Friday, May 25, 2007

Our Ministry Starts at Home

Last Saturday I attended GA Romance Writer's monthly chapter meeting. My husband had a day planned with my daughter, but they were still watching cartoons as I emerged from the bedroom. With my makeup complete, my toenail polish touched up, I walked out of the bedroom feeling confident in my long, funky skirt and strappy sandals.

My husband stopped playing with our daughter and sent me "the look".

This is one of those looks that means he has an opinion about my outfit or hair. I know if I ask him his opinion, he will give it to me, whether I like it or not. If I ask him, "Does this make me look fat?" He'll give me an honest answer.

So, I wanted to know what was on his mind. Because the skirt had gotten a little tight around the hips. (It's only been TWO years since my daughter was born. I'm still working on getting my figure back! Or getting a better one!)

Anyway, my defenses had tightened. "What?".
"Nothing," he replied.
As usual, I had to pull it out of him. "What is it?" I asked with more impatience in my tone.
"You look pretty," he said.

That shut me up.
I smiled. "Well...Thank you," and then I walked off to get my purse, feeling all giddy and proud of him, of myself...

But he wasn't finished. "Why do I always get the old housewife look?"

Now Ladies, I couldn't allow this statement to anger me. After all, most days I don't make a fuss about how I look. The hair goes up in a pony tail and my wardrobe is t-shirt and jeans. Depending on the day I have planned, I may not get the chance to shower until late afternoon. So my dear husband was only telling the truth.

I had to give some thought to what he was saying. Here I was, just going to a meeting among my peers. Only a handful of people there know me. I don't hold a position on the board. I wasn't going to do a speech or anything. But I put forth the extra effort on how I looked like a celebration that I was getting out of the house for a few hours. That I would be able to turn up my Casting Crowns CD full blast and not worry about it being too loud for my baby girl. Celebrating that I would be conversing with adults about my favorite topic: writing.

But do you see all the I's in this post? I'm not going to count them, but I'll tell you there are too many. I've been so focused on how much writing time I'm getting in during the day that I let other things slide. It goes beyond the dishes, the mountain of dirty clothes rising in the utility room. It's more than how much I've posted on my personal blog, how many times I've checked email, what contests I think I should enter. I found myself getting angry when I couldn't fit time in during the day to read the next book I'm supposed to review or read another book someone gave me on craft. I'm really angry if the scene in my WIP isn't working out like its supposed to, or worse, my imagination for their world falls flat.

And that anger trickles down into my personal relationships...

I'm writing for Christ, but am I living for Him? Am I loving my family and friends like Jesus would? Or, are they all being thrown by the wayside for something that seems more important?

What's in our hearts cannot be hidden. It starts at home, behind closed doors. It starts early in the morning before any one is up, or late at night when the house is quiet again. It's opening the Word and praying for an open heart and mind. And when the house wakes again, it's nurturing those closest to you, that will be most highly impacted by your actions. And when you go out in the world, when you make phone calls to other family and your friends, it's keeping close the Word you studied the night before and keeping the Spirit centered in your soul.

I write this as a personal reminder. It all starts with me. I want to declare that it's high time I made a change. I've got to start my day with the Word. Then, I put my loved ones next and then it's my house. And finally, it's my writing.

I know the Lord has been working on me for some time. I may not be to the point He wants me to be, but I'm optimistic I'm following His lead.

You may be sitting at the other end of the spectrum from me. I remember how it was to work a full time job, and fit writing in to those small snippets left in my day. Life is hectic and every one wants everything yesterday. I didn't have children then, and I wasn't writing for the Lord. Most of the time I wasn't giving much thought to Him. I was looking ahead, at the next job, at how much more money I'd be making.

There is more to life than the next raise. There's even more to life than whether our books will ever be published, although that's a huge part of our ministry. At the end of the day, when we return from being out in the world, all pretty and dressed in red, all that really will matter is if we've honored Him and if we've nurtured those closest to us. Because our ministries start at home. And usually they are the hardest ones to conquer.

4 comments:

  1. Wow, Christy. That really spoke to me. I have been the exact same way. I do think a lot of it is having small children. You need to break sometimes! :) And it's to look forward to. I've done the same thing often.

    But even when we do need breaks, it's so important to mind our attitudes when we are at home.

    Thanks for the reminder. I did get a start on the pile (more like mountain) of dirty laundry right before I logged on! LOL But I need to keep going. It would be a nice change if the kids had a few of their clothes in drawers instead of having to search through baskets. :)

    Missy

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  2. Christy,
    This post must have been for me too. My hubby has mentioned needing more of me. I don't know how to balance that very well because I'm so driven to work on this dream. He's driven to build his business. I've been praying a lot lately on how to support and value each other's dreams. There can be more than one dream in a household. There is more than one person. But somehow, we have to remember the other people are physically present and need us to be present even if we are physically there.

    Angie

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  3. Missy, I've been trying to keep up with laundry and dishes, too. LOL on your kids needing clothes in their drawers. My husband never can find a clean pair of underwear!

    But seriously, if we're keeping up our end and always being there, and we're talking more than laundry, that's what our kids and husbands will take with them when they go out into the world.

    Angie,
    Like at your house, my husband and I each have our own dreams. I want my dream to come true to benefit him, too, not just me. You seem to be so active in your writing and submitting for additional opportunities, you are probably closer to fullfilling that dream than I am. Still, I bet our husband's dreams are even closer to coming to fruition than ours. I always compare writing to becoming an actress or singer. The similarities of the businesses are almost as difficult.

    How can we hold on to our dreams and still hold on to what's true and good in our own homes?

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  4. Christy,

    I loved your post. I do go out and go to work everyday, so I "dress" up everyday. Sometimes I find myself at home that evening cooking in my work clothes. I don't know why.
    But the whole "me" thing is something I'm sure we all go through. We do want what we want, don't we.
    But you are right. If we put Him fist, live for Him, we'll find that balance.

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