This past week I took a break from Instagram – for many reasons. One of them being it distracts me from time with the people around me, another because it is constantly on my mind – “what should I post today? should I post today? will people like it?”
I don’t really know if other people think this way, but I was getting really tired of insta-anxiety. So I deleted the app on my phone. I still used twitter and pinterest to curb my boredom while I sit at home all day without a job, but I learned there are things I’m missing while I stare at my phone.
For one, I’m missing out on growth.
This week at church we talked about what it means to be a great church. Caring for one another, serving – that sort of thing. When I think about this topic out of context, meaning I’m not in the moment serving someone or caring for another person, I think I do a decent job of it.
This morning I woke up and the apartment was a mess. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and we went out to dinner so things were left alone. This morning Nick and his friends went to Park City to snowboard – without cleaning up anything.
For some reason, it seems men don’t learn how to clean up after themselves, or they just really don’t care.
In college, Nick lived with 12 other guys. Twelve. I shudder when I think about that mess. Nick brags that he had the cleanest room, but what was he comparing himself to?! Pigs. He was comparing himself to pigs. Their house was called the pigpen – I think you get the picture.
I’ll give him some credit, Nick wasn’t bad at cleaning his room and he liked to do it decently often. But let me just point out here, there is a difference between consistently keeping up the clean and letting something get so gross for 3 weeks that you can’t take it anymore. He also lived with a giant slob roommate (which he knows so if you’re reading this Scott, I’m sorry but it’s true) and that might have made it a little worse, maybe he’d want to clean more because it wasn’t his mess? Who knows.
I’m not saying I’m perfect at this. I recently had an old roommate tell me that I used to drive them crazy by leaving my books and laptop all over the place in our house – whoops.
Back to this morning, then – I wake up and our gifts are still sitting on the table, there’s a dirty pizza cutter on top of a cookie sheet on the stove- which is covered in crumbs, there is a waffle maker on the counter and it’s dirty (I refuse to clean this), there are cups, plates, silverware, and nasty chunks of wet food in the sink, and there are pants strewn across the couch.
My immediate reaction to this is just to crawl back in bed – but when I look at the bed, there are clothes on it, and a full hamper of clean clothes next to it. I think this is why women want to be paid for their housework. I can’t imagine having sons.
Eventually, my overall desire for cleanliness wins out over my disgust and stubborn heart. I’m washing the dishes saying “are you kidding me” and other such phrases under my breath when I remember what I heard at church.
We are called as Christians to have serving hearts, regardless of the situation. The Gospel of Matthew says Christ came to serve, not to be served. If the God of the Universe came here to serve people that were undeniably lesser to Him, how can I stand here and throw a fit about crumbs and laundry?
Last night I even said to Nick “I want to serve people better and more willingly”. How hilarious that my opportunity to do this was presented so immediately the next morning.
Of course, Nick won’t know that I complained my way through cleaning this morning because he wasn’t here. That’s not the point, though. If my heart is bitter because I had to do this work instead of sitting down on the couch immediately when I woke up, I would show this bitterness some other way, some other time. Because that is the state of my heart.
I read a ridiculous article this morning when I Googled “what to do when men don’t know how to clean up after themselves”. I was curious.
This article on How To Clean Stuff.net was about the different techniques women can use to punish their men for not living up to their expectations of cleanliness. At first I was like yeah! withhold food from them! Barter! GO ON STRIKE!
What will this accomplish? Am I not just teaching this person that in order to receive ____ from me, they have to do something for me first? As a wife, I wish to show my husband the opposite of this. He does not need to earn my love, especially because Christ already loves him, but more than that.
My deepest desire as a wife is to be a comfort to my husband. I want to encourage him and build him up. I don’t want to play games with him so he picks up his clothes. Don’t get me wrong, that drives me insane and I am not quiet about it. But I also know how happy and relieved it makes him when he comes home and the clothes are put away, the room is clean and he can relax.
I can do this while grumbling. I usually do, actually.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” – 1 Peter 4:8-11
I looked up hospitality because it just makes me think of hotels. Synonyms include kindness, warmth, friendliness, courtesy, generosity.
Offer kindness, offer warmth, offer friendliness, offer generosity without grumbling.
I am often too proud and selfish to realize this is how I am supposed to act. And when I wonder why marriage is so hard, it is because I am far from this command.
It is much easier to expect this treatment from other people than it is to offer it to them.
I’ll just go pick up those clothes now…