I’ll be honest—I’ve often had trouble maintaining a positive atmosphere in our home. I can blame it on the fact that my parents weren’t the best example; I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. They were divorced and there was often tension, argument, and so on. I learned how to become easily angered, and not hold back about letting it show! Not to mention that my parents were, by nature, loving but critical. I grew up with a bent in this direction. These are tendencies that I have fought ever since becoming a Christian, and especially since I’ve had children of my own.
I have often excused these negative traits by saying, “Nobody’s perfect,” “I’m doing better today than I was doing six months ago,” or “We’re just going through a difficult season right now—moving having a baby, or”—fill in the blank.
Trouble is, there’s always an excuse for our shortcomings but eventually we have to face the fact that we’re sinning. Yes, we can repent and seek forgiveness, from God and others—but I have found that there are still consequences for our sins and it’s not just for us personally. Our actions affect our husbands, our children, and our witness to people around us whom God would have us influence for Christ. I heard one illustration that likened a lost temper to pounding a nail in a fence post—you can pound the nail in and then remove it, but the hole will always be there. In the same way, we can do our best to make amends for our hasty or hurtful words and actions, but we still wound others and can leave permanent scars. Meditating on this fact greatly compelled me to press on in making improvements in my own character in areas of deficiency.
These are humbling thoughts. However, it’s important for us to talk about the things that often happen in our homes so that what is kept in darkness is exposed to the light. Once we see it for what it is, we CAN begin to experience victory—and God wants this for us and for our families.
A Woman’s Role in the Home
I once heard taught that “The woman sets the tone for the home,” and I believe that this is, in large part, true. Though a husband’s leadership affects much and children’s behaviors are unpredictable, it is how we, as women, respond to these things that dictates what our home atmosphere will ultimately be like. We are the managers of the home and usually the primary caregivers, teachers, and trainers for our children. It is our domain! So of course, we have a great deal of influence on the atmosphere of our home. For this reason, you will notice that in this seminar series we will focus on ourselves, as wives and mothers.
It’s funny, but a recent “conversation” on Facebook and Twitter confirmed this theory. I asked at random, “What’s the ONE thing that most negatively impacts the atmosphere of your home?” Some of the responses included, “My attitude which can be strongly impacted my how messy or clean the house is or whether or not kids are listening or screaming,” “My attitude & that of my children,” “Whining on the part of the kids, but also whining from mom,” and a wise respondent who noted, “also have to agree w/ the above: messy house and attitude. But I think it’s all connected.” It’s true—a joyful home all comes down to attitude, and most especially OURS! Whether our house is messy or clean, we determine how we will respond. When our children are whiny, will we encourage them lovingly? If they have misbehaved, will we correct them gently? If our husbands aren’t taking the leadership role that we’d like them to, will we harbor resentment or seek to build them up in love, submitting to them as unto the Lord? Attitude is one of the things I hope to talk about more in our future sessions, but for today I simply want to emphasize that attitude is a choice—and the Bible says,
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)
Is your attitude like that of Jesus? Do you willingly humble yourself to receive from God’s hand whatever HE has ordained for your day? Personally, I was more prone to planning my own schedule and then refusing to bend to the work of the Holy Spirit in changing it—or I would give in, but with complaints and frustration. I had my own ideas about how the house “should” look or how the children “should” behave…but God’s standards for these external things often differed from my own. Eventually, God showed me that, very often, the heart of my bad attitude was my own pride and desire for control. And James 4:6 tells us that God actively opposes the proud, but gives His grace to the humble. No wonder I felt like (and often said!) that getting things done around the house was like pulling teeth! I was seriously missing out on the grace of God, which He gives us to make us able to do His will.
So you can see that it’s important for us, as moms, to set the tone in our home by attending to some foundational issues. In doing so, we create a home atmosphere that is to be envied! Of course we want our homes to be places of peace and joy on a day-to-day basis. What mother doesn’t like to have obedient children and an orderly home? (And these things do accompany our efforts.) More than that, however, we should want to choose this path—though according to our flesh it is not the “easy” way—because in so doing we create a home atmosphere that glorifies God. When we entertain strangers, they can sense a difference. They will know that God is in the midst of what we are doing. And our own husbands and children will likewise view our homes as a place where they want to be. They will desire a living, loving relationship with God that is like our own—because they associate joy with serving Him. We will grow in unity in our faith as we, together, pursue Jesus.
Sounds idealistic, I know. After all, the perfect day…the perfect life…are ever-elusive, right? However, it’s our commitment, our pursuit, our repentance (when needed) and our reliance upon the grace of God that ultimately create the home atmosphere that we (and He) desire. As, through the Spirit, we grow in faith, love, holiness, and self-control, God shows up in the midst of what we do every day and does in our homes what we, in our flesh, can never accomplish. And as we grow in His grace, the good days multiply and soon we are flourishing in a home which glorifies our God, who is worthy of all our praise!
How do I get there?
It’s easy to talk about the goal, and we all desire to arrive at it, don’t we? But how do you “get there?” I would say that I discovered the answer almost by accident—but of course, there are no “accidents.”
…read the rest in Home Sweet Home: Creating a Joyful Home Atmosphere