by Britney Hamm
I walk into the kitchen only to find annoying crumbs littering the counter tops, a ball of mysterious fuzz dancing across the floor, two plates from lunch sitting in the sink waiting expectantly for the dishwasher to be emptied, and the remnants of my husband’s lunch makings that he didn’t have time to put away just chilling out on the counter.
I just cleaned the kitchen this morning! An hour of hard work spent to make the kitchen sparkling clean, and now…dirty again. The rest of the house tells the same story.
Will it ever end? Nothing stays clean for longer than 5 minutes! I put all this work into my home, to make it clean and free of the clutter, but what’s the point? The dust is settling by the time I’m done dusting. When will it end?
This is the monologue that takes place inside my head nearly every day. Housework is cyclical: there is no end point. The moment when everything looks perfectly cleaned and picked up is like a phantom. It lasts only for a brief moment and then it vanishes behind the settling dust and evidence of life being lived.
It’s easy to get discouraged by this cycle—especially since there’s no way to avoid it.
With this inescapable reality in front of me, I am left with three options:
- I can let the discouragement and frustration build until it explodes and I give up on even attempting to keep the house clean, abandoning my responsibility to care for my home. I cast blame on others for making the mess and let bitterness and discouragement fester.
- I can resolve to pour every ounce of my energy and time into cleaning to maintain the perfectly-cleaned look while I get trapped in a deeper cycle of despair as I keep striving for this unattainable illusion. Meanwhile, my joy is nowhere to be found.
- I can reflect on the way the cyclical nature of housework speaks of the temporal and unfinished nature of this world. As I remember that one day Christ will return and make all things new then I am filled with joy again.
The third option astounds my soul! Is this really possible? Can sweeping dust bunnies really point me to hope in Christ? Can I serve my family with joy and faithfulness instead of discouragement and obsession?
The Bible tells me that I am a sinner– broken and messed up– and this world is a broken place, broken beyond human repair. Things are not as they should be—the evidence is everywhere. We get over a cold only to come down with the flu. We reconcile a fragile friendship only to come home and have a fight with our husband. We see a criminal justly convicted of their crime only to hear of another murder down the street. When will all things be right and just and whole and clean? We know that things are not as they should be.
While our efforts to break these cycles are thwarted, God has the answer. And his answer breaks into that never-ending cycle and promises to put a stop to it for good.
God sent his only Son, Jesus, to break into our broken world. He died on the cross for our brokenness. Three days later he rose from the dead, victorious over all the sin and brokenness in the world. He ascended to heaven with the promise that he would return, and upon his return he would make all things right. The messed up world we live in is not the end of the story. The end of the story is eternal life with God, in which everything is made new and perfect, for those who repent, trusting and hoping in Jesus as their Savior.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” Revelation 21: 4-5a
Hoping in Christ is not just a hope for eternal life—but hope for today and tomorrow and every day after. So I can see housework as a picture of the seemingly never-ending problems that plague humanity—problems which Jesus has solved. In the meantime, I can joyfully and faithfully take care of my home knowing that my hope is not in the state of my home; my hope is in Jesus.
“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:10
And as a side note, when Jesus returns I won’t have to clean my house again—ever! Hallelujah!
Some other posts about cleaning:
ABOUT THE WRITER
Britney lives in Missouri with her campus missionary husband, Travis, and their blue-eyed baby Ambrielle. Brit is a former dancer who had horse jockey aspirations and played street hockey. Her well-rounded interests also include theology, chocolate, disciple-making and ballroom dancing. But her favorite thing to talk about is how God breaks into our lives with His grace.