My friend and I were talking recently about a big problem. It’s something we struggle with and are tired of. It is something we loathe and are frustrated by but worst of all, neither of us had a clue how to fix it.
The problem is cleaning. Washing dishes other people made dirty. Vacuuming grass clippings from the dog everyone loves (but doesn’t clean up after). Scrubbing toilets everyone uses but we get to clean (see a pattern here?). Yes, as Jesus’ girls we should be clothed with gratitude (“A dirty toilet means we have indoor plumbing unlike most of the rest of the world”…Blah, blah, blah). I should be joyful always and do everything without complaining. I realize that and want to be that holy, but unfortunately most days I instead feel frustrated and bitter that 1) no one notices or cares about the mess 2) no one feels badly I have to clean up after them and 3) the vicious cycle of laundry, vacuuming and dirty mirrors never ends.
So I began praying about what to do about my perpetual frustration and per usual, God answered. His answer however came by way of an obvious revelation: point three above. God gently reminded me that what I was bitter about is never going to go away. It might not be as prevalent when kids move out (at which point I’ll complain everyone’s gone), but it will always be there. There will always be dirty sinks, sticky floors and clothes on the couch that need to be folded. Some things in life, just “are.” They are not going to change and although I know that, God knew I needed to be reminded of it and asked a simple question:
How am I going to respond to things that will not change?
Knowing the kids will inevitably leave a mess sometimes, will I choose today to ask them to clean it up without my usual shame, anger and blame? Will I ask them how their day was in the few moments they are actually home or will I begin blasting them about cleaning when they walk in the door? Will I angrily huff and puff when my husband doesn’t put his stuff away or will I be thankful he went to work today?
Romans 8:29 says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” That means if I believe God’s Word, then I can’t help looking more like Jesus. Sometimes looking more grateful, joyful and less like a crazy person comes simply by asking, patiently listening and then waking up each morning and doing life with God’s help, a little differently than I did the day before.