In this post we talk about contentment in our homes. Whether it be the kind of home, the state of the home or where the home is located, we can all easily find reasons to be discontent. Hopefully after reading this post we can all find reasons to BE content in our home.
This is part two of a series I started on contentment. If you missed part 1, you can find that here. We talked through six things you can do to practice contentment. Here we will also look at those six things, then apply them to our home, and our attitude about it. I was going to include where you live, but realized that could be a whole other discussion. So the next installment in the contentment series will be on being content while dreaming of a homestead. Many of my readers are either homesteaders already, or are dreaming of moving to one, so I thought that would be a good topic to discuss.
Why do we care so much about our home?
Well, I think this is God given. We as women are called to be “keepers at home.” Perhaps that is unpopular in our day and age, but truth is truth. I believe God has given us this desire to care for our homes so that we make them a welcoming place for our families. Our home is also an opportunity to minister to others. We can have people in and minister to them by feeding them, listening to them and loving them. A welcoming environment makes that easier.
For me, I see my home as an extension of myself. I want it to be nice, welcoming, and I want it to function well for our family. I love pretty things, it’s just in me. I want to make my home pretty. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. It only becomes a problem when it causes something else to suffer. When it becomes the main priority over the people who live in the home.
Why do we become discontent?
I know for me it is losing focus. I think I lose the eyes that see all I have, and start seeing through the eyes that only see lack or want. This can be caused by an everyday inconvenience in my home, an area that doesn’t work the way I wish it would. It can be from comparison. Maybe I visit the home of someone who has more space and I feel like I deserve more space. Maybe I have seen an image on Instagram or on another blog, and I start to feel like my home should always be as perfect as that one appears to be. We all can name many different reasons, but at some point most of us come to a place where our attitude is out of whack.
What message are we communicating?
When we get to that place of discontent, when our eyes only see the shortcomings rather than the blessings, we communicate ungratefulness. Our children, our husband and our friends will see a person who is ungrateful for what they have. The other night after dinner, my husband was reading to us from the Bible, Numbers chapter 11 verse 1. It says, “And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord.” That really struck me. I try to remember that our relationship to our children is also a picture of our relationship with our heavenly father. How do you feel when your children complain? I know for me I always think–man you are so ungrateful…look at all you have!
I remember going to the house of a friend years ago. She and her husband had just moved in to a new house. As she showed me around, she pointed out every thing she wanted to change and all that was wrong. I left there feeling like I had better watch myself because the message I had just received from her was a message of “I am impossible to please”. I mention this because I know I too can have the same tendency. As we talked about last time, we don’t need to be complacent. It’s not that we should never improve our homes, it’s that we should enjoy where we are now and the process of getting to the place we want to be. We should not see only the negative and focus on that.
So how do we balance the desire to improve our home with the attitude of contentment?
Lets go through our list again from last week and apply it to our homes.
1. Show Gratitude:
If you are a stay at home mom, your home is your work. I get that. You are home everyday, you see the ins and outs of what works and what doesn’t. You intimately know your home’s shortcomings. However, if all you do is complain, your husband will begin to feel inadequate and wonder how on earth he will ever please you. Instead, thank him and thank God for what you do have. You get to be home with your kiddos, you get to set your own schedule! Count your blessings, name them one by one!
2. Get a Change of Perspective:
Maybe get out and do something for someone in need. Go visit at a nursing home, or take food to someone truly in need. This change of perspective will likely send you home with new eyes to see that you really don’t have it so bad after all.
3. Get a Reality Check:
Stop looking at homes on social media and comparing them to your own. Remember when they used to talk about models in the magazines being airbrushed? Well guess what? You know that home on Instagram with the perfect pictures? They have been styled and the photos have been edited and filters added.
Try it in your own home. Don’t you know pictures look better than reality? Have you ever been shopping for a home and you see pictures online of the perfect house? Then you show up to view the home in person and you are completely disappointed! How could they make it look so good? With good light, a wide angle lens and some editing! So, if you have the itch, look at a picture that you really admire, and try to incorporate just one thing from the picture into your own home. Now sweep any clutter or junk out of the frame of the picture. Next, snap away. After that, add a filter if you have the capability….look at that! Your ordinary room just seems to glow with light! And wow! Look how clean it is!
4. Count the Cost:
Could you have a perfectly clean and styled home? Yes you could, but what would it cost you? Would it cost you your relationship with your children? I have heard a few too many stories of people who have grown up with a mother that was a meticulous housekeeper, and she made home life miserable. My husband had a roommate in college who kept his dresser drawers and all his belongings in perfect order. His mother instilled that in him, but guess where he didn’t go on weekends or holidays? Home…he didn’t go home because he couldn’t stand his mother. Her home was her God, and keeping it perfect came before her relationships.
Could you have a bigger, nicer home? Yes you could, but what would it cost? Would you need to work outside of the home? Perhaps your husband would need to work two jobs? Maybe he would have to travel? Would it be worth it to have 1000 extra square feet of space? For me the answer is no, it would not be worth it…it would be nice, but I sure like being home with my kids and having my husband home in the evenings!
5. Identify need versus want:
Here we are on this one again. Truly though, I know this is hard. Sometimes we really do have needs in our homes. We need a level of cleanliness and organization to function and thrive in our homes. We might need a new roof, we need better systems, we need clean water to come out of the faucet. There are also wants that are legitimate. I really want a mudroom that can handle 11 people. That is a legitimate want. However, it is not in my near future. So I need to not dwell on the fact that it is a mess the majority of the time. No one’s life is dependent on an organized mudroom. My children will not starve if there are 52 pairs of shoes strewn all over the place. There are issues far more important than my mudroom!
6. Rest in Jesus
When our hearts are right, it gives a new perspective to everything! When I am resting in Jesus and focusing on the fact that I have new life in him, everything else just dims in comparison. As the song goes…”and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace!” This, above all else, will give you an attitude of contentment in your home.