Part 1: On Slowing Your Home
“There is nothing more terrible than activity without insight.” Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)
Are you living more as a human being or a human doing?
At our core, we were meant to be, not do. …To be in God’s presence. To be still. To be His people, and as an outflow from our identity in Him, to live godly lives and love others.
Yet most of us, especially as American’s, get that backwards. We do, do, do. We fill our lives and homes with ceaseless activity and strive for more wealth, until we find ourselves stressed, frazzled, and worn out. We have little time or energy for our own spouses and children.
Perhaps we have material possessions, but we miss out on something greater.
Maybe what our homes really need is…
Less money. More time. More exposure to one another.
Maybe, if we stepped back and took an eternal look at our lives, homes and families, we would see that all this busyness robs us.
I certainly don’t think that our family has chosen the only right path, but I can say we’ve chosen a slow life.
I was able to quit my job when we began having kids… and as a result we have little or no extra money. (NOTE: There’s nothing wrong with women working… just think of the notable women in the Bible who did so! –Lydia, Priscilla, the Proverbs 31 woman)
My husband, children and I participate in few outside activities besides church. That’s intentional. It’s a sacrifice, especially for my husband who’d love to be in a sports league every night of the week.
We didn’t get to go to Mexico with all our friends last year. We didn’t meet them out for pizza last week. I haven’t had new clothes in years but for gifts and sweet hand-me-downs. I won’t get that swingset I had my eye on for our backyard.
Every trivial sacrifice is worth it. Each of them allows us to live these years with little ones at home in a slow, deep, rich and meaningful way. Each of them allows our marriage to flourish. Each of them allows us a profound presence in our children’s lives.
I spend time with my kids throughout the day. They’re my little companions. We’re close. My husband makes being home a priority when he’s not working to provide for us. Our kids sleep in or take long naps when they want to. We play. I read books to them. We bake and go to parks, take walks and do crafts. We spend time with friends. We have quiet afternoons. I sip tea and plan dinner, which is hot on the table when my husband walks in at 5:30 (most days).
It’s a simple life. A slow life. A good life. Full of simple joys and togetherness.
We believe this time that we’re investing in one another is exceedingly more valuable than any material “extra” we could provide.
The result is less stress and more peace.
Proverbs 17:1 says, “A dry crust eaten in peace is better than a great feast with strife.”
So, how do you determine whether you need to slow your home? Here are some signs.
9 Signs You are Living Pressured
- Doing is more important to you than being (with your family, with God).
- What you’re acquiring is more important that what you’re becoming.
- You view busyness as a virtue.
- Your home life feels stressed, harassed and rushed.
- Your ambition is to expose your child to more than most kids and/or you want your children to do and be “a marvelous extension of yourself”
- Your home bears a sense of constant urgency and underlying tension.
- Your parenting is frayed and fragmented.
- Those in your home feel a need to escape –to one’s room, workplace, away.
- You lack a deep assurance of God’s acceptance and love for you and feel you need to justify, qualify and promote yourself.
If any of these sound familiar, let me encourage you to re-evaluate your goals and consider what hard changes you can make to re-structure your home.
4 Questions to Consider to Slow Your Home
These may not be possible for you, but don’t balk. If God is calling you to slow your home, think creatively!
1. Can one spouse work less?
More time at home can pull many other things together, helping the home feel settled and strengthening it’s core.
2. Can you eliminate classes, projects and extra activities?
It’s all too easy to undervalue time spent at home with family. What “extras” are you or your children prioritizing that zap the energy and cohesiveness from your home life?
3. Are you wrongfully prioritizing money?
All that extra time you put in to have “more” ...is that really necessary? Is it truly, deeply a blessing to you and yours, or is it a lust-driven, materialistic or selfishly-motivated pursuit?
There’s a lot to be said for providing for one’s family, but there’s also a lot to be said for being present in one’s home.
“Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness.” Ecclesiastes 5:10
4. Are there goals you can put on pause?
Maybe your goals are all well and good, but God would have you lay them aside, either permanently or temporarily, as you make time to invest in and slow your home.
The ideas in this post are adapted from Disciplines of the Home by Anne Ortlund.
What would it mean for you to slow your home?
This is Part 1 of 10 in a Series on
Establishing a Strong, Simple and Settled Home: Exploring the Deeper Aspects of Homemaking
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