Hey, hey! It’s April, and that means the sun is finally drawing us out of our sweaters, and the increased Vitamin D is making us all 10000x happier! (Might be fudging the numbers a little there, but that sure is what it feels like).
Today we’re going to talk about spring cleaning. Has anybody else heard or sung the verse “My life is not my own, to You I belong…” at an altar? It’s a powerful verse to sing as we remember that we’ve been bought with a price. All of us have been delivered from something by the grace of God and have been brought into His marvelous light. He bought us with His blood and paid the price for our freedom from addiction, fear, bondage, doubt, unbelief, etc. This new life is God-given and God-entrusted. It’s His, but He’s given us the power of choice. We decide how we will order our lives.
For a crude example, think about this: if you don’t put gas in your car for two weeks, it’s not God’s fault that the car won’t move anymore. It’s your fault for not filling the tank. God gave you the car; He woke you up another day; He gave you a brain, but it’s up to you to use these resources and order your life effectively.
For His Glory
We were created to bring Him glory (Is. 43:7), but we have the choice. We can either use our time, money, talents, relationships, and homes to build the Kingdom, or we can be poor stewards of these resources, trying to glorify ourselves by reaching for the easy, selfish, and “comfortable” life.
We should look at every aspect of our days here on earth as an opportunity to bring God pleasure. Doing the dishes isn’t glamorous or what we think of when we think of worship, but creating a clean home that’s conducive to prayer, rest, fellowship, and study of the Word is absolutely a God-honoring endeavor.
How To Build a Life
You already are!
Whether you realize it or not, you are always building your life around something. If you’re being intentional, you may be building your life around a career/education goal or a business goal. You may be striving for a deeper prayer life and tainting everything you do with a hunger for things of God.
Or, if you’re unintentional and not focused, you may be building your life with stress, messy piles of laundry everywhere (@ myself), going out to eat all the time, poor physical health and wellbeing, debt, relationships that are deteriorating...these are all results of poor stewardship.
All it takes to build a life that’s centered around the things of God is the same thing that it takes to build a life around a sport, education, or a career: time and effort.
Time & Effort
Time and effort go together like Cheesecake Factory brown bread and butter--when put together, they’ll blow your socks off (can I get a hallelujah?!).
Do this for me right now. Get in your head three main areas you know could use some TLC. Maybe it’s your marriage, maybe it’s your prayer life, maybe you want to lose some weight and feel better--whatever it is, get it in your head.
Do you know what that something takes? Time and effort.
If you want to lose some weight, you’re going to have to take the time to cook good food, research your individual needs, meet with a healthcare provider, exercise, grocery shop, and carry around a big bottle of water every day. Time and effort.
If you want to strengthen your marriage? The same two ingredients. Time and effort. Who knew they were so versatile?! You’ll have to read the books, practice the books, go to counseling, plan date nights sans technology, learn to apologize, listen to your spouse, pray together.
The Bible has plenty to say about time and effort, except it calls these two ingredients “diligence.”
Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” NKJV
Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” NKJV
Find What Works For You
I’m going to list some practical tips for being intentional and helping yourself to stay on track; however, you’ve got to find what works for you. I’m a pen and paper girl; you may be a tech whiz. Do what you’ll stick to and what you like.
1. A PLANNER
Seriously, this is a game-changer. Whether it’s a physical planner that you write appointments and meal plans in or it’s one of the great planner apps you can download for your phone, get. it! The iPhone calendar is great. Moleskine is another app that’s worked well for me. Alternatively, if you’re a list person, you can just use a list app such as Google Tasks so that each day you just have boxes to check off.
2. SHARED CALENDAR FOR YOUR FAMILY
Most smartphones or Google calendars will allow you to create a shared calendar with several people. My husband and I share a calendar so we don’t schedule things on top of the other's plans. It makes communication smoother, and we have fewer conflicts.
3. MAKE ROUTINES
We are all creatures of habit. You probably already have a “hair-washing day” or a day that you normally do your grocery shopping for the week--why not make it a routine? If you know there are three main things you need to do each week, why not make a “what our week looks like” to help you stay on top of it all and get in a healthy, effective groove?
For example, Monday nights are usually free for us, so that’s my grocery, light laundry, and rest day. On Fridays, we have to be at the church by 6:00 pm, so I always put something in the crockpot or we plan to eat a quick dinner at a local restaurant. It’s all about finding what works for you.
You can also make routines for morning/evening. Whether it’s a cup of tea and a book before bed, tidying up each evening, or taking a walk, you can put healthy habits in those few hours that will help you reach your goals. For example, if one of the goals that you want to devote time and effort to is reading one book a month, you can make it a habit to read a few chapters each evening until you’ve finished all twelve books!
4. FIND GOOD RESOURCES
Minimalism, Routines, Organization:
- Shelley Coon @thegoodnessmargin on Instagram and The Goodness Margin on YouTube.
- An article entitled “A 15-minute Daily Challenge to Create & Maintain a Clean Home” by Kelli McCool right here on the Dainty Jewell’s blog.
- Dear Young Married Couple Podcast & @dearyoungmarriedcouple on Instagram.
- “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
- Pinterest. Just, Pinterest. Anything you want to know about meal prepping for Whole30, Keto, Intermittent Fasting...you can find it all on Pinterest.
- Cook Once, Eat All Week by Cassy Joy Garcia (spent $40/week on groceries for 2 doing this. You can customize the recipes to fit your dietary needs.)
Being intentional and focusing allows you to use your time in a way that brings God honor. Not only are you taking care of the home, body, and mind He's given you, you're freeing up time and brain space to be fully present and effective when it comes time to minister to the needs of others. We're building the Kingdom!