In our current culture, people must stay busy. They must justify their existence by proving how “involved” they are.
This is especially true for those of us who stay at home to raise our children. The hoods of our minivans are never allowed to cool–we are expected to be a taxi service for our children, to volunteer for everything at church, to spend time involved in civic activities, and to be available to everyone for everything.
Our Christmas newsletters reflect our desperate need to prove we are doing things; we list all of the activities our families are involved in–from piano recitals to infant swimming classes.
Homeschoolers seem especially susceptible, since they feel they have more to prove to family, friends, neighbors, and authorities.
But is this the life God calls us to? Perhaps it is possible for some of us to keep up with grueling schedules, but I am led to believe the ones who can actually live a rich, Godly life while constantly on the run are few and far between.
In Titus chapter 2 we are admonished to be “busy at home.” What does this mean for the modern day woman of God?
Of course there are times when we find it necessary to venture from our domains; doctor’s appointments, business errands, necessary shopping, visiting the sick and poor, etc. These are all legitimate reasons for being out and about.
But I am afraid most of the venturing we do is not as necessary as we have been led to believe.
We might feel the need for status according to how much we are involved, but our husbands and children need something more precious; a wife and mother who is available for them, with unfrazzled, unhurried blocks of time in her day reserved for the impromptu, the unplanned needs that get pushed to the side when every moment is taken up with plans and demands from the outside world.
There is nothing that speaks to a man more than a wife who is too busy to respond when he calls, who expects him to be happy with a thrown-together supper night after night, and a wife who does not take care of her appearance because of her running around. While he toils and moils, she is giving of her life and energy to every other cause, when her cause should be his vision and his desires.
And we may feel that we need to give our children “enrichment” through all sorts of classes, etc., but children are much more simple than that. There might be times when classes are called for, but all in balance, especially with multiple children of different ages.
We have found that most of the things we are encouraged to get our children involved in at early ages can be postponed until later ages, that younger children do not appreciate nor respond as well when they are young as when they become older and more mature–focusing on cultivating the passions God has placed within them as they grow and learn more about who God has created them to be. Child proteges may be all the rage in Japan, but so is child suicide.
Staying at home more creates an atmosphere that is peaceful, less frantic. In a world that is on the fast track to destruction, there can still exist the vast treasure of slowness and simplicity that feeds both heart and soul.
Children who have more time on their hands learn to use quiet and lull to their greatest advantage, at least with a mother who is attentive and steers them clear of wasting time with too much media, etc. In the silence of “white space” they are faced with themselves, without the need to gather reflections from people other than family members. Thus the image of who they are is more shaped by their parents than peers and others who may or may not have their best interests in mind. A greater foundation is built of confidence which does not rely on the input of the culture, but comes from an internal assurance of right and wrong, of solidity in a quicksand world.
It is a tragedy in our day that the rare men who are willing to be the main providers for their families are made to feel inconsequential and unimportant. When they call, the phone goes to voice mail. When they need an errand run, the wife is already too busy with everything else, and has an impatient attitude. When they return home from work, the house is in disarray and they feel as though all they work so hard for is not being respected or appreciated, and if they complain they face contention and even ridicule.
But husbands who have contented wives at home are meant to feel rich. Their wives are responsive to their needs and requests and have the emotional energy to listen to their husbands and give them empathy and understanding. Without so many outside demands, they can bake the special cake or give the back rub that will minister to their men and speak to their hearts. A wife who is rested and focused can also fulfill a husband’s greatest need on a more regular basis, that of intimate physical affection which is almost as important to him as breathing.
And a woman at home has more opportunity to spend time cultivating her spiritual life, where that “meek and quiet spirit” can grow and flourish at the feet of Jesus.
Join me on Thursdays when I share one of the At The Well – Pursuing Titus 2 devotionals that has made an impact on my daily walk with the Lord as a mother and wife.