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2009-03-30

Embracing the Process--It's a REAL Job! Series #3

Embracing the Process
Image by Randy Son of Robert

Admittedly, I don't know much about the military. However, I've seen enough movies to be able to call to mind the image of a long time marine. He's disciplined, orderly, and tough. He approaches his duties with focus. He knows exactly what is expected of him and carries it out to the letter. His military career cannot be separated from his personal life. It affects his relationships with his wife and children. He even folds his t-shirts a certain way. He IS the marines.

Can you picture him with me?

But was he always like this? At one time, not so many years ago, he entered training. To begin with, he had no idea what he was doing. They taught him how to stand like a marine, how to respond to someone of a higher rank, how to do a thousand push ups, and how to make his bed like a marine. He got yelled at. A lot. It took time and effort to come to the place where he represented the marines in every aspect of his life.

Likewise (and contrary to popular belief), homemaking is a job that requires training and skill. No one is born a good homemaker or home manager. Sure, some are more naturally gifted organizers or planners. Some have a knack for creative endeavors. Some gravitate to home more easily than others. But none of these things makes a woman an excellent homemaker.

Becoming a skilled homemaker is a process. It is so easy to become discouraged with our efforts. To look at our home and family and feel that we are failing at our jobs. Don't let discouragement rule you! The truth is that most of us came into our roles with a serious lack of training to begin with. I know I did. I didn't really have any idea what it meant to run a home well or how to create a sanctuary for the ones I loved. I am still learning every day.

Can I just say this? It's OK. It's OK that you're still getting there. It's OK that you will never "arrive" at perfection. Our Lord doesn't ask us for perfection. He asks us for obedience. I love what Flylady has to say on this topic: "Jump in where you are!"

To use some Southern speak, I think it's mighty freein' to acknowledge that homemaking, just like any other job, takes time to learn.

Here are a few tips to help you along the process:

1. Seek instruction.
Do you have a friend who seems to have more skill in homemaking than you? An older woman who can share some wisdom? Why not ask her to share her insight with you? God already designed training to happen this way--unfortunately, many of us have just lost sight of it. There are also many wonderful books, articles and blogs written by women on the topics of home organization, beautifying your home, loving your husband and children and so on. Some of my favorite books are Houseworks, Feminine Appeal, and The Hidden Art of Homemaking. You can find some of my favorite blogs on the subject in my "Links" section.

2. Persevere and push yourself beyond your limits.
Homemaking is hard work. Sometimes I feel like I'm not getting much of anywhere in "the process". This is when I have to remember, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9) I also need to remember not to become satisfied with the status quo. There is always something more to learn, something new to improve. Push yourself a little from time to time!

3. Periodically look back to see how far God has brought you.
What a blessing it has been to look back and realize what a work God has done in my life! Wow. I do have a long, long way to go and so very much to learn, but the things He has taught me about managing my home and loving my family. . .well, my current life just doesn't much resemble the life of my twenty-two year old newlywed self. Praise Him!

I have compared the process of homemaking to the process of becoming a marine--hard work and training that results in a role performed by a skilled individual. Can I point out one huge difference?

We don't have a drill sergeant!

Instead, we have a gracious and patient God who is leading and teaching us. Look to Him as you pursue the process.

3 comments:

Amanda @ Mommy's Idea Book said...

I love this article. I was actually thinking about this over the weekend. I really like the idea of seeking instruction from others. Not only can you learn a lot this way, but you can have tons of fun too.

Lori@EnjoyThe Process said...

You make really good points. One thing I'd add is to ENJOY the process! We need to enjoy and as you said, embrace the change that the Father would do in our lives and in the lives of those in our household! Not always an easy thing to do, but it does have wonderful results!!! "The joy of the Lord is our strength!" - strength to continue in the process!! PTL!
Thanks for sharing!

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

As always, I am enjoying this series. I especially love your writing style. Everything in logical order, in points, easy to read.

Today my house in a bit chaotic as I struggle to care for sick littles (who are napping right now).
"Jump in where you are" just jumped up and kicked me in the bottom. I had looked around my home and (I'm embarrased to say) wrote off the kitchen in leiu of blog reading.

Now I am off to "jump" into my cleaning.

Praise the Lord for your blog! He sure can use them in many different ways can't He?

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