Hey you, exhausted lady, come close. I want to do that thing my children do to me when they need to make sure I have heard something. I want to press both of my hands firmly on your cheeks and stare into your eyes while I say this slowly:
Jesus. Does. Not. Care. About. The. Dishes. In. Your. Sink.
Or your laundry for that matter. I don't think Jesus gives one crap about the last time you vacuumed. I just don't. Maybe YOU do. Maybe you function better with a clean house and the rug vacuumed and if that is the case, more power to you. If a clean house makes you a happy lady, then you.do. you. But maybe don't put that on me.
Maybe I am picking a fight where I shouldn't. Maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill, or maybe, maybe I am just so exhausted from the shame I am constantly fighting over the state of my house and the state of my heart.
I could build an extra storage shed out of the various christian materials marketed toward women about how to grow closer to Jesus, and also clean their house all with the same process. Then I would have somewhere to put all the stuff I have not had time to de-clutter. I am tired of being told that my refusal to de-clutter is actually a refusal to trust God with my stuff. I simply do not have time to de-clutter, and read a book about it, and maintain my prayer life and my sanity. It is all I can do to get the sanity all the time and the prayer life most.
I have a big problem with the bazillions of books that are about my house, because it isn't really about my house. It is about the extra chains we attach to the gospel. It is about the shame I feel when I don't measure up. It is about unrealistic expectations that the church has bought into and sold to its people.
Over half of American households are households where all the adults work. But still, women do most of the house work, the grocery shopping, the bathing of the children, the homework folder wrangling. Women have, on average, 30 minutes less of leisure time per day. Y'all the statistics are the same for the women in our pews.
So, when you suggest, even implicitly by the sheer number of books you sell about it, or the articles you publish, that my lack of home making is a heart issue, pardon me as I respond: NOT TODAY SATAN!
Why is this hot-mess-gender-segregated-chore-garbage only shaming marketed toward women?
Where are the book marketed to my husband about the relationship to his spiritual life and the "man chores"? Where are the books called:
- Is your lawn and your heart overgrown?
- Pruning your life and your bushes. Building a shed and a Godly life.
- Shiny like Chrome: At the Car Wash with the Holy Spirit.
- In God's Garage, How keeping your car running clean keeps your mind running clean
- Where are those books? Why don't they exist?
Because we don't have the same expectations for men as we do for women. This jacked up system was set by the world. And instead of the church offering me freedom from it, it has just doubled on the shame. I should feel bad not just because I can't find my couch under the laundry pile and the toothpaste on the sink has hardened into sparkly blue cement, but also because this shows a lack of commitment to Jesus.
This isn't okay. Every single day since I wrote this post, someone has Googled "working mom devotional" every day. Why? Because those don't really exist. Even though over half of the women in the church work, even though over half of American moms work, still we feel like we are alone, like we aren't good enough, like we are falling short.
Yes. My house is a disaster and I haven't folded laundry in two months. Yes, we are having pizza for dinner and I am not even going to pick up the clothes my kids are likely to discard right on the living room floor. Yes, it was a small miracle Priscilla found matching shoes and everyone left the house wearing clean underwear today.
No. That does not mean I need to get right with Jesus. It means I am in the same boat as most of America. It means nothing about my relationship with Jesus. The dirty dishes in the sink? They mean I am probably going to get ants. THAT is why I should wash them, not because Jesus cares.
This article first appeared on Accidental Devotional.