Do YOU Pre-clean?

My mom is notorious for cleaning the house before the maid comes. I think it’s absolutely crazy. You’re cleaning up for the cleaning lady?!

Of course she has her reasons. And they are pretty valid.

First, she wants to clean the clutter so that the housekeeper can focus on other things. LIke windows and baseboards and the carpeted stairs. Those are hard-to-clean areas and I get it.

I still think it’s odd, though, every time I see her frantically cleaning before the maid arrives.

As silly as it sounds, many of us do this with the Lord.

We want His help with the harder areas but we want to frantically clean up the rest before we go to Him.

That’s not what He wants.

He wants ALL of us… All the dirt, all the grime…

Have you ever had a child try to help with the dishes?

They mean well but you often end up with half-washed dishes, a bigger mess, and dirty dishes now mixed in with the clean ones. I’ll do it myself, you say, but thanks for trying.

That’s where the Lord is. Let ME do it, He says. Thanks for wanting to present yourself clean before Me but I am the one who washes away your sin. Just give it to me.

ALL of it.

Don’t pre-clean. Don’t hold back that one part you would rather clean yourself. Give it all to Him and be made whole.

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Matthew 8:2

Addiction isn’t always a bad thing..

I had an earth-shattering revelation the other day. Maybe for you it’s no big deal, but, for me, it rocked me to the core.

ADDICTION ISN’T ALWAYS A BAD THING.

I was shocked.

As someone who’d dealt with addiction, I would argue that yes, addiction is a very bad thing. It’s horrible. It ruins lives. It causes death. It destroys relationships.

But that was my kind of addiction. And many others’ addictions.

‘Cause those are all headed down the same dead-end road. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography…

I was pretty sure Jesus would agree.

But I read a verse I’d never noticed before.

1 Corinthians 16:15 says I beseech you, brethren, ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints…

That word ADDICTED just jumped off the page for me.

They ADDICTED themselves to the ministry of the saints.

Jesus doesn’t have a problem with addiction. He WANTS us to be addicted. But He wants us to be addicted to Him.

That’s great news for people like me with an addictive personality. We don’t have to rebuke that or try to change it at all.

We just turn our addiction to Christ.

Can I just be a Proverbs 31:25 Woman instead?

Research for my Proverbs 31 experiment lasted way longer than the experiment itself.

I studied the verses. I took notes. I studied alternate translations and Bible helps. I read four books on the Proverbs 31 woman.

I had a plan.

It was to be a 30-day plan, at the conclusion of which I’d be a better wife, mom, and Christian.

I was excited.

Day 1 arrived. Up earlier than everyone, I cheerfully made breakfast and straightened the house. I grew weary toward the end of the day but I was determined to go to bed after everyone else had turned in. This was not easy, especially with a night owl husband.

By Day 2, I was already editing what was expected of the Proverbs 31 woman. She needed her rest.

By Day 3, I was mentally and physically exhausted. I’d managed to begrudgingly help a frustrated spouse in the midst of a home improvement project, even though my mom had taught me that those were the best times to go see that movie you’d been hearing about. I am pretty sure she’s on to something because I don’t think the Proverbs 31 woman is supposed to be fantasizing about swinging that 2×4 across her husband’s head.

By 10 AM, after sleeping in and letting everyone fend for themselves for breakfast, I abandoned the experiment completely.

While I admire this woman greatly, I don’t think she will ever be me.

Here’s why:

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

So far we are okay. Of course, like most wives, there have been times I have hurt my husband. I wish I had an unblemished record here, but we are definitely in a better place today because of, not despite, the trials earlier in our marriage.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

I’m faltering here. I’m a girly-girl, a city girl, and a bit of a spoiled girl. Maybe a lot of a spoiled girl. I do enjoy cleaning, but that’s the extent of my manual labor. My sewing skills are non-existent. My hands are best at clicking the ADD TO CART button on Amazon.

14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

WalMart Grocery pick-up probably doesn’t qualify.

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

I do get up early, but not before the sun.

16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Figuratively, I get this. I’m sewing seeds for the kingdom through my writing and my ministry. I like this verse, especially the considereth part. Sometimes what we WANT to do isn’t what God wants us to do. This is a constant concern of mine.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

18 She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night.

My candle goeth out at night. But not until all has been done, except for the occasional wait-til-morning sinkful of dirty dishes.

19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

This I do.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet.

22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

This says more about him than me, but I still love this. I have a well-respected husband who loves the Lord dearly.

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25 Strength and honour [are] her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

This verse sums up the Proverbs 31 woman for me. Without getting bogged down in details of early rising, sewing, late nights….This is the character within the Proverbs 31 woman. This is who I strive to be every day. When people see me, I want them to see STRENGTH. I want them to see HONOR. This is who I am, who I always want to be.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness.

Wise? Mostly. Wiseacre? A little too often. Snarkiness is the opposite of kindness.

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

This is my current struggle. I am not good with balance. I’m 100% overwhelmed and doing the job of 17 people or I’m 100% idle. I can’t work and rest. I can’t rest and work. Just today I began praying for the Lord to help me find that balance. I’m certain he will.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.

I know that what the LORD thinks should be all that matters, but let’s face it, we want our kids and husbands to be proud of us too.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30 Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

And I hope one day I will leave such a legacy that surpasses my time here on earth…