Homemaking, Life, Mommyhood

House, Home, and Heart

Probably because many of my recent Facebook/Twitter status reports have had something to do with my daily household chores, I’ve had a few requests asking about how I do things around the house.  This registers fairly high on my irony-meter, because… Well, if you could have seen my bedroom growing up, let’s just say that I would not be the person you would ask for advice on cleaning or organizing.  Oh, I knew what to do, I just didn’t do it. 


But, over the past several years, and especially in recent months, I have been repeatedly convicted by the words of Proverbs 14:1, which tells us, “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” (ESV)  I certainly do not want to be guilty of tearing down my own home, as a result of my laziness.  And, when I look at the disorder and disorganization for what it really is – sin – my habits and behavior have to change, and so does my heart.


I certainly do not have it mastered.  I still struggle to manage my home effectively and efficiently.  Each day is a battle against laziness and idleness.  There are times that I would much rather be selfish, and not consider the needs and preferences of my family above my own.  And, I know I am not alone.  I can’t even count the number of times I have heard other women lamenting about the fact that they are struggling with their attitude in this area, or simply at a loss as to how to “get it all done” each day.  I’ve been there…some days (many of them), I still am!!


I share this, not because I have perfected this area, but precisely because I have not.  But, I have found that having a well-laid out plan for what must be done, and how it needs to be accomplished has helped me to more clearly recognize my own struggle with the sins of laziness or selfishness (both inwardly, and outwardly)…and to be more intentional about fighting them. 


First, it has had to become about more than just doing chores, checking items off of a to-do list, or cleaning a house.  It starts with my heart – my attitude.  I do want my house to be clean, and orderly.  But, day in and day out, it is used.  So, it looks “lived in.”  And, I like it that way!  My goal is not perfection. My goal is to create an environment where friends and family alike are welcomed and comfortable…a home.


“A homemaker may claim that her house is a shambles, because she’s just not mentally wired to be a ‘multi-tasker.’ The Bible labels sloppy slothfulness as a moral issue: ‘Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks’ (Ecclesiastes 10:8).” (pg. 49, Womanly Dominion)


While the real-life definition of a clean house will probably be slightly different to everyone, “keeping a neat and orderly house is part of the practical out-working of Titus 2:5 where women are commanded to be keepers at home.  Cleaning is a ministry to our family and a service to God.” (pg. 122, Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God) 


Proverbs 31:27 says, “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  And, Ephesians 5:15-16 cautions us, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”  While these verses are not necessarily specific to housework, for me, they serve as a constant reminder and warning to be careful with my time – regardless of what I am doing.  I want to look well to the ways of my household!  I certainly do not want to be guilty of idleness, or frittering away precious moments, when I could be productive for the kingdom of God instead.  I want to be counted among the wise, and make the best possible use of the fleeting moments that I have been given.  I know that not everyone thrives on structure and schedules.  And, I know that some find routine boring.  But, I believe that, as the old saying goes, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”


When I first took on the task of caring for my own home, I did not have a plan.  And, for the most part, I was able to get “enough” done.  But, as our housing situation changed, and our family grew, I continued trying to manage my home – and all that entails – without a plan.  And, I failed…miserably.  The few things I managed to get accomplished were rarely done well.  And, there was always another area (or 5) that was sadly neglected, and in desperate need of attention.


When Hannah was born, and it somehow seemed that I had less time, not more (even though I was now at home all the time!), it quickly became clear that I needed to find something – a miracle product, a housecleaning fairy, a system – anything that would help me to get every area clean, on a regular basis…And, not just the ones that appeared to need it. 


I know that some hear the words “schedule” or “routine” and cover their ears at the imposed inflexibility and rigidity.  But, odd as it may sound, a structured routine actually offers more flexibility, not less!  Having a plan gives me a basic framework around which to structure each day’s activities, in order to best serve my husband and my daughter. 


I have found that having a detailed plan helps me tremendously as I try to live out the biblical admonitions to be working at home (Titus 2:5), to avoid idleness and laziness (which does not serve my family) (Prov. 31:27, Ecc. 10:8), to prefer others above myself (Phil. 2:4), and to utilize my time wisely (Eph. 5:16).  I hope that the posts over the next few days will encourage you to do the same…  Stay tuned.


  1. Ugh…of all the days! 🙂 Its so funny to read this post today. I am overwhelmed with all the things that need to get done and I have no time for. I have loads of laundry needing folded, dinner to make, the bathrooms to clean and still need to go over a lesson from homeschooling this morning! 🙂 And yet…here I sit reading your blog! Guess the fault lies directly at my feet not with my circumstances. Thanks for encouragment…I’m off to start dinner!

  2. I am so guilty of this myself. I don’t have kids or a husband yet I still can’t keep my small apartment orderly & clean. I have been getting a lot better over the last few months but an outsider may not really see how I’ve improved. God has truly convicted me on being more hospitable & offering my home to people. So I try to keep at least the main areas decent & amazingly I think it has affected me more than anyone else (more relaxed & less overwhelmed & stressed). I figure why would God bless me with a husband/family &/or house if I can’t even take care of what I have now? You are so right about it being more a matter of heart; selfishness & idleness are two biggies i struggle with. Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

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