Housekeeping Tip #6: Feed Yourself Beautiful Truths

My body curled into a ball as my face became drenched with tears. Shame and regret washed over me while I cried. Harsh words had been hurled at a loved one, the unlucky recipient who had unjustly borne the brunt of my overflowing stress.

I wished I could take those ugly words away from the hearer’s ears and shove them right back into my mouth, then swallow them whole and allow something kind and gentle to flow from my lips instead.

I desperately want to be a life giver. To refresh, uplift, and renew those around me.

But sometimes, I fall painfully short of that desire. Sometimes my attitude or careless words drain hope and happiness right out of someone’s spirit.

Because words and deeds are like that – they hold great power. And we can’t undo what we’ve already done. We don’t get a rewind or a do-over on life. We only get one shot at each moment.

In those minutes after my verbal storm, I felt unlovable and nonredeemable. I fed myself lies because I didn’t feel worthy of Truth. And the truth is that, yes, I should have responded in a kinder way, but one bad moment does not make me a bad person.

One bad hour does not have to accumulate to a terrible day.

One slew of unkind words, though not excusable, does not take away the thousands of beautiful sentences I’ve woven into someone’s heart.

Mess-ups, sins, shortcomings, they’re all redeemable. But to grow, we must feed ourselves life-giving truths. Dear friend, if you’re struggling with feelings of defeat, I want you to tell yourself these truths. Say them out loud. Feel the healing that can come from believing these words:

  • I am lovable.
  • I am capable.
  • I am valuable.
  • I am redeemable.
  • I am enough.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:13-14, NKJV

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8, NKJV

Do you deeply believe the words you just whispered to yourself? If you don’t, write them down, print them out, put them on your bathroom mirror, or stick them in your pocket. Tell yourself the powerful truths over and over again until you believe them. And then keep on telling yourself, so you never forget.

Because if we want to move forward, if we want to do well in life – whether at parenting, homemaking, a career, or any other desired goal, we must first believe that we can. We have to internalize the knowledge that every inch of us was lovingly created. We must know that we’re not beyond help.

Beautiful Tidy Up Friends, one of the worst lies we can tell ourselves is that it’s too late.

We eat another brownie and decide it’s too late to make healthy food choices today so we reach for even more. We waste the morning on electronics and berate ourselves for not accomplishing needed tasks, then we turn our defeated faces back to the brightly lit screen.

We make a bad move at the office or in a relationship and our stomachs sink because we know consequences will arise and people may be hurt.

But you must know, it’s not too late to alter the path you’re currently on. It’s not too late to make good choices and it’s not too late for you.

When we begin to feel defeated, we can pray for guidance and gently correct our inner voice by saying, “It’s not too late. I can help redeem this.”

When our little ones want us to snuggle with them in bed and we say no, we can return to their room, whisper an apology, and ask them to hold back the covers for us as we climb in.

When we eat too much dessert, we can set a bowl of fruit on the counter so it’s easier to make a healthy choice the next time.

If we make a poor decision in a relationship or at work, we can seek forgiveness from the people we’ve hurt. Because even though we don’t like drawing attention to our poor choices, it’s often the fastest way to restore a relationship.

If we live in a chaotic home, we can wallow in self-pity and defeat, or we can choose to start where we are to restore beauty and peace as we lovingly work to make imperfect progress.

We can stop waiting until the next big event, or next month, or even next year. We can stop waiting until the mood strikes and start now.

Because as my mother used to tell me, “Mind over matter, dear.” In other words, we can choose our attitude and choose our mood, regardless of the circumstances.

We shouldn’t make excuses for poor habits. But we don’t need to wallow in self-defeating ugly talk, either. We can gently acknowledge where we need to improve. We can kindly feed ourselves truth.

We must believe that we will make a difference. We will change. We will improve. We will learn to be okay with imperfect progress.

Because when we take the pressure off of ourselves to do things in the perfect way at the perfect time, we’re giving ourselves permission to move forward, right where we are, starting today.

Lasting change won’t happen perfectly right away. And a positive difference isn’t always noticeable from the outside until great progress has been made within our own hearts first.

But when we refuse to give up, we will begin making improvements. Yes, it might be two steps forward and one (or three) steps back, but we can dig in our heels, climb the mountain, and refuse to walk away.

We keep trying because every positive decision helps to propel us forward. We refuse to give up so we can mature into the women that God created us to be. We can choose to be refined (Zechariah 13:8-9).

And it will be beautiful.

*****************************************************************

Friend, this week’s assignment is to give yourself a small housekeeping success so you can start believing in yourself. Catch up on laundry, clean out your closet, tidy one room in your house, or gather a bag of gently used items for donation.

To really give yourself a boost, share this article on Facebook or with a friend, join the free Tidy-Up Club, or leave a comment letting us know a truth you’re working to believe. Immerse yourself in beautiful community so we can encourage and inspire each other as we work together to form positive, life-changing habits, one step at a time.

And to make it easy for you to encourage someone you love, I created printable You Are Enough notecards that you can share with a friend. Go here to receive your free notecards.

FreeNotecards

Articles Linked to Within this Post

I’d love to hear: What truths do you need to tell yourself today?


Show Love with Clean

“She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household… She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.” (Proverbs 10:15, 18 NKJV)

I pause to absorb the timeless message. That woman had great self-confidence, to know the merchandise she was creating was good enough to sell.

I read on. “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed in scarlet…”

I tilt my head, thinking. My kids still fit into last winter’s coats. I wonder if that counts as being ready for winter. I continue reading. “…Her clothing is fine linen and purple.”

Ohh, fine clothing! I just went to the mall and bought new jeans on clearance – I bet that counts! “She makes linen garments and sells them…”

Hmm, maybe the clearance jeans don’t count. I wonder if she was irritable from spending long hours sewing by herself late at night. “…She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

On her tongue is the law of kindness. I contemplate those words. She must have been tired, but yet she chose gentleness. How did she do it? My eyes focus in on the next verse. “She does not eat the bread of idleness.”

Excuses start rolling through my mind. Conviction begins rumbling in my gut. I want to close my Bible, to turn away from the uncomfortable. But this time, I make myself consider the words I’d just read.

I think of the 30 minutes I spend reading my favorite blogs before I roll out of bed most mornings, the 15 minutes I use browsing social media when I arrive home from work, and the 45 minute television show my husband and I regularly watch before we go to sleep.

None of these things are bad.

But then I think about everything I want to do. Declutter my house again. Publish the book I’ve written. Read to my kids more often.

Those little minutes are adding up.

I rapidly calculate the numbers, grasping for something measurable amidst the emotions swirling around my heart. Not counting in-between moments I spend throughout the day, I’m wasting at least 10.5 hours of time every single week. My mind whirls with the possibilities of what I could accomplish with that much free time.

If somebody told me they were going to gift me with 10.5 free hours each week, or 45 free hours every single month, what would I say I’d do with the time? Would I want to write another book? Take a warm bath every night? Exercise daily?

I know what I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t say I was going to spend that time staring at my phone.

Sometimes we think we’re too busy. We don’t think we have time to keep a clean home or to linger over a great book with our kids. And yes, there are seasons of extreme busyness. But there is a very wise observation that says,

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

My question today is this: Are we finding a way or are we seeking an excuse?

This year, let’s love our families well. Let’s stop playing the part of the martyr and start welcoming our loved ones’ interruptions – and their messes – with warm hugs and gentle words.

Here are a few simple ways to start:

When we see photos of roses, chocolate, and other romantic gestures popping up on social media, let’s choose to also intentionally offer love in less flowery, but longer-lasting, ways. We can pour ourselves into our homes and our families. We shouldn’t clean because we need something in return or to make ourselves feel valued.

Cleaning runs much deeper than that. We want to live a life of no regrets, a life that isn’t held back because of a chaotic home. We desire to create a clean, calm environment that our family members want to come home to each evening.

We don’t always know what life holds, but whenever something comes our way, whether good or bad, we want to be ready.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…” Proverbs 31:28

*****************************************************************

Friend, I know that sometimes we’d love to create a clean environment but we aren’t sure where to start. So I want to share a fantastic series that’s going on right now. It’s all about How to Organize Your Life in 30 Days, and it’s written by authors who hope to encourage and inspire you as you work to create space in your own home for love, laughter, and warm memories.

The best part is there are no rules – you can join in anytime and do as few or as many of the challenges as you’d like! Go here for details.

And don’t forget that you can read Chaos to Clutter-Free or join the Tidy Up club on Facebook for year round cleaning encouragement.

How to organize your life in 30 days- Instagram


It’s Your Year to Shine {The House}

Panic seized my heart. Please, no, I thought. Not now. I just need a few more minutes.

But there it was again, taunting with a sing-songy voice:

Ding-Dong!

Desperately looking around, I rapidly crammed a few more things into a corner then lifted a shaky hand in attempt to smooth my hair. Embarrassment flushed through me as I opened the door.

Never again, I told myself, stepping aside to let them in. I will never again be this embarrassed of my home.

Clutter may feel like a normal part of life, but it always comes with a cost.

Clutter induces stress, drains our energy, steals our time, and can rob us of our joy.

But we don’t have to live that way.

This year, let’s be proactive instead of reactive. We no longer need to panic when the doorbell rings. We can stop spending hours searching for lost items. We will take control of our laundry mountains.

Because when we regularly cultivate a clean environment, we’re not only caring for our homes and ourselves, but we’re also telling our loved ones:

“I love you enough to create a calm space for you. I love you enough to gently teach you how to care for your own things. I love you so much that I’m going to keep trying, over and over again, for as long as it takes to learn this well.”

This is our year to shine {the home}. Not for one huge, exhausting day or event, but for the entire beautiful year. Because when we’re taking good care of our homes, we’re not only offering the gift of clean – we’re giving the gift of calm.

If You Need A Gentle Nudge…

I’d love for you to join me in the Chaos to Clutter-Free challenge that begins anew in the private Tidy Up Facebook group every January.

I must warn you though, this is no ordinary challenge.

Determined people band together for encouragement, motivation, and inspiration as we declutter every square inch of our homes together. It’s going to be tough. We’re going to sweat. We’re going to cry. We’re going to want to scream and shout and give up and forget about the whole thing.

But we’re committed to pushing through together.

And when we’re finished, we’re going to cry and shout and jump up and down again – this time not in frustration, but in victory, because we’ll know that we did it. We’ll know that we pushed through the frustration, discouragement, sickness and fatigue, we kept going, we refused to give up, and we made it.

It’s going to be the hardest thing many of us have ever willingly put ourselves through. But when we’re finished? It will be glorious.

Here’s How to Shine {Your House} with the Tidy Up Friends:

  1. Join the Tidy Up Club on Facebook – while this particular challenge is specific to the winter months, encouragement & motivation are fresh all year long!
  2. Leave a comment on this post, send me an email, or introduce yourself to your new Tidy Up Friends so we know that you’re joining in.
  3. Dust off or purchase your copy of Chaos to Clutter-Free.
  4. Clean your house! Bonus if you take before & after photos to share with your Tidy Up Friends!

ChaosToClutterFreeCoverkindle2

If You’re Fighting Discouragement

Please remember that our value is not found in the cleanliness (or lack there-of) of our homes. Our value isn’t in the stuff we have or the meals we prepare. We’re valuable because God loved us enough to give us life. We’re treasured because He loves us so much that He allowed His Son to go to the cross on our behalf. That, my friend, is the greatest hope and gift of all.

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand…” Psalm 139:17-18 (NKJV)

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8, (NKJV)

Do you believe you’re valuable enough to live in a clean home? Are you ready to shine? If not, what’s stopping you?


Housekeeping Tip #5: Look Ahead

I tenderly touched the items that were buried away in a closet. Tiny outfits, worn-out books, little blankets… they all tugged at my heartstrings.

“What do you do with the baby items when you think you’re done having children but you know you’re not immune to little surprises?” I texted to my friend Kelli, a mother of five.

The answer beeped in a few moments later. “Pass the items along. Don’t think about what you’re giving away – think ahead to the joy of what you’re gaining as you make room for new things. Trust God to provide if you do have another tiny blessing.”

Brushing soft tears from my cheek, I went back to the closet and started filling donation sacks with baby items. When I finished, I dragged our camping gear – evidence of a new favorite hobby – over to the closet and started filling in the empty spaces.

With each shelf I filled, my heart grew a little lighter and a little happier. Kelli was right. It felt good to pick the newer items off the floor and put them into a place of real belonging.

When we look ahead instead of behind, we’re creating space for life to be lived instead of holding on to a part of time that can never again be more than a memory.

When we look ahead, we’re able to focus more on the feeling of a clean house later rather than just the desire of wanting to rest right now. Looking ahead allows us to think about how we’ll feel if someone stops by unexpectedly when the house is clean – and when it isn’t.

Thinking ahead causes us to consider how we’ll feel when we lay down at night. Will we feel good knowing that we’d used little minutes to tidy up and wash some laundry, or will we feel guilt in knowing we’d been too distracted with technology to make sure everyone had clean clothes for the next day?

And when morning comes, will we be ready to greet the day in a clean home or will we feel dread, knowing we’re about to face an overwhelming mess?

Sometimes we desperately want a fresh home but feel too busy to clean. When that happens, we can look closely at our schedules. Perhaps we could temporarily lessen our social engagements, cut back on time spent with television or social media, or even re-prioritize service projects.

Even if there’s not much we can realistically minimize right now, we can still choose wisely to make a positive difference in our homes.

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

***************************************************************************

Tidy Up friends, Have you ever noticed how draining it is to live in disorder?

After a few days of recently living in an exhausting mess, I pushed through fatigue so I could make my home nice again. The following morning I was up and starting my day before the alarm went off – it is so much easier to get out of bed when we’re greeted by peace instead of mocked by chaos.

If you’re in a place of chaos, I want to encourage you to do one thing today to begin working your way out of it. Maybe you could get your laundry under control, clean the kitchen, or even just clear your bathroom counter.

Regardless of whatever is going on in your life, it’s easier to face other challenges when home is a haven.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – does creating a clean home help you feel peaceful & optimistic? If not, what do you do to calm your spirit?