The "Proverbs woman" provides the modern woman a lot of inspiration when it comes to cleaning and organizing.
It’s tough to get into cleaning mode every day. Scrubbing the same dishes, mopping the same floor, washing the same clothes … day after day after day … keeping us from all the other stuff we’d rather be doing. Recently, as I was folding the same t-shirt I had just folded two days ago, a Scripture verse sprang to mind: “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” As it happens, that verse comes from the book of Proverbs.
Amid my mental complaining, the verse helped me feel blessed to have my family’s laundry to do because if there was no laundry, then there would be no family. If you were to read all 22 verses of Proverbs 31’s description of the good helpmate, you might think, WOW, I could never be that woman with my schedule and my hectic life!
The ideal Proverbs woman is often described as “a blessing to others,” “full of virtue,” “joyful,” “productive” and “never wasting any of the time given to her on this earth.” Just reading all that makes me tired. But Proverbs 31 is not meant to be interpreted as a job description for women, instead it’s a source of wisdom containing lessons still relevant today. While the world, our culture, and the way we divide up household labor has changed, Proverbs 31 is still an inspiration for us today.
Consider these three tips for a more modern approach to bringing joy and productivity into your home…
1. Read, clean, pray
Read at least one verse from Proverbs 31:10-31 before getting started with your daily routine. Reflect on that verse throughout the day, and how you can adapt it to your modern life: Pray for your family, one by one, while mopping the floors, or cleaning the windows to defeat boredom, and to also remind you about the reason for it all.
Don’t think about time, your next task, or hurrying so you can get done. St. Benedict said, “Idleness is the enemy of the soul.” This doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to binge-watch Netflix once in a while, but making it habit makes you feel like a lazy, useless slob. Fight these feelings by keeping your mind clear and your focus on the task at hand.
My personal recommendation is Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” I’m not embarrassed to say that that verse makes me feel like a badass superwoman.
2. Let the music move you
You’ve got your Faves from the ’80s and your Hip-Hop Treadmill mix, now get to work on your Down n’ Dirty in the House playlist. Some songs I have on my playlist include “Beggin’ For Thread” by Banks, “Only a Mountain” by Jason Castro, “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, “We Found Love” by Rihanna, and “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande.
Peek into my window and you might even catch me singing into my broom handle like it’s a microphone. Playing some of my favorites from the ’80s and ’90s takes me back in time and gives me a feeling of complete happiness that not even the dishes can wash away. Let the beat and the words motivate you to conquer your chores all while getting exercise from shaking your hips!
3. Play detective
We often overlook our blessings — a family to clean for and an actual home to live in. We also overlook items that gather dust and grime week after week in our effort to focus on the obvious, the basics. Don’t forget about the ceiling fans, baseboards, switch plates, hair brushes, pillows, curtains, filters, lamp shades, shower curtain liners, remote controls, blinds, garbage cans. Trust me, you might think your family and friends won’t notice, but they will — those little touches can help your home feel warmer and more inviting to everyone who dwells and visits there.