Organize Your Attitude #11
Too often, when we start making goals around keeping house better or getting more done, our focus shifts too far and we start seeing these means as ends – which means anything that gets in the way of our ends is a problem to be overcome or a frustration to bear resentfully.
And too often, that means grumbling against our husbands or shouting at our kids. We could reach our goals, we think to ourselves, if it weren’t for these other people getting in the way.
It’s an insidious bitterness and falsehood that we must be diligent to root out whenever it rears its ugly head.
That’s what it is to organize our attitude.
Keeping house or completing other projects are always means, never ends in themselves. They are ways that we serve others and tools we use to bless others. When we become cranky and angry as we work, it is not a sign that we need to repent of our work, but that we need to repent of our attitude.
And God not only forgives, but grants us a new mind, a changed heart, and an opportunity to forgive and serve in the same way He has forgiven and served.
Keep in fellowship with your husband.
Does it feel like you are your husband’s maid? Do you sigh and mutter when you find socks or wrappers or belongings lying right where you just tidied?
You take it personally, but you know he is not aware of it.
Will you listen to your feelings or will you respond with love, kindness, and patience? These are fruit of the Spirit you don’t have to gin up on your own. Just ask for them and practice them.
You have two options:
- Talk to him about how you see the house. Go into a room or setting that’s driving you crazy and ask him how he sees it. Try to see it through his eyes. Without anger or resentment, explain how you see it. Perhaps even hearing it out loud will cause you to see your own unreasonableness. I know it has for me. Talk about what bugs him, what bugs you, and create a plan together to help each other out.
- Let love cover it. Love covers a multitude of sins. If it can do that, it can also cover a multitude of annoyances – that is, your own sins as well as his. Keep no record of wrongs, much less a record of petty irritations.
Organize your attitude by talking it out or by letting it go. Don’t let it fester.
Keep in fellowship with your kids.
It’s easy to feel like the kids are little walking undo buttons.
But the state of the house is not so important as the state of the children’s minds and hearts. How we respond to them, how we talk to them, how we treat them builds their identity in their own minds. Are we building up or tearing down?
Let us commit to modeling joyful work for them.
Let us commit to ranking them above our own goals or chores.
Let us commit to asking their forgiveness whenever we speak harshly or unkindly to them. They need that model of repentance as much as they need kindness, so as long as you set it right, a momentary lapse be for their good as well.
Keep in fellowship with God.
Before we can be right with our husbands or our children, we must be right with God. We must be working not for our own good, for our own reputation, or for our own self-importance, but because it is the work He has placed before us. We do it for His glory alone. We offer it to Him to be used at His discretion – and that might be for the children to undo or for a flood to overwhelm or for unexpected visitors to enjoy. We don’t know, but we can be ready to respond in gratitude, knowing He has His purposes and they are better than our own.
Jesus told us the requirement for fruitfulness:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. – John 15:4
And how do we abide in Him? Oh, He told us that, too:
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. – John 8:31
A clean and organized house is of secondary importance to our primary relationships.
The home atmosphere is one tool for cultivating relationship, it is not a priority over them and should not be pitted against them.