I received a negative review on Amazon the other day.
The person who wrote the review concluded by writing, “messiness is not a moral issue.”
I agree. Mostly.
Sometimes, in the details of the mess, there could be some moral issues at hand, perhaps? Could there be a sin of laziness stemming from selfishness? Could there be a wall in your heart towards cleaning because of a fear of being taken advantage of by those around you? Maybe you covet another life, and therefore resent that you “have” to clean? All these issues have a root of sin.
I think we should pull back the curtains of our heart and find out what is there. Are we lazy, or just tired? Being tired is not a sin! We need to be willing to be vulnerable and understand our strengths and our limitations; our sin issues and our bents. Whether you like to clean or don’t, whether you are good at it or not, doesn’t really matter. What matters is the heart.
Do you have a sin issue or a core lie you need to ask God to help you to deal with when it comes to your attitude towards taking care of your domain? If so, then perhaps messiness is a moral issue for you.
For many of us I think we just get wrapped up in the “you shoulds” and the “you shouldn’ts” and we forget to ask God, “Lord, who do you say I am? What do you say when it comes to caring for my domain?” We need to approach the throne of grace if we are going to walk in grace and be instruments of grace; we need to be open to be healed…or corrected.
You may be a messy person, and that may or may not be a moral issue for you. I’m asking you to ask God today if their is an issue that you need to confront, or if you are just messy and need to persevere while not beating yourself up for who you are.
Cleaning is just a detail. I don’t care if you are miss super cleaner lady or miss messy pants, your cleaning personality has nothing to do with the identity of your soul. So whoever you are, wherever you are, let the details lead you to the state of your heart. I’m saying, let the care of your domain come from a heart that overflows with love. Clean and maintain your domain in order to push back the chaos and offer a place of rest and peace. Let it all be from the heart.
And from the heart, a redeemed heart, we can really love well.
By Sarah Mae, Like a Warm Cup of Coffee
31 Days to Clean is available in PDF (which is 50% off this week if you use code: BLOOM), Kindle, or Nook (the sample formatting on Nook is all wonky, but the eBook formatting is fine)
Photo Credit: Thankful – Heart and HomeLeave a Comment
Linda Stoll says
I just discovered your blogs, Sarah Mae, and am looking forward to getting to know you better!
I believe that our surroundings usually end up reflecting what’s happening inside for us. That doesn’t mean there’s sin involved. But if things are crazy and chaotic on the outside, chances are that it in some way reflects on the state of our souls.
I’ve talked to lots of women over the years about this big issue … and this unsettled soul/unsettled surroundings link seems to ring true time after time.
Here’s a few jumpstart questions to ask ourselves …
Sarah Mae says
Linda, yes, I completely agree! Sometimes there can be sin, sometimes there are just wounds, sometimes it’s personality, etc. etc. No one size fits all box! Thanks for your link! 🙂
Holley Gerth says
Let it all be from the heart.
Why do I forget that so easily when it comes to practical things? Thanks for the perspective check, girl!
Titus 2:5 instructs that women should be keepers at home. What does it mean to “keep” a home? Keep it messy?! I don’t think so. Cleaning and organizing (making the home environment healthy, functional, and inviting) is a major component of keeping a home. How does a mess serve our husbands and children, or lend itself to hospitality (which we are required to extend)? It’s true God sees our heart, but His word is dishonored if we do not “keep” our homes!
Sarah Mae says
Oh friend, I agree, we are to keep our homes. I’m asking that we all keep our hearts first…then let the overflow create the clean…the hospitality…the warmth.
Wow! I’m sorry for those hurtful reviews!
No, “cleanliness is NOT next to godliness,” but I never once felt like you were saying that in your book!!
I 100% agree that is can be a HEART problem (or a reaction of chaos circumstances in a person’s heart).
For me, it is both. A very hurtful and traumatic circumstance deeply affected me two years ago (I choose not to write about it at this time because it involves other people–but perhaps one day), and I can trace back my downfall in managing my home to back then.
Thank you for letting the Holy Spirit use you to convict me and so many other women about this!
In fact, reading this post today has convicted me again because I did 31 Days in June…and my house is pretty chaotic again! I am re-doing it in September (maybe I should have chosen August?!).
I know you probably don’t have time to read this, but I do want to give you a peek inside an encouraging review–one where I actually mentioned how cleaning was a heart issue for me: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/06/31-days-to-clean-update-dropping-ball.html
I just thought I would offer up a friendly response to this reviewer. Super clean, organization can also be a heart problem. Sarah Mae, I love your book and your.blog, and I think the key is the HEART as you said. If we are cleaning out of a heart of control and perdectionism, that is not being a biblical keeper of the home either. This is why continuing to abide in the Lord is the only answer to where you’re heart is and the only remedy.
Bless you sister!!
Well said. I think we can often overlook–even praise and affirm–the more “acceptable” forms of sin and control-seeking in our lives–actions and idols that create outer order but don’t necessarily stem from a heart of faith. I think many of us, certainly starting with me, need to find my way to the middle of both extremes.
I wanted to thank you for this blog. It came at a time when I really needed to hear it, but also at a time I am open to hear it. For me it’s a heart issue, a bit of laziness coupled with rebellion when it comes to cleaning and maintaining my domain. Thank you so much for being God’s instrument to get through to me about this.
Twitted by incourage says
[…] This post was Twitted by incourage […]
Is your book on kindle? I’ll go check!
Sarah Mae says
Stephanie – yep: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004W3UK4M/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=02BXBPKR9BYZ54J527SJ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846
Thank you for posting this, Sarah Mae! I agree with Cassie – there can be heart issues on both sides. Homekeeping is important and is a ministry to our families, but having a spotless home can become an idol in our lives if we let it. Our families need to see that we give our best, but that grace is more important than perfection. As with a lot of things in life, it’s a delicate balance. That’s why my blog is named Grace for My Mess. :).
Sorry that you received a negative review, but just look at the healthy discussion that has come from it! Beauty for ashes.
Sarah Mae~ After reading your Blog, 31 Days to Clean and beginning reading your Core Lies book, the Lord opened my eyes to some things in my own life that have been holding me back. Most of the time, I am tired…I have a lot on my plate(living with rheum. arthritis and 3 small children)…and I have found that when I would get truly motivated to clean, and work really hard expending most of my energy doing it just to turn around and see my children mess things up, there was an intense anger that would rise up in me. That right there was sin creeping its way out of my heart. Cleaning would make me angry if certain areas didn’t stay cleaned…and normally I wouldn’t classify myself as an angry person. I came to the point where I just didn’t want to be angry, so I would not clean…almost as if to numb myself to that area of my life so I didn’t feel that way. After beginning Core Lies, I realize I have to deal with that root issue of anger first, if I’m ever going to be free from it! So, while poor housekeeping doesn’t ALWAYS correlate to Sin, there are many times that Sin in our lives can affect behavior and the way we keep our home. I just want you to know how much it has meant to me to find your writings, to have the Lord speak to me through you and to know that I am not alone! Thank You for being obedient!!
I really want your book, but I cannot figure out where to put the code on kindle. I looked all through their help section, and figured I would ask here.
Sarah Mae, I really want your book, but I cannot figure out where to put the code on kindle. I looked all through their help section, and figured I would ask here.
Totally agree with you girl in your response to the negative comment… root issues are what we always have to look at when we are inspecting our life choices… with God’s help He will reveal what the roots are and when they are self-destructive.
Chin up-you’re doing an amazing work for Him! Love your writings! 🙂
Hannah Stone says
Thank you, Sarah Mae, for this post and your gental poke to me this morning, reminding me to let it all be out of love. Have a wonderful day!
Sarah Mae says
Lizz, the discount is for the PDF only – sorry for the confusion!
I got done reading that review as well as the other negative ones. I’m always a bit perplexed as to why people want to buy a Christian book and not expect to read it from a Christian’s perspective??!!
Anyhow, I agree with you! Our hearts govern our behavior and I know, at least for me, that pride is sometimes at the root of not wanting to clean those toilets or mop that floor.
Pride says, There is something “better” I could be doing with my time that seems more spiritual. What I find though is when I humble myself before God and His Ways, (servanthood) He often speaks to me the clearest and gives me insights into His Word and Will as I am in the midst of cleaning, serving and honoring Him.
The greatest insights often come at the expense of hard work!
Chelsea F. says
I agree with Michelle! It baffles me as to why people buy CHRISTIAN books and then read them expecting it to NOT have biblical references! I haven’t finished your book yet. I’m going day by day…but I already love the fact that you have connecting the heart with the home, especially for those of us who identify as ‘home-makers’. Thanks Sarah Mae!
Wow, I bet that took you aback for a minute.
I totally agree with your post. Both spectrum have been true of me. , , . Sometimes I don’t clean because I’m tired, and other times I just don’t want to for various reasons—one may be that I’m feeling as if my family is taken me for granted.
In whatever mood I find myself in, I’ve learned … and am learning to take those feelings to God and just pull myself up by my bootstrap and do the next thing.
I find once I began to do, regardless of the mood or my “why” God strengthens me to get done that which needs to be done.
Appreciate you much 🙂
Melanie D says
This post came at a perfect time for me, so thank you for that. I’ve been struggling lately to keep up with housework and promptly purchased your ebook. I love a challenge! I have a lot to learn about why I struggle so much and I’m glad that you posted this here because I really think it will help me.
I used to have a pastor who fairly often would say something to the effect that the cleanliness/order of your home reflects on your spiritual life. That really bugged me! On one hand, I do agree with you, that there can be sin issues that affect how well we are keeping your home, but on the other hand, life happens, messes happen, especially with children in the home. However, I am not going to make myself crazy trying to keep my home spotless because I am worried about how it reflects my spiritual life! I do not need that kind of guilt! My walk with God can be wonderful and very close, but my house may be a mess. Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean house and feel more at peace when things are organized, but I am not going to miss out on the important things to get it that way.
Sherri Woodbridge says
wonderful post – wonderful attitude – wonderful response. I haven’t read your book and have wanted to. Now, more than ever! Keep it up!
Sarah Mae says
Thank you Sherri! 🙂
Sweet Sarah, Your words were well said and with much grace. For me, picking up after two toddler boys is so hard and frustrating. My flesh gets in the way quite often. Then God will nudge me, saying as long as what I’m doing brings glory to Him then it’s all right. So the housework that I loathe at times in turn becomes an overflow of the heart. It can so often be an issue of the heart, and a truly a burning core lie that we can not even see. I agree. Thanks, sister!
Danielle B says
Hi Sarah! I’m new to your blog, but I have been reading RH for a while now.
I just wanted to encourage you to keep on doing a great job! the negative reviews will come. Let them! Don’t get upset or think it’s something you said , or should have said differently. The nay-sayers of this world can never be pleased. This person, and a few of the others who left the negative comments were more than likely convicted on what you wrote about in your book. So instead of saying, well Praise God, I learned something! They had to get an attitude and miss the blessing that God was trying to show them!
Keep up the great work! And pray for these people. Even Jesus said on the cross, forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing. Be blessed!
Now, my question is, where can I get a copy of the book? I don’t have a kindle.
Danielle B says
Oops, I saw at the end of the post where to get it! Thanks!
Can I just be sappy for a moment? « Laughing at the days to come… says
[…] Messiness and Morality – I struggle with this one because I believe that my messiness is a result of my laziness, thus making it a moral issue. Plus, my husband values a neat home, and in my attempts at being a godly wife, I should be striving for this… […]
I’ve been in constant physical pain for 12 years. I’ve had multiple surgeries and gruesomely painful treatments. My house is a mess. I feel guilty because I’m too exhausted to clean properly. Would you please tell me if I am committing a sin? Thank you.