3 lessons from Proverbs to get you motivated about cleaning

Having a Super Bowl party? Time to clean! These tips from Proverbs can help you get the job done so you can concentrate on the guacamole.

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It’s tough to get into cleaning mode every day. Although you may love the end result of a tidy house, getting there is another story. Scrubbing the same dishes, mopping the same floor, washing the same clothes … day after day after day… keeping us from all the other stuff we’d rather be doing. So we set aside those dishes and the mounds of laundry until they pile up and no one has anything to wear, which inevitably results in frustration, like an endless spin cycle. Recently, as I was folding the same t-shirt I had just folded two days ago, a verse came to mind: “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” As it happens, that verse comes from the book of Proverbs.

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Amid my mental complaining, the verse helped me feel blessed to have my family’s laundry to do because if there was no laundry, then there would be no family. If you were to read all 31 chapters of Proverbs, you might think, WOW. I could never be that woman with my schedule and my hectic life. (And let’s face it, we may not want to be since a Proverb woman’s place was clearly in the kitchen.) The ideal Proverbs woman is often described as “a blessing to others,” “full of virtue,” “joyful,” “productive” and “never wasting any of the time given to her on this earth.” Just reading all that makes me tired. Proverbs is not meant to be interpreted as a job description for women but as a source of wisdom and lessons still relevant today. While the world, our culture, and the way we divide up household labor has changed, Proverbs can still inspire us today. Consider these three tips for a more modern approach to bringing joy and productivity into your home:

1. Read, clean, pray

Sounds like a blockbuster idea, right? Read at least one verse from Proverbs before getting started with your daily routine. Reflect on that verse throughout the day, and how you can adapt it to your modern life: Pray for your family, one by one, while mopping the floors, or cleaning the windows to defeat boredom, and to also remind you about the reason for it all. Don’t think about time, your next task, or hurrying so you can get done. St. Benedict said, “Idleness is the enemy of the soul.” This doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to binge-watch Netflix once in a while, but making it habit makes you feel like a lazy, useless slob. Fight these feelings by keeping your mind clear and your focus on the task at hand. My personal recommendation is Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” I’m not embarrassed to say that that verse makes me feel like a badass superwoman.

2. Let the music move you

You’ve got your Faves from the 80s and your Hip-Hop Treadmill mix, now get to work on your Down n’ Dirty in the House playlist. Some songs I have on my playlist include “Beggin’ For Thread” by Banks, “Only a Mountain” by Jason Castro, “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, “We Found Love” by Rihanna, and “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande. Peek into my window and you might even catch me singing into my broom handle like it’s a microphone. Playing some of my favorites from the ’80s and ’90s takes me back in time and gives me a feeling of complete happiness that not even the dishes can wash away. Let the beat and the words motivate you to conquer your chores all while getting exercise from shaking your hips!

3. Play detective

We often overlook our blessings—a family to clean for and an actual home to live in. We also overlook items that gather dust and grime week after week in our effort to focus on the obvious, the basics. Don’t forget about the ceiling fans, baseboards, switch plates, hair brushes, pillows, curtains, filters, lamp shades, shower curtain liners, remote controls, blinds, garbage cans. Trust me, you might think your family and friends won’t notice, but they will—and appreciate how warm and inviting your home feels to them.

Starla Hester
Starla Hester
Starla is a freelance writer living in Alabama with her husband. She is a member and CCD teacher at Our Lady of the Shoals Catholic Church in Tuscumbia, where she recently became a godparent to her ex-foster son. She has several publications on religion, farm life and her personal struggles with infertility

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