How to stay motivated at home

From: http://avirtuouswoman.org/31-days-calm-stay-motivated-home-day-19/

If you and I are called to the ministry of homemaking and homemaking requires us to stay focused 365 days of the year (minus sick days and vacations), how can we stay motivated without feeling discouraged or burn-out?

It’s easier to be a good homemaker if you feel happy. At least, I’ve found that when I’m feeling discouraged or depressed or tired, it’s just harder to get going in the morning and it’s harder to face the mundane chores day after day.

THE PROVERBS 31 WOMAN

We know that the Proverbs 31 Woman looks well to the ways of her household. I don’t believe that God assigned household chores to us women to ruin our lives. Homemaking should bring us a sense of peace and joy.

But it’s hard to find that peace and joy in homemaking when life feels chaotic.

4 WAYS TO STAY MOTIVATED AT HOME

1. Simplify. We talked about slowing down and saying no to too many outside activities. Simplifying your life really does bring more peace and joy! Less is MORE. We don’t need more stuff. We don’t need more to do. We don’t need more, more, more.

Unfortunately, for most Americans, the mindset is often MORE IS MORE. Cut down on the clutter in your life – whether it be things cluttering your time, your space, your home, your relationship, your walk with Christ. Get rid of the excess things that are dragging you down instead of lifting you up.

2. Make your home pretty. I know, most of us are on tight budgets these days. But making your home pretty doesn’t have to cost a lot. Use your creativity. Scour decorating blogs for ideas on how to turn trash into treasure. Visit flea markets and thrift stores and yard sales if you can’t afford to shop at department stores. And even then, sometimes you can find amazing deals in stores you think you can’t afford to shop in.

I find most of my “pretty” things at stores like Wal-Mart, Big Lots, Hobby Lobby, and Dollar General.

3. Set aside time each week for you. I enjoy spending time on my Project Life albums. Sometimes I like to just spend a couple of hours in the morning {on slow days} to peruse my favorite homemaking blogs for inspiration. I also love hiking and camping. I feel refreshed when I get to spend an afternoon out with my kids on a hike. Maybe you enjoy sewing or painting. Whatever it is that brings you joy, make time for it.

4. Read edifying and inspiring books. Of course, the BEST book to read to help you feel inspired in your ministry at home is the Bible. And I encourage each of you to spend regular time in prayer and study. But reading books on homemaking, mothering, DIY, and more can help give your spirit a little boost when you need it.

You’ll be able to come back to your job at home with a fresh perspective, a happy attitude, and a gratefulness for the many blessings you have.

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED AT HOME?

Are you a spiritual invalid?

Are you a spiritual invalid, or do you know someone who is? Lack of boundaries contributes to this problem: we can become confused about where our needs and values end and those of others begin. How can we tell if someone we are interacting with is a spiritual invalid? As it is written:

Matthew 7:16
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

For those who are interested, the following books by the Christian author Henry Cloud are wonderful and empowering, helping people to value themselves and others by the appropriate use of boundaries:

1. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life (see http://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454)
2. Safe People: How to Find Relationships That are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t (see http://www.amazon.com/Safe-People-Relationships-Avoid-Those/dp/0310210844/ref=pd_sim_b_3)

The following article casts much needed light on the phenomenon of spiritual invalids. Thank you to Rayola Kelley for the helpful insights.

http://www.gentleshepherd.com/articles/church/AreYouASpiritualInvalid.htm

A couple of months ago, I was thinking how a healthy person could become an invalid. I have met a few individuals who have chosen this type of physical route. As I considered the wasted life of such a person, I thought about Christians who end up becoming spiritual invalids in the kingdom of God.

The first point of consideration is why one would choose to become an invalid. Does it have to do with control and manipulation? Perhaps it is about getting attention or feeling special. Whatever the reason for wasting one’s life, Scriptures speak of a life totally contrary to invalidism. Spiritual invalidism involves one becoming inactive in his or her life before God. In a sense, it is like waiting for God to pour out all of the deserved benefits. This concept of a free ride without paying the price makes the Christian life self-serving and unrealistic.

The Word talks about running the race, maintaining the faith, fighting the battle, and finishing the course. It points out exercising unto godliness (1 Corinthians 9:24; 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:7-8). As individuals study the Scriptures, they have to realize that the Christian life is anything but inactive. Spiritual inaction is nothing more than unbelief and disobedience in action which causes spiritual atrophy or complacency towards the things of God.

The Word clearly speaks of victory that must be won. Overcoming enemies is not an option, but a must if one is to enjoy the fruits of the kingdom of God (1 John 5:4-5; Revelation 2-3). God has provided the tools to overcome. However, in spite of God’s incredible Word and powerful tools, some Christians still insist on becoming spiritual invalids. Such individuals refuse to partake of the Word for themselves as they depend on others to spoon-feed them. Faith becomes an intellectual concept or method that blinds them to personal unbelief and disobedience. They use prayer for self-serving reasons, often resulting in skepticism because God appears to remain silent. They either ignore the Holy Spirit or they allow a counterfeit spirit to replace Him as a means to control their world. They either mock spirituality or use it as a door to operate on a level of spiritual elitism and delusion. The results are always the same. They refuse to take personal responsibility for the status of their spiritual life. These spiritual invalids come across as the helpless victim, while judging God and others for the failure in their personal lives.

What creates spiritual invalids? An invalid in the spiritual realm points to weakness due to the absence of a proper foundation. After considering those who resort to this physical state without reason, I believe it goes deeper than just an absence of a foundation. Spiritual invalidism is absence of character. Any time you deal with the character of a person, you will have to confront his or her disposition. Therefore, a spiritual invalid has something amiss in his or her disposition. It is a weakness that has not been honestly confronted through repentance or effectively dealt with by the Word of God and obedience to it.

The following is my observation as to the ingredients that will cause a physical or spiritual invalid in disposition. The two main motivations behind this type of condition are fear or resignation. Both fear and resignation are self-centered. The more a person gives in to these two culprits, the more life becomes overwhelming. Eventually, these two stifling factors cause a person to retreat from reality, declaring that life as unfair, too frightening or hopeless in its present state. Therefore, the person resigns self to a world of depression, fantasy or a small controllable world no bigger than a tomb.

Life is unfair to everyone, but it is especially hard on man’s different forms of pride. Pride strives to be an exception rather than the rule. It sees itself as superior and deserving of honor. It wants to believe that its circumstances or burdens are far worse than they are. This will earn the individual the right to be treated according to personal opinions or preference. Pride always becomes offended when life does not exalt it. It becomes hopeless as life challenges its imperfections and faulty claims to reveal failure, rejection and incompetence causing it to lose control. In fact, life on earth is a test to see whether a person will choose life that only comes by way of God or the ways of pride that lead to death, the path of least resistance.

The foundation under the path of death is made up of lies; therefore, it allows for the compromises and excuses of pride. It feeds and clings to the concept that life is unfair. As the individual gives in to this arrogant claim, self-pity begins to consume the person’s disposition. This self-pity feeds various vain imaginations that operate without hindrance, always giving way to the rights of pride.

Rights cause a person to consider how he or she must be treated in his or her incapacitated condition. As the individual continues to give in to various excuses for his or her condition, rights begin to put demands on others. Personal irresponsibility and complacency brought on this condition, but now others are burdened with the responsibility to serve the person in this state, or they are deemed unchristian and uncaring as they fall into the trap of guilt. Those who do care are often taken advantage of as their kindness is never considered sacrificial, but a responsibility.

Another ingredient of spiritual invalidism is ingratitude. Self-pity also serves as a manifestation of ingratitude. Self-pity declares that the person is feeling sorry for self because he or she has not received the desired results. The person’s tears are not for personal sin, but because the insidious game has been uncovered. Now that the game has been exposed, all that is left is repentance. True repentance is an enemy of invalidism. Therefore, rebellion begins to act out to confuse the issues in order to get its way. Tears are part of the game as they often throw unsuspecting people into confusion about the insidious ingratitude that is behind much of it.

The final element to spiritual invalidism is laziness. Galatians 6:4-5 states: “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” The Word tells believers to wake up and arise. However, those who glory in personal spiritual invalidism will find various excuses and justifications as to why they can’t get up and do what is right and necessary (Ephesians 5:14-17; 2 Timothy 1:6; 2 Peter 1:13). They will always see themselves as the victim, rather than the thief who abuses the gift of life and the kindness of others.

As you study the different ingredients in the disposition of a spiritual invalid, you can see where this type of individual simply gives in to the works and ways of the flesh. He or she will refuse to stir self up to pursue God’s perspective, Spirit and will in a matter. Eventually, this person will give in to lies and pride, rather than choose the ways of life and righteousness and walk these out by obedient faith.

Sadly, these people become leeches that end up robbing others of valuable time and resources. These people never see what a stench they become to God and those who see through the games. People will resist their pride, avoid their self-pity, and become disgusted at their excuses as to why they have become and remain an invalid in the kingdom of God. In the end, such people become a dead weight too great to bear.

My prayer is that if any reader fits this scenario that he or she will see the errors of his or her way. The ingredients that make up spiritual invalidism definitely fit in the hall of fame for the most accepted sins. However, these sins are unacceptable to God and will bring judgment in due time.

You may know someone who fits this description. If so, restrain from enabling him or her. This will put you in a bad light, but truly seek God’s will and perspective about such a person. As long as you enable a person who maintains the disposition of an invalid, he or she can remain so. Ask the Lord to give this person a love for the truth and a consuming desire to please God. Then challenge the person by not playing his or her games.

Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

I have been reading the following book by Gary Thomas, and finding it one of the most inspiring texts I have ever encountered: “Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?” Following are some points that struck me as particularly insightful and comforting, which might help others also struggling at times as Christians in their marriage:

* While many people fight to receive respect, Christian marriage calls us to focus our efforts on giving respect. We are called to honour someone even when we know only too well their deepest character flaws. We can be thankful for our fellow sinners when we spend more time looking for evidence of grace in them, than we do finding fault with them.

* You will never find a spouse who is not affected in some way by the reality of the Fall. If you can’t respect this spouse because he or she is prone to certain weaknesses, you will never be able to respect any spouse.

* Take the plank out of your own eye (Luke 6:42) before trying to remove the speck from our spouse’s eye. Adopt a humble spirit. Respect your spouse, honour him or her, they deserve it.

* Instead of placing demands on your spouse (or others), look to God to get your needs met. Then approach others in the spirit of servant hood. From the desperate father in Mark 9:24 we learn that we could have all the faith in the world but if it is misplaced it will do no good. But weak faith placed in the One who can respond is all God needs, and He’ll take care of the rest.

* Struggle makes us stronger; it builds us up and deepens our faith. Jesus promised us that everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt (Mark 9:49). But this result is achieved only when we face the struggle head-on, not when we run from it. Our Lord has sovereignly ordained that our refining process take place as we go through difficulties, not around them. The Bible is filled with examples of those who overcame as they passed through the desert, the Red Sea, the fiery furnace and ultimately the cross. God doesn’t protect Christians from their problems – he helps them walk victoriously through their problems.

* If your marriage is tough, get down on your knees and thank God that He has given you an opportunity for unparalleled spiritual growth. You have the prime potential to excel in Christian character and obedience.

* Struggling successfully and profitably brings a deeper joy than even trouble-free living. It is meaningful. God created us in such a way that we need to struggle to stay alive spiritually. Challenge is what keeps us seasoned. But to be profitable, our struggle must have purpose, and it must be productive. It is only when we put struggle within the Christian context of character development and self sacrifice that it becomes profitable.

* Jesus portrayed struggle as the entry point into the Christian life, stressing that it would be a daily reality of our faith:

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me (Luke 9:23, King James bible)

* Our relationships can be looked at in the same way we would view mountain climbing. Instead of immediately thinking about how we can take a helicopter to the top, we might take a climber’s approach and think, “This is really tough. This is a challenge, no doubt about it. How do I keep loving this person in the face of this challenge?” Tribulation and adversity conform us to the Cross of Christ. There is no other way to be made holy, or conformable to His image.

* A good marriage is not something you find, it’s something you work for. It takes struggle. You must crucify your selfishness. You must at times confront, and at other times confess. The practice of forgiveness is essential.

* The blessings of God may only be found and enjoyed when they are persistently sought (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9). Faith must be active (doings-based), not passive.

* Don’t run from the struggles of marriage. Embrace them. Grow in them. Draw nearer to God because of them. Through them you may reflect more of the spirit of Jesus Christ. And thank God that He has placed you in a situation where your spirit can be perfected.

* A difficult marriage, in and of itself, may not cause us to grow. We have to apply ourselves to understanding, love and patience – commit ourselves to a pursuit of virtue – within that difficult marriage. We can’t control how our spouse will act or how the world will act, but we can control how we will act and how we will respond. We become the architects of a new character.

* As long as our pain and wisdom and lessons are “locked up in the heart” or “hoarded high in barns”, they remain sterile and unfertile. To grow in the midst of difficulties, we must “rip open” the bags of grain and seeds and pour them out wherever we see fertile ground. This is the classic death and rebirth theme of Christianity (John 12:24), in which the “seed of love must be eternally resown.” It is the essence of a spiritually meaningful marriage – and of ministering fruitfully to others.

The joy of the Lord Jesus

Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

What is the joy of the Lord? I thought I’d share some examples from my own life, that I’ve taken from my blessings journal, that have made me happy in the Lord.

1. I am, from my heart and soul, completely happy cooking and cleaning for my husband (ie. being a “help meet” as per Genesis 2:18). I have never regretted for an instant resigning from my job, which I did in obedience to the Spirit of God’s commandments in scriptures such as 1 Timothy 5:14:

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

Since making meals for people and helping my husband, I have been praised by him and others for “cooking up a storm” and being hospitable. After nearly 23 years of sloth and letting others do all the work house-wise, I have discovered the joy of giving from a genuine heart. As it is written:

Acts 20:35
…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

1 Peter 3:13
And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

2. Since I started following Christ, I have been given many opportunities to give alms and serve others. The Lord is doing a good work in my heart because it is learning to put God and others (genuinely) before self.

3. The Lord Jesus has given me grace in many people’s eyes as I seek to serve Him, so that they have treated me kindly and with mercy. For example, I went to a beads shop recently to make a beaded necklace in honour of God. The shop owner was very impatient with her bank on the phone but was patient and considerate with me. She helped me pick out beads and said I could come and make beads in her shop if I liked (as I am new to making such things).

The above are just three quick examples to give you encouragement and hope in your walk with Christ. We all need lifting up at times, as life can be a tricky business. As it is written:

Psalm 23:4
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

My hope at the end of this life is to stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ and to hear Him say:

“…Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21)