Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Putting Heartwork Before Housework

Happy New Year, friends! I hope your year is getting off to a great start! If there's one thing I can say about 2014 so far for my family, it's to expect the unexpected and roll with it! Well, that's life isn't it?

I know many of you are in "New Year's Resolution Mode" and if that includes getting your house organized and decluttered, I want to remind you of my free "ebook" composed of daily blog posts here at Simple Home Managing. It is called The Intentional Home: A seven week guide to a clean and clutter-free home and how to keep it that way. Click here to go to the Table of Contents.

One thought that I felt God impress upon me today as I paused to spend time in His word and pray is I need to put "heartwork" before "housework". I do enjoy a clean and organized home (most of the time) but even with my efforts, it still can become burdensome. After all, the laundry is really never done, the meals all cooked or dishes done. It is a never ending cycle. I find if I don't spend time with God daily, in other words spend some time doing some "heartwork", then I can guarantee that my attitude about housework and life in general will suffer.

What does it mean to do "heartwork"? It might mean something different to you, but to me it means taking time to refresh my soul. Most importantly, spending time reading His word and in prayer, really just being with God. Here is what I've learned about doing "heartwork", I can't rely on anyone else to do it for me. Weekly Bible studies are great and so are inspiring sermons, but I find that real "heartwork" happens when I spend time in real relationship with God on a personal level. Also, as a mom or really at any stage of life, life will get in the way and you will miss that sermon or Bible study. Just like today, I missed my precious prayer time with sweet moms because my darling girl is sick. That prayer time with friends is great "heartwork" for me, but I can still spend time in prayer and letting God fill my cup even if I don't get to do it with fellow believers.

How do I make sure that I get my "heartwork" done everyday? Really, it's just like so many things in life, "heartwork" takes being intentional. If I am not intentional about laundry, then it's going to pile up and I'm going to have a lot of work to do to catch up. If I'm not intentional about doing "heartwork", then I am going to let the stresses of life pile up and I am going to feel burdened. The first step is being intentional about "heartwork".

The second step of making sure to get my "heartwork" done everyday is having a plan. If I just expect myself to get all the housework done without a plan, then it will never get done. I will bounce from one thing to another without accomplishing anything. If I expect my "heartwork" to get done without a plan, the distractions of life will get in the way and it will not happen consistently. I must decide when to do my "heartwork". I find that putting it at the first part of my day is the best way to start my day and insure it gets done. Spending time in relationship with the One who fills my cup and gives me joy, can only spill over into the rest of my day. So, for me, I must be intentional about reading my Bible and praying first thing in the morning.

Second, I find that having a Bible reading plan really helps me be consistent. Even setting a goal like reading three or seven chapters a day, reading one Proverb a day for each day of the month or something more challenging like reading the Bible in 90 days. The options are endless, but I am not enough of a Bible scholar and much too easily distracted to be consistent without a plan. There are also many wonderful devotionals out there that point you to scripture like Jesus Calling. In addition to time in His word, I like to read encouraging blogs in the morning or anytime throughout the day like I Take Joy, Gracelaced and A Holy Experience.

As a third part to "heartwork", I must let God work in my life. It is still not enough to spend time with Him in the morning, if I just leave Him and start my day just how I please. I must take the "heartwork" I've done in the morning with me and let Him work on me all day and this can feel like work at times. I must listen to that "small still voice" and obey Him even when it goes against my earthly nature. I find that I am much more aware of His presence and will for me throughout the day if I've done my "heartwork" in the morning, so these two go hand in hand. But, alas, I will mess up many many times and His grace will always cover me. And that my friends is the real reason I need a daily dose of "heartwork" just like my house needs a daily dose of "housework" or it will become a big mess! 

Like so many of my blog posts, I write them to hopefully encourage you, but also to remind myself of what God is revealing to me through this season of my life. I find that I can even encourage myself when I am letting the burdens of life overpower me. So, this year my plan is to be intentional about "heartwork" and let God do the rest! I have a feeling if I do that then I will have a joy-filled year no matter what life throws my way!

Blessings to you in this new year!

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