Guest post from Mystie Winckler
Many of us are task-driven. We want to see things done, accomplished, finished. This is what the world tells us is productivity.
However, our life at home is not the kind of world where things are often finished. You might check off “laundry” for the day, but before the day is out, there will be more dirty laundry in the hamper. You might check off “make dinner,” but dinner will have to be made again tomorrow. Not only that, but because you made dinner today, there are now dishes in the sink to wash.
This can be supremely frustrating. It can be discouraging, disheartening, even depressing. But that is because we have the wrong framework for productivity and accomplishment.
Our aim in home cooking and home keeping is not to check off as many boxes in a day as we can; there are no deals to close or contracts signed or paychecks earned. These areas of our lives are means, not ends in themselves. Our aim is to build people and to build people up.
The goal of home cooking is not, actually, to put a meal on the table. It is to feed people.
The cooking, the eating, the cleaning up afterward, are part of the cycle of feeding people. It isn’t a task worthwhile in itself. A beautifully set table with a piping hot meal is picturesque, but pointless if there are not people there to enjoy it, to use it, to make a mess because of it, and to need it again only a few hours later. Nourishing people with food and with fellowship is the point of the effort, the meal and the dishes are tools for that effort. Tools must be maintained, but not polished and sharpened merely to hang on a wall. Effective tools are used and reused, dirtied and cleaned, over and over.
The goal of home keeping is not to have a clean house. What a frustrating goal that is as a homeschooling family! We use our home all day every day for everything. There are lots of people doing lots of things in our homes. That is good. That is right. Our homes, also, are tools to be made use of, not display pieces to handle gingerly. Tools get dirty, tools have to be taken care of, but the point is to keep them useful and functioning. A shovel left out in the grass all winter will rust and rot and not be much use in the spring; a home left untended will run to weeds. But a home cared for will not be immaculate. The aim in cleaning house is not to have a clean house, but to prepare the house for further functioning.
When you find yourself looking around and sighing and cringing and feeling deflated and defeated (as I do almost every day), it is a sign that your hope is set on the wrong end. Do not confuse your tools with your projects. Your home is a tool of investment into your family.
Let it be used.
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