Flylady’s Zone Missions and John Piper

I have an announcement: I completed all of the Living Room Zone Missions this week. If you have been reading my blog at all, you will remember that it has been challenging for me to get all of the Zone Missions done each week. I had come to the conclusion earlier that I was more apt to work on the Zone Missions when Joey was home in case a small person needed something. That way, he could deal with the need so I wouldn’t be interrupted a million times and turn a 15-minute task into a 45-minute or hour-long task that monopolized my day. This theory proved true in the Living Room Zone Missions this week and I just planned to complete the Zone Missions when he was around.

However, something interesting happened on Friday when I had done all of the Missions. At first, I had a sense of accomplishment and relief that I had actually completed ALL of the Missions. I was really seeing the advantage of making an effort to complete the Missions in each Zone each week because, like doing two loads of laundry every day instead of 14 loads on one day, the tasks I had just performed would not be so daunting next time around. The end table would not be as cluttered with old newspapers in 5 weeks as it was after 5 months, for example. I could see how it would end up saving me a lot of time in the long run if I could keep up with the Missions.

But then, after my initial relief and inspiration, I found myself feeling kind of irritated and annoyed. I didn’t want anyone to mess up the work I had spent time doing this week. Okay, all of you who have seven children living in your house 24/7, as well as five more adult children dropping in and out at will, can understand how absolutely futile it is to want an area of your house to reflect, for any length of time AT ALL, the work you have done on it. This was my latent perfectionism rearing its ugly head again. I was having a difficult time letting go of the desire for my work in the Zone to be, well, revered by all.

Now, I want to say that it wasn’t like anyone was blatantly trashing the living room. It was just that I was wanting everyone to be constantly telling themselves, Look at all of the work that Mom did in here this week! Let’s make sure that there’s not a single stray sock anywhere. I was losing my perspective on why I was cleaning the house at all. Aren’t I doing the Zone Missions so we can all live in this house comfortably?

This is where John Piper comes in. Well, he didn’t actually come into my very clean living room. He came into my computer area via the Presidential Prayer Team newsletter. He had written an opinion piece for them entitled, “Let Christians Vote as Though They Were Not Voting.” He starts off with an excerpt from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

Then, he compares each of these issues that Paul has mentioned with voting. It’s a very interesting article. I hope you take time to read it. But, you ask, what does this have to do with Flylady’s Zone Missions?

Well, John Piper wrote this about dealing with the world:

“Let those who deal with the world [do so] as though they had no dealings with it.”

Christians should deal with the world. This world is here to be used. Dealt with. There is no avoiding it. Not to deal with it is to deal with it that way. Not to weed your garden is to cultivate a weedy garden. Not to wear a coat in Minnesota is to freeze—to deal with the cold that way. Not to stop when the light is red is to spend your money on fines or hospital bills and deal with the world that way. We must deal with the world.

But as we deal with it, we don’t give it our fullest attention. We don’t ascribe to the world the greatest status. There are unseen things that are vastly more precious than the world. We use the world without offering it our whole soul. We may work with all our might when dealing with the world, but the full passions of our heart will be attached to something higher—Godward purposes. We use the world, but not as an end in itself. It is a means. We deal with the world in order to make much of Christ.

Aha! This was what I needed to hear. I need to deal with the world. Not dealing with it, not cleaning the house, is dealing with it that way. Not to clean the house is to end up in CHAOS. I must deal with the house. But as I deal with it, I don’t need to give it my fullest attention. I don’t need to ascribe to a perfectly clean living room the greatest status. There are unseen things vastly more precious than a clean living room. The full passions of my heart should not be attached to the maintenance of my clean living room, but something higher. I deal with my Zone Missions to make much of Christ.

None of this is news to me. I give an intellectual assent to these very concepts constantly in my life. It is the practice of what I know that is a continual challenge. And I am grateful that Flylady and John Piper keep me thinking and working toward melding what I know with what I do.

Let me clean as though I were not cleaning!


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One Response to “Flylady’s Zone Missions and John Piper”

  1. Amelia Says:

    Woo-woo! Great post, Mommy dear. Being a little perfectionist, I too struggle with things getting “un-done.” This is a good reminder for me!

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