Jesus Doesn’t Care About the State of Your Sink

Hey you, exhausted lady, come close. I want to do that thing my children do to me when they need to make sure I have heard something. I want to press both of my hands firmly on your cheeks and stare into your eyes while I say this slowly:

Jesus. Does. Not. Care. About. The. Dishes. In. Your. Sink.

Or your laundry for that matter. I don’t think Jesus gives one crap about the last time you vacuumed. I just don’t. Maybe YOU do. Maybe you function better with a clean house and the rug vacuumed and if that is the case, more power to you. If a clean house makes you a happy lady, then you.do. you. But maybe don’t put that on me.

Maybe I am picking a fight where I shouldn’t. Maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill, or maybe, maybe I am just so exhausted from the shame I am constantly fighting over the state of my house and the state of my heart.

I could build an extra storage shed out of the various christian materials marketed toward women about how to grow closer to Jesus, and also clean their house all with the same process. Then I would have somewhere to put all the stuff I have not had time to de-clutter. I am tired of being told that my refusal to de-clutter is actually a refusal to trust God with my stuff. I simply do not have time to de-clutter, and read a book about it, and maintain my prayer life and my sanity. It is all I can do to get the sanity all the time and the prayer life most.

I have a big problem with the bazillions of books that are about my house, because it isn’t really about my house. It is about the extra chains we attach to the gospel. It is about the shame I feel when I don’t measure up. It is about unrealistic expectations that the church has bought into and sold to its people.

Over half of American households are households where all the adults work. But still, women do most of the house work, the grocery shopping, the bathing of the children, the homework folder wrangling. Women have, on average, 30 minutes less of leisure time per day. Y’all the statistics are the same for the women in our pews.

So, when you suggest, even implicitly by the sheer number of books you sell about it, or the articles you publish, that my lack of home making is a heart issue, pardon me as I respond: NOT TODAY SATAN!

Why is this hot-mess-gender-segregated-chore-garbage only shaming marketed toward women?

Where are the book marketed to my husband about the relationship to his spiritual life and the “man chores”? Where are the books called:

  • Is your lawn and your heart overgrown?
  • Pruning your life and your bushes. Building a shed and a Godly life.
  • Shiny like Chrome: At the Car Wash with the Holy Spirit.
  •  In God’s Garage, How keeping your car running clean keeps your mind running clean

Where are those books? Why don’t they exist?

Because we don’t have the same expectations for men as we do for women. This jacked up system was set by the world. And instead of the church offering me freedom from it, it has just doubled on the shame. I should feel bad not just because I can’t find my couch under the laundry pile and the toothpaste on the sink has hardened into sparkly blue cement, but also because this shows a lack of commitment to Jesus.

This isn’t okay. Every single day since I wrote this post, someone has Googled “working mom devotional” every day. Why? Because those don’t really exist. Even though over half of the women in the church work, even though over half of American moms work, still we feel like we are alone, like we aren’t good enough, like we are falling short.

Yes. My house is a disaster and I haven’t folded laundry in two months. Yes, we are having pizza for dinner and I am not even going to pick up the clothes my kids are likely to discard right on the living room floor. Yes, it was a small miracle Priscilla found matching shoes and everyone left the house wearing clean underwear today.

No. That does not mean I need to get right with Jesus. It means I am in the same boat as most of America. It means nothing about my relationship with Jesus. The dirty dishes in the sink? They mean I am probably going to get ants. THAT is why I should wash them, not because Jesus cares.

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11 thoughts on “Jesus Doesn’t Care About the State of Your Sink

  1. Amen, and amen. I HATE how faith is used to tighten chains, not break them. Same-same with women who don’t want kids or who are infertile, and then sold a bunch of crap about how motherhood leads you to Jesus. Thanks for kicking this particular foolery to the curb.

  2. Abby, I’m with you here. To equate a clean house or whatever else they come up with to being right with Jesus is just plain wrong. I love your titles to the nowhere to be found “man” books. I think if we would stop letting ourselves be shamed about not getting stuff done and just try to enjoy life doing what we can, we’d be much better off. Thank you for writing this post, Abby dear!

  3. Love this. I can’t imagine anyone being turned away from the pearly gates by the words “You have to go back–the towels are still in the dryer.”

  4. Ha! Yes!

    I sometimes put a spiritual spin on housekeeping for my own sake (because if cooking yet another meal or cleaning yet another dish is an act of love for my husband or myself then it’s much more attractive to me than DO THE DISHES AND LAUNDRY WASHING EVER END).

    But also, I don’t have children and so there’s a bit more time in my days.

    And also, it is one hundred percent okay that I made boxed mac and cheese and hot dogs for my husband three times this week (and just ate yogurt and cereal myself) so I could have the time to finish my KTIP binder (this massive but helpful internship program you do in your first three years teaching in the state of Kentucky) and turn in grades.

    Because that’s how life actually is. It’s homemade bread one weekend and mac and cheese and hot dogs the next and stress cleaning the next.

    In other words, AMEN to this post.

  5. I don’t think your problem is spiritual – I think it is psychological and emotional my dear. Reading your posts of the past few weeks shows that you are running on empty and, I am afraid, something will have to give. You work out what that is. Listen to your heart.
    I agree, women carry a much bigger burden than men but then, they won’t be able to take it in any event. They are not made of the same stuff.

  6. Oh, this is great! “NOT TODAY SATAN!” Yes!!!

    I have blogged about this topic as well, and I have a book coming out in August titled “Don’t Hide Your Light Under a Laundry Basket.” Because yeah. It doesn’t matter how pretty the chains we wrap ourselves up in are; they’re still chains.

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