Why do I bother?

The runners of my sliding glass doors are an area of housekeeping in which I had thrown in the towel. In dusty, arid, windy Colorado, it seems impossible to maintain any kind of cleanliness. It’s like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing, or brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. Those old adages are true, if not very original.

The bottom of my sliding glass door became so full of caked-in dirt, I became embarrassed when even my closest friends–who would never judge me based on a less-than-immaculate home–seated themselves at my table. Every so often, I tried to vacuum up excess dirt with that narrow attachment that gets into tight corners. It only eliminated the top layer of dirt. Mostly, I just pulled my curtains across it, shutting out light in order to hide the dirt.

It was bad, folks. Really, really bad. I was convinced that not even a nuclear bomb could dislodge that dirt. Some mischievous elf must have sneaked in and super-glued each and every grain of dust securely to the vinyl frame. I just knew it.

Then, along comes Pinterest, with its preponderance of housekeeping tips, tricks, hacks, and 50 simple ways to do ALL THE THINGS! Oddly, I have yet to find myself intimidated by anything I find on that site. I find it encouraging that so many other women are looking for ways to keep their house the way they have always wanted to. Inspiration abounds there for the likes of little old me.

Anyway, I found a tip for cleaning the dirt out of sliding glass door runners using baking soda and vinegar. Talk about a facepalm moment – I marveled that I hadn’t thought of it before, because I use those two products for nearly everything in my house already.

So, today, I found myself scrubbing my sliding glass door for the first time in ages.

As the baking soda and vinegar concoction bubbled up like a science fair volcano, I grinned stupidly, wielding my old toothbrush like a warrior waiting quietly in ambush. I wanted to let it fizz for a few minutes, and do as much of the work for me as it could. (You didn’t know housework was so exciting, did you?) Of course, it worked like a charm. One toothbrush, a small bucket of hot water, an old rag, a shop-vac, and several q-tips later, and it’s back to its original white! It’s not spotless, but it’s clean enough for me.

I then tackled the inside and outside panes with hot water, vinegar, and a neon-green squeegee, destroying several weeks’ worth of childish and doggy artwork with a relish I didn’t know I possessed. There are a few streaks, but I would rather have the evidence of my effort than windows opaque with dirt and doggy snot.

I sat back and admired my work, a triumphant smirk on my face.

Then, I nearly cried at the sight of my dog’s face peering at me through the glass. My smirk vanished at visions of newly clean windows being re-dirtied with a vengeance. “Why,” I asked myself forlornly, “oh, why do I bother? It’s never going to stay this way!” My shoulders drooped a bit.

Why do I bother doing these things, when I know it will deteriorate faster than I can even ask the question?

My budding canine artist, Molly.

My budding canine artist, Molly.

I have four children, a dog, and a cat, who all seem to think that this particular door exists for the sole purpose of creating abstract art. The dog’s nose alone is marvelous in its ability to create nearly three-dimensional pieces. Why, indeed, do I bother at all?

I shook such thoughts out of my mind as an old lesson came back to me in full force, and my smirk returned. I thanked the Lord for whatever time this door will remain clean. I know the shine won’t even last a day, but for however much time remains of its clean life, I am going to enjoy it.

I cannot help but feel that giving up some elbow grease to my sliding glass door was somehow a sacred act, because it was completed to the glory of God, who accepts even window-washing as holy worship. A sacrifice of praise, as it were.

Why do I bother?

I bother because I remembered that everything I do, whether in word, thought, or deed, can be done to God’s glory. Everything is sacred, or has the potential to be, depending on the attitude of my heart. For just a moment, at the culmination of that basic, dirty chore, I was standing on holy ground. It may sound silly to some, but my God met me, right there at my window today. He met me and (I hope) he smiled. If even this mundane task has that potential, then I want to meet him again, on whatever ground he lays out for me.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” ~Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

It was the Lord Christ’s window I washed today. That dirt was scrubbed and vacuumed up out of his vinyl door frame. It is all his.

It is his children I am loving, disciplining, and caring for. It is one of his children, Levi, I am married to. It is his carpets, his laundry, his beds, his dinners, his dishes, and his house I am keeping. None of it is mine. It all belongs to him, and him alone. Most importantly, though, is that all of it was given to me that I might steward it to his glory. That I might be refined in the fire and come out shining. That I might learn the depth of his love, see the weight of his glory, and be prepared for the day when I take up whatever task he has set aside for me in the New Jerusalem.

That, my friends, is a big deal.

This, and this alone, is why I bother. I am glad the Holy Spirit took the time to remind me. I had forgotten for a moment.

Why do you bother? What matters most to you? Did you know that even the smallest task you can take up has the potential to bring you a little closer to God your Father, and to make you a little more like his Son? Keep walking, friends, knowing you are loved more than you’ll ever know, and that God is glad for each faltering step you take toward him, and toward the holiness he has called us all to. He knows you are only dust. Offer up your sacrifice of praise in humility, and know that you are Enough, because it is he who began this good work in you, and it is he who will bring it to full fruition in his perfect time, to his amazing glory!

Grace & Peace,


16 thoughts on “Why do I bother?

  1. Boy, can I relate. That’s how I feel about my kitchen. It seems as soon as I make it sparkle someone walks across it with the “make it dirty” wand. My son even made me a Mothers Day card that joked about the clean kitchen that will never be. But I hold up my toothbrush and continue the battle knowing that one day, my sons, will have a family of their own. ( :

  2. Oh Tiff, Exactly this.
    I have changed my eating habits strictly for health over the past two years. It changed my body in significant ways. I have not lost an ounce for 7 months and get I keep the new and good habits. All the while I wonder, why bother? To know what is right and to do it keeps me going forward while snotty nose dogs dirty the glass.
    Thank you for this. I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs it!

  3. When I saw this post on my reader with the picture of your dog and the mention of sliding glass door tracks I thought maybe your dog was as weird as mine – Chaos keeps ours clean himself. Of course he always makes the glass dirty with his nose smudges but he diligently licks the gunk and dirt out of the track. It’s pretty gross to think about, but I’ll take the help!

  4. 1 St. Bernard + 1 pit bull = LOTS of Hair, and dirt and smudges etc. Thought I was the only one that was bothered by the door tracking….I just have to take the time to use qtips, rags etc, but mostly I ignore or briefly vacuum – thanks for the tip – I miss seeing your face!

    • I won’t mind some dirt – what’s a home without a little dirt, after all? It was just…really really bad. You are welcome over any ol’ time. 🙂

  5. No dogs, here, anymore, but had to teach the cats not to climb screens. That was difficult. As for clean doors, mine usually have some smudge to let us know if the door is closed or open, but once, for Thanksgiving dinner (which is our big family get-together) I had the front storm door so clean, one granddaughter just darted out the door. Not.
    It was closed and she bonked her forehead on the glass. So glad she did not break it.
    So, see? It can be a good thing to have the glass “imprinted” for safety’s sake? 🙂

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