and healthy environment. To make meals for our family and wash clothes, etc., etc., etc.
But if clutter and work is all we see, then our focus is off.
For it is the people in our homes…and time with them…that matters most. And will matter most as time goes by.
At a women’s conference many years ago, one of the speakers was an older widow. She told us how she had repeatedly begged her husband to turn his socks right side out before putting them in the laundry basket. She said that she realizes now just how unimportant those socks on the floor really were.
And oh, how she would love to see his dirty socks lying on the floor again!
Yes, each person in a family brings work and clutter and cleaning, but also the “much increase” of joy and fun—family fun nights, laughter and silliness, blessings and love.
My “oxen” may sometimes be messy. (And so, can I.) But all in all, they’re good to have around! 🙂
My clutter shows that a family lives here! So, I’ll take my messy “crib” over a pristine one any day!
Drawing nigh to Him,
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT
Who are the “oxen in your crib” at this time in your life? How are you taking the time to focus on them instead of the “stuff” all around you?
What pretend play did you do with your children, or do as a child yourself, that caused a lot of clutter or made a big mess, but was so much fun?
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