The Practice of Tidiness

As mothers and fathers, we are called upon throughout the day to practice a lot of things–patience, perseverance, discipline, godliness, holiness… and I would argue among these is TIDINESS. Yes, I’m placing the orderliness of one’s home right alongside the most Godly traits above. Why?

Because I believe everyone (yes everyone) has the ability to practice tidiness; to harness the habit of an orderly lifestyle so that life runs a little smoother. And I would argue that with more tidiness comes an easier time seeking patience, perseverance, godliness, and holiness. It is so easy to see when the practice of tidiness falls by the wayside; when we stop devoting the few additional minutes it takes to put a little elbow grease into the kitchen, the pile of junk by the stairwell, the load of dishes in the sink. As the FlyLady would attest, even 10 minutes spent tackling a house “hotspot” will go a long way toward bringing sanity to a home.

And don’t get me wrong, I am challenging myself more on this one than anyone else. I am, by nature, rather messy. You should have seen my room growing up–my parents will vouch! “Please just clear a path to your bed so you don’t trip,” was my mother’s regular mantra! After “cleaning up my act” in college and then marrying a rather tidy fella, I’ve become convinced that tidiness is a learned, practiced behavior and one that can be achieved with the smallest bit of effort and discipline each day.

These thoughts came about recently as our family is readying to recommit to order in our home. The arrival of a new baby always sends things spiraling and yes, there are seasons when a little disorder is to be expected (even required). But how much I long for the tidiness of our regular routine!! I’m often reflecting on this passage from Proverbs 31:10-29 and its description of a Godly woman/wife/mother (one who probably does an excellent job at keeping a tidy home!) I find it to be incredibly inspiring…

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark, she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

May this inspire all of us today to seek the practice, discipline, and habit of tidiness!
God speed!! I’m off to straighten the family room… :)


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