On days like today, my mind wonders to places it should not go. All I have on my plate is household chores and despite my resistance, I’m being sucked into the vortex of cleaning. Comments from my past haunt me since my mother was a neat freak. Despite three active children in her house, you could eat off her floors any day of the week. There was never any mess, never anything waiting to be put away; never anything to be straightened – it was always spotless.
Every Friday was a deep cleaning day. For as long as I can remember, each of us was assigned certain chores to be accomplished that morning. Before my sister, brother and I could move on to our own activities, we had to get my mother to inspect and approve our work. And she did – with military precision. With my attitude of indifference towards housekeeping, my mom would inevitably find something lacking with my efforts.
“You missed a spot.”
“Did you even vacuum? I can’t see any evidence that you did.”
“Why can’t you wash dishes as well as your sister?”
You’d think I’d have learned, changed my attitude and worked to meet her exacting standards. But even to this day, my attitude is: there is always something more exciting to be doing than cleaning. I like the finished product, so I force myself to clean, but I will never reach my mom’s pinnacle of spotlessness.
And despite in some ways being proud of walking under that bar, on cleaning days, her comments return, only unfortunately now I own them.
“Why can’t you do more?”
“Can’t you do things a little better?
“Haven’t you learned how to be more disciplined?”
When I beat myself up like this, I stop to remind myself that only one opinion really matters. And that is God’s. When I view myself as a failure, as a lousy cleaner, as a terrible friend, I must recall that to label myself as anything other than the daughter of the King is limiting. I am stronger than the dust. I am stronger than my faults. With God, I am victorious.
That’s because there is no greater success in life than being a servant who brings joy to her Master. With God’s extravagant grace and unfailing love, I do that every day, even on cleaning days! And rest assured, you do, too!