Tidying is not my strong suit. Neither is cleaning.
Growing up in a house where neatness and ultra neatness was the norm, I stuck out like a sore thumb. My poor parents could not begin to comprehend how they could’ve begotten a daughter who was so – um, relaxed – about how her part of the room looked, when everything else in their house was spick and span and in apple-pie order. My idea of organisation was to put things into random piles and simply know which pile any particular object resided in.
When I was in college, I once came back to my college room and found the words “DUST ME” written in the dust on my table lamp. I suppose it had been there for a few days before I noticed it. After I started working, the same piles started building themselves on my desk, and they were as tall as ever when the new CEO came by to say hello on her introductory tour of the office.
You could say things got somewhat better when I started having my own home, since there was a lot more room (and floor) for things to occupy and be squirrelled away out of sight, especially on occasions of visitors.
It wasn’t that I was ever living in abject filth or anything like that (yes don’t worry, cookware and tableware are always cleaned promptly), and I appreciate and enjoy a clean and orderly house as much as the next person. I just have trouble keeping it that way.
And even though I’m definitely very comfortable with the casual look of my house, there are times I wish I could be more automatically motivated to tidy, clean, sort and pack, times when I wonder if I’ll ever make it as a “good” wife and homemaker.
Thankfully, Jesus was there to meet me in my time of need. He listened and smiled as I brought my housekeeping woes to Him.
Oftentimes it doesn’t cross our minds to ask the Lord for help on everyday chores and things, either because we’re so used to coping with them ourselves, or we think that we should only go to Him when we really need something. Like relief and healing for that persistent backache. Or finance for that new house we want to buy.
After all, He’s a busy God, right? He has a whole universe to run, and many other much bigger problems to deal with. Why should He care about helping me with my messy house? I probably shouldn’t be bothering Him with this.
But you know what? He does. And He wants us to bring every one of our concerns to Him. Because He is not just the God of the big things, but also God of the small things too.
Whether we feel it or not, and whether we acknowledge it or not, Jesus is there with us every moment of every day. He has promised He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and He never does.
Jesus told the people who followed Him that they didn’t need to be afraid when they worshipped and followed God, because God – who knows and cares for every one of even the cheapest and commonest birds, the sparrow – also numbers the hairs on each of their heads (Matthew 10:29-31, Luke 12:6-7).
Who but God can love like this and to such detail, that He would even know the exact number of hairs on our heads, a number which is always changing? Not even the most loving parent would count the number of hairs on their beloved child’s head, not even once. And God does it for every one of us. Real-time. (Don’t feel left out if you happen to be bald, because there’s always eyebrows and facial hair, even the tiniest follicles of the skin.)
When we bring our troubles – every little one of them – to the Lord, it makes Him feel like God, and He becomes bigger to us too. When we see how Jesus solves our big issues, and also helps us sort out our small ones too, with plenty left over, we come to realise – He’s a big God!
For some time now, I’ve been taught that as we focus on Jesus and His righteousness – namely, the truth of how we’ve been made forever righteous in Christ today – everything that we need will be added to us (Matthew 6:33).
Ordinarily, it doesn’t seem at all practical to be focusing on Jesus or studying God’s word to seek out the truth of His righteousness in us. But God is God, and when we focus on what He delights in, which is Jesus and His perfect work, He sets about taking care of every one of our needs.
One time I did an experiment and decided to test this truth by starting my morning with some Bible study, even though there were things I needed to get done in the house. I was at Exodus, reading about the items in the tabernacle. As I began seeing Jesus and His sacrifice depicted within, I got more engrossed and time passed. By the time I started on the chores and laundry, it was after lunch. But incredibly, I ended up sorting, folding and reorganising the clothes in the entire master wardrobe in just a couple of hours, something that I had been trying to do for weeks. I knew it had to be Jesus.
So does my house look totally transformed today? Well, no. I’m still me. But there’ll be days when I’m just meditating on His Word and speaking out verses, or praying in the Spirit as I go about my day, and I’ll find myself suddenly feeling motivated to and actually keeping some laundry, wiping down the stove top, doing some ironing, and putting things away.
How does it happen? I don’t know. But it does. And He makes it easy. And He can do the same for you in whatever area you may need help in too.
Because when we encounter Jesus, we encounter grace.