I think we all come to that point at one time or another in our “stay-at-home” journey.
When we first decided to shift our focus, to turn our hearts towards home, we were enthusiastic and vibrant, purposeful and driven, meticulous and focused, bright eyed and bushy tailed. We had a grasp of the bigger picture: a vision for the home as a hub of ministry and discipleship, as a training ground for life ahead, as a place where we can bless those nearest and dearest to us, an, in turn, turn that blessing outward, towards others in our church and in our community.
But maybe you’re a little like me. You always start a new journey with delight and determination. But then something derails your passion.
The home is as hub for ministry and discipleship. Perhaps you haven’t found your niche yet. Ministry in and from the home is something that you’re still getting used to. Turning your focus outward instead of inward is a difficult journey in the individualistic society we live in. You’re used to focusing on your own plans, and now you’re working as part of a team. It’s difficult to adjust.
The home is a training ground for life ahead, which entails much humility as we are consistently taught, trained, guided, and redirected by Mom and Dad, as we’re refined by the Lord, as our besetting sins are cast in the spotlight of every day life, and cannot be hidden from those who know us best; we are sanctified in a way we never were before. And that’s difficult.
It’s a place where we can bless those nearest and dearest to us. Even when we’re tired of them –when they snap at us –when it’s easier to be “slow in anger” to people outside of our immediate family –when we realize that it was more fun to hang out with our friends because they didn’t know us quite as well as our siblings do, and couldn’t see our glaring sin natures as well –when we look at other homes as outsiders and paint the inner-workings as the perfect, blissful family unit –when we forget that, even if there was such a thing as the perfect family, as soon as we entered it, our sin natures would derail the perfection.
We can also be a blessing to those in our church and community. Hospitality. Service. Cooking. Cleaning. It may seem romantic when debutants on the 1950s TV shows don June Cleaver aprons and get to hacking, but perhaps cooking just isn’t your forte, cleanliness and organizational skills don’t come easily to you, and social climates make you antsy and nervous. You have just realized that, no, just because you decide to embrace the high calling of a keeper at home does not mean that your heart thrills at the sight of dirty dishes.
What about all of the questions? Are you tired of people asking again and again what in the world you’re doing with your life? Are you sick of the accusations, the undue sympathy, and the constant barrage of questions coming your way?
If you’re just coming home, and you still have that rosy, gung-ho perspective -you’ve never once looked up and said, “This is harder than it looks!” -then God bless you. My intent is not to discourage you. If, however, you’re a “home girl” who, like me, sometimes needs a bit of encouragement, here is something the Lord has put on my heart lately:
Turn your focus outward.
Because when we do anything with “me” as the primary focus, we’re bound to become frustrated. When we realize that we didn’t come home because it was easy or always fun, but because it’s a place that is going to challenge and shape us into the women we’ve been called to be, we realize that sometimes, contentment is a battle! But when we fight it with dogged humility, when we fight with Christ as our focus, when we battle with him as our strength, we -or rather, he -will be victorious.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m losing the battle, usually, my focus is on myself, not on the Lord.
What makes living at home worthwhile again, you may be asking yourself? All of the opportunities listed above. And those are also the things that make living at home sometimes difficult. But are we here because it’s easy?
I hope not. I hope you’re living at home for the same reasons I am: because you believe that that’s the position where you can glorify the King of Kings; because that’s where you believe he’s called you to be; because you are fully invested in that calling. Because Proverbs 31:10-31 is the kind of woman you want to be, and the kind of blessing you want to be to those around you. If that’s the case, realize something: count the number of times in Proverbs that that woman is thinking about herself more than she is about others. True joy and productivity doesn’t come from being self-oriented. It comes from being Christ-focused and, as an extension of that, others-focused.
This doesn’t mean you’ll never feel discouraged or discontent. But what it does mean is that, when you feel those things, you have a point of reference for doing away with those feelings: your focus isn’t on the ease of a passing moment, but on the reflection of your actions in eternity. Whatever our circumstances, when the King is our focus —
Well, that’s really the center of our joy, isn’t it?
Be joyful. Not because I said so, but because you know Him. Not because you want to look good to the outside world, but because you’re living for him. Not because it’s what you’re “supposed to do,” but because He gives you all the reason you need to live life abundantly. Not for any reason other than because it’s what He’s called you to.
And remember, as you strive to live joyfully at home, the key to serving in that sphere: Philippians 2:1-11. Live it.