Monday, August 17, 2015

Choosing Joy: I Once Believed a Lie

I have a love-hate relationship with housework. It has motivated me and filled me with a sense of accomplishment, but more often it has overwhelmed me.

We all toil with something. Completing tasks, only to repeat them once more.

I once bought into a lie: "housework makes me ugly"...


I'd been letting it overwhelm me, annoy me, and steal my sense of peace. It was when the kids were small. The diapers, the spit up, the multiple changes of clothing per day, the toy clutter, and mountains of laundry felt like mounting repeated waves ready to take me down. Maybe a little melodramatic? Perhaps. But my heart surged when I saw the above phrase, housework makes me ugly, hand-painted on a decorative board, and I knew someone somewhere understood!

I bought it, hung it over my kitchen sink, and tried to laugh off that lurking sense.

After all, why should a woman feel emotional about her house? Silly me. But I did. 

Several years later, I ran across a book titled The Emotional House. Finally, someone gets it--my house was stressing me out! I had let my home merge with the parts of myself I didn't like. It was like taking time to be like Mary, who chose relational things over Martha's practicality and efficiency, yet still believing I was supposed to be fully perfect at all the gifts of Mary and Martha (from Luke 10:38). Silly me. But I did.

...or NOT.

Finally one day, I looked at that dumb sign hanging over my kitchen sink and realized it was a lie.
Housework never made me ugly. My beliefs and attitude choices were the problem. I jolted off my chair, yanked the ridiculous dictate off the wall, threw it into the garbage can, and hauled it to the curb!

Sure, everyone has at one time felt like I'd felt. It's life.
But I'd let it rule and hang over me. No more. It was time to choose joy.
It was time to break the ties attached to my heart and soul.
~~Self care is good. 
~~Creating places of peace in your home is good. 
~~Keeping relationships primary over housekeeping is priority. 
~~Dust doesn't equal disaster. 
~~Clutter isn't a pronouncement of failure. 
~~Hospitality is about relationships, not stress-induced perfection. 

When I looked at what stressed me, I refused to listen to the lie. I began to choose joy, and turned on music while I tackled one small thing. Often it was just dinner. The house might be falling down, but I got some worship on, and served up supper with a smile. I started with celebrating one thing.
I learned to be content...in my home...in my skin...with myself.

Yes, I still get stressed. Yes, I still have clutter and dust.
Especially when I'm in the middle of writing a first draft.
Or busy with edits.
Or crazy long days at the office.
But, I choose joy.


Your turn, have you believed a lie?
Have you hauled your lies to the curb, or let them hang over you like a dictate?
What stresses you out?
What have you done to conquer it with truth?
-------------
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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4 comments:

  1. Sounds terrible but as I get older what my house looks like bothers me less and less. Luckily I have a husband that doesn't care if the house is clean or messy. In my younger married days I tried to work full time and keep a spotless house. My stress came mostly from picking up after my husband and later my kids. We now live in a cluttered messy house and we are relaxed with very little stress where the house is concerned. If company comes to see my house, they can just stay at home, if they come to see me, come right on!

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    1. Right, have you seen that pin that says, I cleaned yesterday, sorry you missed it? ;)

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  2. Terrill Rosado (trosado)August 18, 2015 at 4:44 AM

    I used to "need" a tidy space. Order ruled my life. With the birth of each child, it became harder and harder to do everything and I noticed I got overwhelmed very easily. As I began home-schooling my and then my husband and I both endured illnesses, I let order go to some degree. I had to for my own health. My kids are teens now and no longer being home-schooled, but my daughter suffers from diagnosed OCD. So now it's not me, but my daughter who dislikes clutter. "Dislike" is putting it very mildly! It can cause conflict between her and I, because she stresses. I just have to think that the Lord has a lesson in here somewhere for me.

    I do have to mention one thing, though. Our family (or mostly mom's) motto has always been "Choose Joy!" When my kids are crabby or arguing, I tell them it is a choice to be joyful.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Terrill. It is a real struggle. True OCD can be a burden to carry that many don't see. I once read that obsessive compulsive behavior (OCB) is different from the disorder (OCD)--the differentiation being that with OCB the behaviors that bring order bring joy, peace, sense of well-being--while in OCD, the behaviors are compulsive but once completed, never bring that sense of satisfaction, therefore they must be repeated. That made so much sense to me. I pray that your family's struggle, whether with OCB, or OCD, that you achieve peace and joy.

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