If you missed the first post in the series, you can read it here.
Before we can get into any of the overwhelming number of ideas that are out there to make our homes better places, we have to set some personal ground rules for ourselves. If you’re anything like me, new ideas only work when I have made peace in my heart about what I’m doing and have firmly established a pure and positive motive to get it done.
Here are five tips that I continually go through in what I believe is a constant effort to maintain a happy heart. I’m convinced that a happy heart equals a happy home.
1. Stop comparing and be content. I can feel okay about how my house is looking and then I’ll come across a distraction. To name a few: a conversation with someone else about how she has to have things in order all of the time; a blog filled with pictures of neatly organized rooms, drawers, and closets; or a picture of the perfect craft room. I never even realized how much I wanted a craft room until I started seeing so many pictures of them.
If I’m motivated to change my home solely on the fact that I have to somehow measure up to other people’s standards thanks to my choice to dwell on the comparison, I’m not going to live in a joyful haven. You see, a haven is a refuge from the outside world. My attempts to have a house that is as good as others’ taint the atmosphere of my home. I’m not putting my family first: I’m putting my selfishness and insecurities at the forefront.
In the list of things that God commanded us to abstain from coveting in the ten commandments, I find it intriguing that the very first thing He mentions is this, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.” (Exodus 20:17a)
If that’s not a clear enough command, check out Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.”
Once I’ve worked through the sin of coveting in my life, it’s time to take action. I have this ugly tendency to spiral once I realize how messed up I am. Instead of spiraling and allowing myself, and subsequently my home, to sit dormant in a sad state, I have to move on to the next thing on my list.
2. Come up with a plan of action. Once I’ve put aside my coveting, I am now willing to admit that I need both help and inspiration. This is when I start observing what other women do to combat a problem area that I have in my home. I evaluate how that would work in my home with my personality and the personalities of my family and determine if I can adopt a modified version of the solution.
The Internet also offers thousands of resources within seconds. I love being able to look at other people’s ideas with a heart that is focused on bettering my family rather than condemning myself for not having it all together. When I have my heart tuned into this perspective, I can be inspired rather than defeated.
3. Set realistic goals. Once I’ve found a couple of ideas that I think might work, I write them out and establish a game plan of how to make it happen.
Don’t set yourself or the rest of your family up for failure. You’re getting ready to change habits, and it’s going to require concentration. Since you are involving other people in this change, perhaps it would be wise to implement small portions of the plan at a time. Expecting a complete overhaul of your cleaning routine while completely reorganizing and remodeling three rooms in your house will probably cause more chaos than anyone in your family can handle.
4. Apply and accept grace when mess-ups happen. Having said all of that, you are only human, and so is the rest of your family. No matter how hard you work, something will always come up that will mess with your newly-found groove. In our house, a normal weekend’s activities seem to bring about a huge mess of things.
I used to stress myself out trying to spend quality time with my family while maintaining order. Eventually, I came to a place where I realized that none of us were having as good of a time as we could be. The messes will wait to be cleaned up, but the memories we could be making together while I’m scrambling around (either in real life or in my head) will be missed opportunities. I choose family. The dishes and laundry can wait until Monday.
5. Pray for your home to be blessed and be a blessing. Sadly, I don’t always remember to follow through with this crucial step to maintaining a home that honors God. However, my home is a reflection of my heart, and when my heart is not focused on conversing with God, then my house is not going to be the refuge from sin and sorrow that it could be.
My heart finds such joy in receiving a compliment from guests in our home about how at-ease they feel when they’re here. That’s when I know God has truly blessed my prayer that others will find a portion of His peace and love during their time within the walls of our home. I’ve seen God bless the attitudes and events of our days when I prioritize prayer for our little haven. It always works. Perhaps not in the way I pictured, but generally in a richer way than I would have dreamed.
A happy haven can be cultivated when our hearts and perspectives are clean and healthy. No 30 day challenge, book, magazine, or blog post will truly change our lives. They’re meager tools. The real change comes when we let Jesus fill our hearts, and subsequently our homes, with joy.
What did I miss? What internal steps have you discovered important in your quest to being a happy homemaker? Please be sure to share them in the comments! I love learning from others.
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