A little theology of vacuuming


The whole house was done. I got the last few corners of my bedroom and began to wind up the cord.

I am so happy.

My favorite house chore complete again. Of all the tasks left undone for weeks, vacuuming is not one of them.

So happy. Happy?

My thoughts were provoked.

This floor will be messed up in days. Where will my happiness be then?

It’s not wrong to have a good feeling from something being clean or put in order. But where did this love come from? Is there a deeper reason I enjoy the finished product of vacuuming?

I believe, yes! Created in God’s image, made in the likeness of the One who operates with complete order and beauty – this is from Him! And He is a source of happiness that will never end.

Of course it’s not wrong to feel happy about a house that is vacuumed. But let temporal happiness point you to something eternal. Shouldn’t that be one of the permanent benefits of our daily work? Take note of that love of order; revel in the One who gave it to you.

Worship the Lord for being made in His image. Worship Him for the common grace of loving the things He loves. Worship Him for giving us meaningful work and for the ability to enjoy it. Worship Him for being the One who does everything perfectly.

The list could go on. And after worship there is thankfulness.

Thankful for a vacuum. Thankful for energy and time. Thankful for people to vacuum after. Thankful for a house to vacuum.

Good theology takes you so much farther than temporal good feelings. It challenges you to know what is true about God and to see yourself in light of Him.

Everything true and beautiful about Him will remain even when the floor is messed up again. And that is something to be eternally happy about.

An encouragement regarding children who aren’t inclined to work

for the families 006
She volunteered to wipe down the cabinets!
In her element, "playing" with water
In her element, “playing” with water

If I’ve heard my husband say how he first noticed me once, I’ve heard it a million times.

“We were working at this camp together, and it was my job to give out the responsibilities. I noticed that this girl was always where she was supposed to be, didn’t mess around, worked really hard and did great at everything…”

Blah. Blah. Blah…little did I know in a few years he’d want me to have four kids in a row, take care of them, clean the house, make the meals… no wonder he noticed a hard worker! = ) Totally kidding!

A funny thought occurred to me a few weeks ago; maybe it was after hearing him begin that story for the bajillionth time.

I actually wasn’t a good worker at all as a kid.

My parents, who were very committed to teaching us how to work and be responsible, had to remind me constantly to keep working. I would daydream, do a half-hearted job, ask to go do something else, or just plain stop. We weren’t allowed to whine or complain at all, but I do remember not being very happy about working on the inside.

To their credit, my parents never really criticized me for this. I don’t remember any lectures or “No more, or else!” moments. They just quietly, consistently kept giving me jobs, talking about the value of work, and expecting me to do my part for the family. I don’t remember at all it being a negative memory; I just know that in my heart, I would have rather been swinging, reading, or climbing trees.

I do remember a big light bulb moment towards the end of high school. (Sorry, Mom and Dad that it took so long!) I literally remember thinking, They ask me to vacuum and wash the car every week! Why don’t I just do it before they ask me so it won’t be so annoying when they tell me to do it and I’m in the middle of something? Like I said, light bulb! I began to do it first thing every Friday and I was so much happier! By that time, I actually enjoyed the jobs that I did; and finally taking ownership of them was even better.


Now I remember what made me think about this: I was watching Hope do some little job and thinking, She’s just not a very good worker. Then I remembered, Oh yeah! Neither was I; for a looong time. Then I thought, Ha! Isn’t it funny that the “hard worker” character trait was one of the first things that Paul noticed about me.

So, the point is, if you have a child that’s not inclined to work, don’t despair. Even the worst of us can be reformed.

I’m proof. = )

(Now just don’t ask me about what happened to that stellar work ethic after I got married and pregnant!)

As of tonight…

I feel awful about the day that just passed. Some days you just wait the whole day for it to be over. The sad thing is, someone who would have observed the goings-on from the outside wouldn’t have seen anything wrong.

The girls weren’t particularly bad. I accomplished a lot, maybe even more than on an average day. But some days your heart just isn’t in it.

Quite honestly, I just wanted to be doing other things today. Things that didn’t involve other people, little or big. Just me. At every point in the day I had to fight my desires and bring myself back to what was important, to what was now.

Looking back, I should be grateful that there was at least a struggle. I didn’t get upset with the girls, or neglect what I needed to be doing, give in to a poor-me attitude or check out.

It just didn’t feel good. Why couldn’t I be abundantly thankful? radiantly joyful? endlessly creative? The only answer I can find is that I’m just a mom. I have four little girls and the load is huge. No matter how many times I get alone and do things by myself, no matter how often my husband helps me out, no matter how many people come alongside, there will be days when mothering is just not fun. It doesn’t mean I’m having a bad attitude or giving in to discontentment with what God has given me; it just means I’m real.

So for tonight, I’m going to have to put aside what I feel and think through what I know.

*God is good; He loves me and blessed me with this job.

*My girls are invaluable; I know that they know I love them and by God’s grace I believe they saw that in what we did today.

*I am permanently flawed. The new nature God gave me at the moment of rebirth will still have to fight my depravity until I am changed perfectly into the image of Christ. This means that struggle will be a part of life until the day I die. Struggle is not a reason to weigh the heart down, but a sign that good is prevailing.

*God gave me abundant grace today to remember Him and continue on. God gave me endless mercy as I constantly demonstrated selfishness, ingratitude and discontentment.

So why talk about this in public?

I have a lot of good days. Actually, mostly good days. The days that aren’t good are great; except for the few, few, very few days that are difficult, bad or really hard. I don’t ever want anyone to think that my life is without struggle.

Sometimes it’s because of the girls, sometimes it’s because of other people, sometimes it’s because of uncontrollable circumstances, but sometimes my day becomes a struggle because of just me.