Saturday, 13 April 2013

Choices {when life is about priorities, not principles...}

Do you ever find that you do things, just because other people give you the impression that you should?   Or, that you are not meeting certain standards if you don't do something?

Are there things that you do, that others don't?

Are there things you DON'T do that other people do?

Do you ever feel that you just don't cut the mustard, because you don't do these things?   That you are somehow inferior because others do things and you don't?

I was thinking about this today.  It started off with something that made me smile.  Recently, I was chatting with a group of friends about what we do and don't iron.  Now, I have felt, in the past, that if I don't choose to iron X, Y or Z that I am lazy or a sub-standard housewife.  Gracious, if you don't iron your bed linen, well you must be less than perfect.  Well, so I was made to feel. Now, that may have been me misunderstanding, I hasten to add, but it's how I felt.  But, when I was talking to this group of ladies, I felt much relieved.  They are all sorts of ladies - from one or two children, up to twelve children.  Some of them ironed a  lot - some of them actually LIKE ironing (shock, horror....).  Some of them ironed a little.  Some of them ironed not AT ALL. There was so much variety amongst the ladies, it was quite refreshing.  All of them gave a reason for what and why they ironed certain items.  All valid reasons.  One pointed out that ironing tea towels was a good idea, especially if your neck hurt - it gives it gentle movement.

Iron TEA TOWELS?  (for Americans, they are the towels you use to dry dishes....carry on reading now that you understand....)   Who does that?  Well, I know my Mum always did. She gave good reason for it, they fit most neatly into the drawer. But, with my mountain of other jobs to do, I figured it was far from essential.

THAT'S the key.  That's issue that is crucial here.  What we prioritise in life.  We all have completely different lives.  Different sets of circumstances.  Think just about the ironing for a moment.

Some women have husbands who do physical work and wear very few formal clothes - they may iron little to nothing.  Some women have husbands or sons that need formal clothing daily and need to iron a lot.  Some people maybe feel they must iron the bed linen.  Maybe some people have no drier and they need to iron more because it dries to a crisp on a sunny washing line.

Me?  I iron all of Robert's shirts.  I couldn't possibly have him standing up on the Lord's Day with a crumpled shirt.  I love him, and I want to care for him and help him look presentable. Likewise, all of our clothes we wear to Church get ironed.  Boys trousers and shirts, girls dresses. I iron my cotton blouses and shirts, as they would look awful otherwise.  And, I iron Robert's cotton hankies.  "Cotton hankies?" you ask.  Yes.  Those.  Apparently not all men have such things, but that was an entirely different subject.  I don't iron anything else, especially because after most things come out the drier they only need a flap and a fold and they look perfectly presentable.  I simply do NOT have the time to iron everything, which is a bigger issue.  So, in my life, I decide how I should spend my time, and ironing all day is not my choice.

Many of the choices we make in life have nothing to do with PRINCIPLES.    Principles are "A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning."

So, they are truths and standards that others can conform to.  So, being a housewife, you could say it's a principle that you should look after your home.  It's a general principle. The standard that you need to meet in that domain, however, is a personal choice.  What works for YOUR particular home and circumstances, you can not possibly enforce upon someone else, and make them feel bad for not meeting YOUR standard.

This is simply because we make our individual choices based upon priorities.  Is it more important to get all your ironing done - every single thing you wash? - or that you spend time with your children?  Is it more important to clean the windows twice a week, or only when you notice (aherm).   Is it more important to dust daily, or only once a week because you are busy playing with your children and it gets forgotten.

You may be reading these and thinking about a completely different time frame for each thing.  Why?  Because YOU have your own circumstances and priorities.  And, THAT'S OK!!!

As with all things, we certainly need to make sure that we are a good testimony as Christians, and that our house is not a complete filthy pit, and that we do care about our home.

However, we must be careful to choose what is important in life.  It can become so easy to spend all our days worrying about a spotless house, and neglect to spend quality time with those we love.  It can become easy to judge others based on our own standards and principles and have a critical heart by judging them based on things that are not important eternally.

"Is there a chapter and verse for that?"  Those are words I often ask people who try to enforce THEIR choices on me. Ultimately, if there is no Biblical command for something, then it IS just a personal choice.  It's up to us to be wise, in the situation that God has place us in, and make our own choices accordingly.  I always ask myself, "would I be dishonouring the Lord to do this, or not do the other?"  If the answer is "yes", then I base my choice upon that answer.  If the answer is "no", then I make my choice accordingly.

It's OK if you don't iron everything.  It's OK if you don't shower twice a day.  It's OK if you don't think dusting is important.  It's OK if you don't always remember to mark your children's Maths.  It's OK if your children don't learn to play sports.

Life is about priorities, not the principles that someone else tries to make you conform to.

So, how does that bring us back to tea towels?

I ironed mine today.  I got the rest of the ironing done, I had a few minutes spare, and I quickly ironed my tea towels.  Do you know what?  My Mum was right.  They look so much better, and they fit in my drawer better?

Am I going to do them every week?

Possibly not.

Am I going to tell you that you need to iron yours?


"whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
I Corinthians 10:31

1 comment :

  1. Aren't they SO pretty now that they're ironed? ;)

    Yes, I'm one of these ironing-lovers. If I had all the time in the world, I would iron everything I wash ... but - yep, you guessed it - I *don't* have all the time in the world, so my ironing gets limited to the essentials (except when I treat myself!). When you homeschool, especially, time is in such short supply, and so I must bite the bullet, give myself a good talking to, and convince myself that the tea towels with dry the dishes just the same even though they've not been ironed.

    And then I look up the number of my therapist...