Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mary vs. Martha (for discussion)

A bit of Bible background: Jesus went to visit some gals- Mary and Martha.  Mary "got it", and spent time sitting at the feet of Jesus and enjoying being with Him.  Martha, however, was more pre-occupied with making sure "stuff" was ready for Jesus' visit.  She wasted time she could have spent in the presence of God by cooking and cleaning.  More info?  Check the story out here or here.

I live with a schizophrenic view of neatness.  I was raised in a home that was BEYOND clean and organized.  I tend to think that my cluttered-ness is a form of childhood rebellion.

On the flip side, I can't stand clutter.  (See above: raised in a home that was BEYOND clean and organized.)  I feel like I handle life better when everything is in it's place.  I have a love affair with my label maker and Rubbermaid bins that is often unhealthy.  No shopping experience brings me greater joy than stores like "The Container Store" or "Hold Your Own"... and when Oprah gave away new closet systems?  Sigh... a dream.

But in reality, I am a cluttered girl.  I am a hoarder of memories... I have boxes and boxes of pictures, old letters, and things from days gone by.  I have realized recently how silly some of my hoarding is and have purged loads- purses I won't use again, things I was saving for projects I honestly know I won't complete (that topic alone is a post for another day), shoes that aren't going to be worn, magazines I thought I would re-read... stuff like that.  But honestly?  I have a LOT of stuff.  As my heart has realigned in the last few years, my love of "things" has shifted- but I've still got a lot of them.

Herein lies the problem...  I have a lot of junk in my house... but I hate the junk.  I also let it pile up, but can't stand that it piles up, and I go on a bender cleaning.  And such benders put me in horrible moods in the moment (sometimes), but leave me with great moods when I'm done cleaning.  My friend Krista said today (while we were talking about this whole phenomenon) that maybe it's possible to have a Mary-Heart while I'm doing Martha-Activities... and honestly, y'all, I don't.  Sometimes in the moment of the routine (dishes, laundry) I can be in that zone... but when I tend to clutter that has gotten overwhelming, the Mary-Heart is gone.

So here is my question to you- how do you deal with mess?  How is your heart in the midst of it?  Do you like it?  Loathe it?

Fill me in people... I need your wisdom.



Honestly, I'm beyond a neat freak and anyone who has visited my house knows that. We have 4 kids... but if you step foot in my front door I doubt that it's obvious (unless, of course, you go into THEIR bedrooms!). If I have company coming... look out! I will clean the grout with a toothbrush! Sad... I know! Ughh! I do wish I could "lighten up" a bit and have a Mary heart about it... cuz typically... I have a grouchy Martha kind of mind when it comes to keeping things clean.

Emily said...

Which one had the passive agressive approach to cleaing... the one that thinks "if I ignore it long enough, maybe Jesus will pitch in???" That's me. Until Wednesday night... then on a regular basis our dear sweet aunt (aligned with JW-like-cleaning) and uncle (army-style cleaning) care for our child on Thursdays. I begin to freak out and tell "Jesus" that HE needs to mop, clean, help, put away, and then I simply hide our mess.... it's not healthy either.

sonja said...

I can't stand mess and clutter, but with two kids, a husband, two dogs and a cat I've learned that I can't keep my house the sparkly neat place I would like. Sometimes I yell and try to get people to help me clean. Sometimes I start throwing stuff in a trash bag. And, occasionally I throw stuff off the back porch.Usually,I just start cleaning until I'm sweaty and tired. Or we just give up and go do something fun, because if I can't see the mess it won't bother me. I also have my job, in a lab, where neatness and order is required. I love my job.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly the kind of stuff that has been on my mind lately, too. I'm reading the most amazing book - "The House That Cleans Itself", by Mindy Starns Clark, and I am really, really loving it. She has a very logical approach to cleaning and getting stuff done. I'm a big fan. So far. I haven't gotten very far in implementing all that she has to say, so I can't guarantee that the stuff works, it just sounds great and makes a lot of sense.

And Mary or Martha while I clean? Hmm...definitely leaning towards Martha.

Wishing you all the best as you work this stuff out!