Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Dream Conference at Redemption World Outreach Church. The conference speakers included Pastor Hope Carpenter, Apostle Ron Carpenter, Dr. Cindy Trimm, Dr. Marilyn Hickey, Pastor Kim Lyons, and Pastor Jacqueline Tirado.
Sunday morning, the guest of honor was Dr. Marilyn Hickey, a “General in the Faith” as they call her. Now, I usually appreciate people stepping on my toes. After all, I’m a Christian development & lifestyle coach. In case you’re not familiar, coaching is all about taking revelation information about yourself and using it to create amazing results in your life.
I’m more than willing to sit through some toe-crunching truth as long as it’ll make me better. And, so, in usual fashion, I burst through the church doors like, “Lay it on me, General Hickey!”
The Truth Must Be Told
But on Sunday, Dr. Hickey’s words stung more than usual.
She said (and I paraphrase):
“I was praying for people, seeing people get healed, and I’d walk in the door excited to tell my husband, to which he would reply, ‘That’s great, Marilyn, but there’s no food in the fridge and no clean laundry. Remain balanced.’”
Even though she didn’t belabor the point, her toe-stepping words felt more like a toe-stabbing. I sat there feeling sorry for myself and a bit like a loser. I failed to mention in my previous article that I was actually worse than Martha because all my busyness took place outside the home.
Not only did Dr. Hickey stab my toe, she stabbed the stubbed one. In all my efforts to be amazing, many days I felt like I was drowning at home. My household chores always seem to carry over to tomorrow’s to-do list. If the laundry was washed and folded, it wasn’t put away (toe-stub). If I was patient during homework, dinner and bath time, I was too tired for bedtime stories (toe-stub). If I spent time making a healthy and delicious meal, I was too exhausted to clean up the kitchen afterward (uhh toe-stub).
Treat ‘Home’ as Your First Ministry (1 Tim. 3).
So, when Dr. Hickey reminded me that my home is my first ministry, it hurt but it was exactly what I needed to hear.
She didn’t know this, but I was exhausted and embarrassed from desperately stuffing things into corners or reciting the tired “Please excuse my house,” spiel whenever someone stopped by.
I was also done with the guilt that crept up my neck as I sped through school zones on the way to school (Lord, forgive me) or every time my daughter asked, “Are we late, again?”
I knew the Bible said that we should do everything as if we were doing it for God, but the truth was, I wasn’t thinking about God after dinner. I was thinking about peace, quiet, a few recordings of Judge Judy and a hot bubble bath!
I’m not bashing personal time because we cannot serve others from an empty cup, but what I am alluding to is balance.
Are you making time to do what’s important? Do you have a lot of idle time? Are you properly preparing for tomorrow?
Do everything for God (Col. 3:23-25, MSG).
Just as I display God in my writing, speaking, and coaching, in the same way, my marriage, parenting, organization, cleanliness, and timeliness also depicts the face of God. I can’t be so busy in my efforts to save the world that I neglect loving the people God has appointed me to care for.
Now, occasionally, my husband’s going to open the door to a pot boiling over, kids with messy faces, and my hair looking like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. It is what it is. But, why shouldn’t I do everything I can to ensure that when he pulls into the driveway, relieved to be home, he walks into a door where dinner is prepared, homework is done, and his 3 favorite girls are eager to love on him? We should all release a sigh of relief when we come home, not one of exasperation.
Similarly, I want my daughters to see Jesus in the home I make for them. Rushing all the time, clean clothes that live in the dryer, unable to find anything ever!!, and a Mom too tired for playtime and snuggles is not the childhood I want them to have. And, I definitely don’t want my grandchildren or great-grandchildren wondering why they’re never prepared, on-time, or can’t seem to live a life of order. Sins are generational, you know.
Look like Jesus (1 John 2:6, MSG).
Does this all sound a bit too unrealistic to you? Do you feel the urge to say, “Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s okay (and definitely not a sin) to leave the dishes dirty every now and again.”
I agree with you. There are times when housework shouldn’t be the priority and lil’ Susie will be okay without a bedtime story every night. But, when every now and again becomes habitual because we are unbalanced, that’s not okay.
Remember, Jesus is our standard. And, Dr. Hickey reminded me that Jesus was balanced. In the four gospels, He is portrayed as a King (Matthew), a servant (Mark), the Son of God (Luke), and the Son of man (John). He knows how to lead and how to work. Jesus is spiritual and He is relational. He’s not too far right or too far left.
Chances are, if your house is a wreck, you can’t ever find anything, and you’re always late…your mind is a wreck, you’re not cracking open your Bible daily, and you’re always late to church. As much as we try to keep our earthly lives and our relationship with God separate, everything is connected.
So, What’s the play call?
In the words of Dottie Peoples, “Get your house in order” – your physical house and your spiritual house. When Jesus comes back, He’s going to look at what we did with what He gave us.
Did we take good care of it? Did we manage it well? Did we use those things to bring Him glory?
Let us know in the comments which area(s) you’re struggling in so that we can pray for wisdom, balance, and for God to show you what His priorities are for your life.