If it falls to your lot to prepare the meals, make careful calculations, and give yourself all the time necessary to prepare the food, and set it on the table in good order, and on exact time. To have the meal ready five minutes earlier than the time you have set is more commendable than to have it five minutes later. But if you are under the control of slow, dilatory movements, if your habits are of a lazy order, you will make a long job out of a short one; and it is the duty of those who are slow, to reform, and to become more expeditious. If they will, they can overcome their fussy, lingering habits. In washing dishes, they may be careful, and at the same time do quick work. Exercise the will to this end, and the hands will move with dispatch.
When I have been looking for a girl to do my housework, and a certain person was spoken of, those who had her in their employ have said, “O, she will not suit you, because she is so very slow. She will try your patience, and you will have to pay out more money for having your work done in a sluggish manner, than you would have to pay for having it done as it should be.” Another would say, “O, she has no method. You will need someone to be brains for her; for she has not cultivated herself in lines of caretaking. Someone will always have to direct her what to do. She has no breadth of mind, no capacity to comprehend what is involved in being an acceptable housekeeper.” Of one girl whom I employed, I was told that she would sit down in the midst of her unfinished work, when the dishes were not washed, or the beds made, and forget her duties while she read a book or a newspaper. In this way she would spend hours of time that should have been employed in doing the work for which she was paid. The house would be left in confusion for hours after it should have been in perfect order, because of this untidy habit. Of another whom I thought of employing. I learned that she was disrespectful to those who employed her, unless she took a fancy to them. Those whom she fancied, she would serve to her utmost, and the friends whom she chose, who flattered and approved her course, received her affection and favors. But I reasoned, “If she is a Christian, she will certainly take counsel and advice.” A sorrowful expression came over the face of the person to whom I was speaking, as she said, “I am afraid you will be disappointed. If you seek to show her where she is erring, she will insist that she is doing the best she knows how, and instead of correcting her faults, will take on the air of one who is much injured. She does not respect authority and will keep up rebellion in her mind, which, if not expressed in words, will be plainly revealed in her countenance. She will not keep her opinions to herself but will freely tell others what she thinks about those who seek to correct her errors.”
Another defect that has caused me much uneasiness and trouble is the habit some girls have of letting their tongues run, wasting precious time in talking of worthless things. While girls give their attention to talk, their work drags behind. These matters have been looked upon as little things, unworthy of notice. Many are deceived as to what constitutes a little thing. Little things have an important relation to the great whole. God does not disregard the infinitely little things that have to do with the welfare of the human family. He is the owner of the whole man. Soul, body, and spirit are His. God gave His only begotten Son for the body as well as the soul, and our entire life belongs to God, to be consecrated to His service, that through the exercise of every faculty He has given, we may glorify Him.
Let no one say, “I cannot overcome my defects of character;” for if this is your decision, then you cannot have eternal life. The impossibility is all in your will. If you will not, that constitutes the cannot. The real difficulty is the corruption of an unsanctified heart and an unwillingness to submit to the will of God. When there is a determined purpose born in your heart to overcome, you will have a disposition to overcome and will cultivate those traits of character that are desirable and will engage in the conflict with steady, persevering effort. You will exercise a ceaseless watchfulness over your defects of character; and will cultivate right practices in little things. The difficulty of overcoming will be lessened in proportion as the heart is sanctified by the grace of Christ. Earnest, persevering effort will place you on the vantage ground of victory; for he who strives to overcome in and through the grace of Christ will have divine enlightenment, and will understand how great truths can be brought into little things, and religion can be carried into the little as well as into the large concerns of life.
The commandments of God are exceeding broad, and the Lord is not pleased to have His children disorderly, to have their lives marred by defects, and their religious experience crippled, their growth in grace dwarfed, because they persist in cherishing hereditary and cultivated deficiencies in wrong habits that will be imitated by others, and thus be perpetuated. If the grace of Christ cannot remedy these defects, what, then, constitutes transformation of character? “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; . . . who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, without having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (; ). — .