Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just Do It - Lessons I've Learned Doing Dishes

Dirty Dishes
Photo: by Svadilfari @ Flickr
I almost started a major war this week...over the dishes. Now I really hate the dishes. And my husband really hates the dishes. So needless to say, these greasy little monsters can be a big source of trouble in our home. These dishes are becoming a powerful example of what being a good help meet really means. I'm not sure I like that, but as with so many of God's lessons for us, the real problem is just that the divine truth of it all chafes against my petty, sinful, human nature.

I made major progress in the war of the dirty dishes this week when I realized the best and most graceful thing I could possibly do about this little point of contention was simply to wash them. This is typically my job and I try to just keep up with it so it doesn't get too bad, but every now and then they'll pile up. My husband will see my mounting anxiety as I glance into the kitchen, and like my prince he offers to do them. Only he doesn't always do them that very second, and I have a very bad tendency of starting an internal stopwatch from the moment that he says those words. From that point on I keep checking that stopwatch and like a boiling kettle, I slowly get angrier and angrier until I start screaming and boil over. Not a pretty sight.

For some reason, instead of taking his offer as the graceful and kind gesture that it is, I use it as an excuse to hassle him about not checking items off his to-do list as quickly as I might want him to. The other morning I woke up with that stopwatch still running from the night before. I grabbed a drink from the kitchen and as I was heading out I realized how incredibly petty and stupid of me it was to just leave the dishes there if they were bothering me so much. A little voice in my head asked "Is this really how you're blessing your family?" And then I knew. It took only a few minutes of climbing off my high horse to clear up the pile and dump a great load of simmering resentment off my heart.

We all have our own struggles, but if you're simmering about something you want someone else to do, instead of getting angrier and angrier that they're not acting the way you want...why not just do it yourself? Give them a little blessing, take the load off their shoulders, and move that kettle off of the flame. In the great dance of marriage, dishes really aren't worth a moment of anger or discontentment. Just do it.



  1. "Just do them!" How true!

    Someone asked me if I had any tips or tricks to making the dishes any easier. I've been thinking about this for a few weeks now and the only answer I can come up with is the same as yours - just do them!

    On the topic of silly arguments, one of the first disagreements my husband and I had (shortly after becoming husband and wife) was over lettuce. LETTUCE?! It was so silly, and we laughed about it (after), but ever since then, I truly consider first whether I'm picking a fight because I'm in sin, then second whether it's a "lettuce" fight - and then I stop myself in my tracks because I don't want to repeat that mistake again!

    1. Isn't it crazy the little things that can steal our peace? I like the term "lettuce fight." Definitely a poignant way to remember how insignificant some fights can be in the bigger picture!

  2. I too have had struggles over dishes. The Holy Spirit has taught me how to change my thinking over the dishes. I have had to learn to reject the pattern of thought the enemy has had me bound in for years. I have been learning to replace that wrong thinking with a pattern of gratefulness. And all at the kitchen sink. I used to stew over my husband or children not doing their 'jobs' and feel sorry for myself. I am learning to be grateful that I have a kitchen to cook in, and I didn't have to start the fire, or beat my clothes on a rock this morning. That I have a family to cook for, and that they are all well, and we are well fed. And that I live near a grocery store, and don't have to go hunt and kill my food to eat. And that I have dishes, and the ability to really clean them. And as I enjoy the warm sudsy water cleansing for my dishes, I also find cleansing for my broken and selfish spirit. And this gratefulness is spilling into every other area of my life. I don't think I will ever look forward to doing the dishes, but I don't dread it any more either.

    1. What a beautiful thought! I love the comparison of the sudsy dish water on the dishes to the cleansing of the spirit. And it's so true that as annoying as dishes are, it could certainly be a lot more difficult. We could be pumping water outside and hauling it in in buckets rather than having it come hot and clean straight from the faucet. Thank you so much for sharing!


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