As women, there is a small part of us that longs for a nice home. I think God has geared us this way to give us hearts for homemaking. It can be a good thing, but when we become too focused on it, our desire for a home can all be a matter of keeping up with the Joneses.
When I became pregnant with my third baby a little sooner than we had planned, I instantly began searching the real estate listings. Suddenly, with a 2 year old, a 10 month old, and another baby on the way, my house seemed entirely too small. I kept thinking “where am I going to put this baby??”
I crunched the numbers and the more I looked at it, the less I really wanted to move.
Several times over the years, I have found myself fluctuating from enjoying my home and being incredibly frustrated with certain aspects about it. The more kids we had, the more stuff we needed and the less roomy my home felt.
Just like me, I am sure that you too feel discontented in your home sometimes. Here’s what I do when I start feeling that way.
1. Ask yourself what exactly bothers you about your home? Can you actually change any of it? Tackle small projects here and there and get in the habit of purging regularly so that you’re not overwhelmed with clutter.
I realized at one point when I felt discontented that what I really wanted was a school room for homeschooling. I don’t think it’s entirely selfish to want a school room, but I needed to practice contentment by making the most with the space I had. So instead of a new house with a school room, I ended up with a $100 Target shelving unit to organize our school gear. It met my need for organization without killing our budget.
2. Recruit help with projects. Maybe a friend can keep your kids while you do some serious deep cleaning and organizing. I always enjoy my home more when it’s clean.
3. What’s the root of the issue? At one point, I realized that the root of my issue was that I really just wanted to be closer to family, especially to my mom. And there wasn’t a thing I could do to change that except pray.
4. Why are you in this particular home? Are you in a smaller home because you have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom? Then remind yourself of that blessing every single day. We chose our home when we were both working, but we deliberately wanted a home that we could afford easily on one income instead of two. Maybe you’re like my friend Paula who was living in a third floor apartment, saving for the day they could afford their first home. Or another friend of mine who was saving up all of their extra money to afford seminary without the student loans. Keep the goal in sight.
5. Focus on the things you love. For me., this was easy. I loved the ancient hardwood floors and the charm that came with my neat old house. It might be harder if you don’t love your home. But maybe it’s the neighborhood that you enjoy or the proximity to family or a job. Or perhaps it’s the lack of debt that you enjoy and the freedom to give generously to ministries that you enjoy.
6. Pray for contentment. Pray and let God change your heart. When I pray about something like this, I ask God to show me my selfishness and he often changes my desires so that I don’t even want the thing anymore. God also brought me to a point where He showed me what a great home and neat town we lived in. We loved our church and the ministries we were involved with, even if we did mind of want to leave and be closer to family. I knew that God might not provide a job near family, but there was so much to enjoy right there where I was.
I also realized that my husband wasn’t a slave to his job. I know moms whose husbands have to work long hours to afford their homes, and I am so grateful that my husband is home every night to read a Bible story and pray with my kids. He has always had a and could provide so well for our family without being a workaholic. What a blessing!
6. Recognize the Source of All Joy. I have told myself this time and time again in difficult circumstances: Christ is the source of all joy. He did it all on the cross and if he never does another thing for me, I can be joyful because of salvation in Him. His plan for me is perfect.
And in the irony of ironies, guess what?
I did move.
I am closer to family.
And my house is super tiny–it’s 1200 square feet as we prepare to begin the process of building a home on our land in a rural town. So once again, I am practicing contentment.
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