Attitude Check

Housework can be a thankless job.  Typically, when a homemaker says that, she is referring to the fact that she rarely gets thanked for the work that she does around the house.  And, while that may be true, I am talking about something else entirely.


Most days, I love being a homemaker.  I love that it is both my privilege and responsibility to turn our house into more than just a place to eat, sleep, and store our belongings.  And, I can clearly see evidence of God’s love and care for us.  On those days, folding laundry, mopping the floor, picking up stray fairies or dress-up clothes, dusting furniture, and cooking meals all become tangible reminders to thank God for His goodness and His blessings. 


Then, there is the other kind of day…  The “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” days.    On those days, I cannot see God’s blessings over the mountain of laundry, or the pile of dirty dishes, or past the mile-long to-do list.  Because my eyes are on serving myself, not the Lord (Col. 3:23-24), I become easily overwhelmed with the tasks at hand.  I become resentful over the amount of help I do, or do not, get.  And, although I am still surrounded by God’s blessings, both tangible and invisible, I become discontent – with my house, with my husband, and with my child(ren).  And, instead of being thankful, I overlook God’s goodness and take His blessings for granted.  It might even seem that there isn’t much to be thankful for. 


But, even on those days I am to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)  It is God’s will for us to give thanks…in all circumstances.  Even when we are re-folding the laundry, for the third time.  Even when we are wiping up spilled apple juice from the just-mopped floor.  Even when we have to make dinner after a long, or difficult day.  We are to give thanks in all circumstances.  Not only when it is easy, or obvious.  Not only when the tasks ahead of us are enjoyable or fun.  Not only when things are as we think they ought to be.  


I am sorry to disagree with Mary Poppins, but, as hard as we may try, or as creative as we might be, there are just some jobs that are not fun, pleasant, or enjoyable.  But, if we are to give thanks in all circumstances, then there is always something to be thankful for!


Really?  Yes, really.  Here are some ideas that I have collected on how to have a thankful heart as I care for my home.  Some of these are from friends, some are from books, and some are my own.  (I would love to add to the list, so please, feel free to add your ideas in the comments!) 

Laundry – Be thankful that you have clothes to wear!  Be thankful for the variety, the protection from the elements, the color, the beauty, and the opportunity for expression of creativity that those things offer.  As you sort and fold tiny little t-shirts, or match tiny socks, thank the Lord for the little person that fills, and dirties, them, and for the joy that they bring to your life.  As you iron, and hang your husband’s shirts, thank the Lord that He has given you a husband who is willing to work hard to provide for the family.  Be thankful for the opportunity to use your time wisely: listen to music that leads you to praise and worship the Lord, or listen to a sermon, or memorize Scripture, or review a school lesson with your child…


Grocery Shopping – Thank God that He has provided for you in the form of the money to purchase food for your family…so what if it isn’t a gourmet menu?  So what if there isn’t much variation from week to week?  Are you are able to plan, purchase, and prepare nutritious meals?  Thank Him.  Thank Him for the variety available to you.  Thank him that you can purchase, and serve your family clean, healthy food that is fresh, and free of disease.


Cooking – Be thankful that you have food to eat!  Some people do not have enough to eat on a regular basis.  Be thankful that you have the modern-day conveniences of preservation, refrigeration, and microwaves.  Be thankful that you have the opportunity to serve and care for your family, and friends in this way.  Be thankful for the variety that God has created – the colors, the textures, the flavors – and that He allows you to enjoy it!


Dirty dishes – Cooking and sharing a meal will almost inevitably produce dirty dishes.  Again, as you stand at the sink, or load the dishwasher, be thankful that you have food to eat!  Be thankful for each family member or friend that shared the meal with you.


Toys/Clutter – Be thankful for the toys!  They will be gone too soon.  Be thankful for the sweet children that each toy represents.  Be thankful that you have the resources to provide them, not only with the things they need, but with things they want.  Be thankful for the generous gifts of friends or family who care for and love your children.  Be thankful for the creative little minds and the hours of imaginary play that is fueled by the toys.


Sticky fingerprints on the windows – Again, thank God for the ones who left them there…Just like the toys, the little handprints will be gone soon enough.  Thank Him for the wonder and curiosity of childhood.  Thank Him for the opportunity to train and teach those little hands.


Making the Beds – Be thankful that God “gives his beloved sleep.” (Ps. 127:2)  Remember that the Son of Man had no place to lay His head, and be thankful that you do.


Cleaning the Bathrooms – (Okay, this one was a little harder for me…) Be thankful for the convenience of indoor plumbing.  Be thankful for products that keep your home clean and sanitary, and your family healthy.  Be thankful for the little ones (or maybe the big ones) who make the messes.  Remember to pray for those who do not have such luxuries, and who daily face illnesses as a result of poor sanitation.


Cleaning up after pets – Thank the Lord for the enjoyment that they (usually, though maybe not at that specific moment) bring to your family.  The comfort, the protection, the companionship.  Thank him for yet another opportunity to teach your children responsibility, gentleness, kindness, and how to care for another living creature (Prov. 12:10). 


I have mentioned several times that I think a schedule, a plan, or a routine is an invaluable tool to a homemaker.  But, it is possible to create a beautifully arranged, clutter-free, picture-perfect house with a selfish, grumbling, or complaining spirit.  But, while the dust and clutter may be absent, so is the joy.  No schedule, no routine, no system is going to change your heart.  And, if we constantly view the task of caring for our home as simply another item to be checked off of our never-ending to-do list, and whine and complain our way through each chore, we are not honoring God.  We are not honoring our family.  In fact, we are not really complaining about the chores at all, but about the very blessings that God has graciously given, and called us to serve!   


Before we develop a plan for managing our homes, we need to be thankful for the opportunity to serve.  And, realize each task – pleasant or not - is a tangible, daily reminder of God’s goodness, provision, care, and love.  Even when it seems as though there is nothing else to be thankful for – we can, and should be thankful for that!



  1. Amen! Such a conviction but beautiful reminder to always be thankful for God’s provision and care.

  2. Yes! Great reminders. I struggle with something a little different. I am alone for two days at a time, and loneliness can creep in. However, thankfulness and selflessness is the best way to cure that as well. Thank You!

  3. Beautiful post! I was actually just thinking along those same lines this last week…lamenting that I had to take all three kids grocery shopping with me to Walmart. And just as quickly thanking the Lord for three sweet, healthy kids! Always need to be reminded to thank the Lord for His goodness…just like those stubborn, stiff-necked Israelites!!!

  4. Well said. The work is a blessing indeed.

    Thanks for the lovely reminder of His goodness!

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