One of the most frequent questions I get is about how to maintain order in your home (as a matter of fact, a buyer’s agent showing our house recently asked our realtor if I was for hire – lol!).

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the benefits of living in an orderly home. A home that is tidy and inviting pushes back the chaos of the harried world just outside the door. It can invite peace.

So, how can we establish “order that invites peace”?

The answer will be different for every woman. I have a friend who has said to me, “I sometimes stop and think ‘What would Julia do?'”

My sweet friend is such a spontaneous and fun person. Her personality is one of light and freedom and playfulness. Yet she thinks and feels deeply – and has such wisdom and insight! There are a lot of times I ask myself, “What would she do?”

The trouble I have in asking this question is that it misdirects a true desire to do what will honor Jesus. Instead of comparing myself to him, I start looking at other women and thinking I should be like them. But I am only ever called to be an imitator of Christ – to become more and more Christlike.

In 2 Corinthians 10: 12, Paul writes, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” In context, Paul is defending his ministry against those who would discredit him based upon horizontal comparisons.

I do that!

I discredit my own calling and influence by comparing myself – my gifts, talents, personality, appearance, and even my calling – to others. Horizontal comparison robs me of faith, replacing it with feelings of failure. But when I focus on imitating Christ, I choose significance over shame. And I gain an understanding of what Christ can do in and through me because he created me for these good works (Ephesians 2:10).

Here’s the tricky part: I write about different ways to organize a home, relate to others, and to understand how God is working in our lives. Obviously, I think I’ve stumbled on some ideas worth imitating – and lots of folks who spend time with me or in my home agree.

So here’s my suggestion: look at what I do and ask yourself, “Will adopting this idea will direct me in a more God-ward direction?” If the answer is, “No,” please delete and move on with no feelings of guilt.

Still, some of you are asking, “What is your advice about maintaining order in the home?”

Here’s what I tell folks with whom I consult one-on-one: Start by understanding who you are uniquely created to be. Look honestly at the home in which you live, the people with whom you share it, and the resources with which you have to work. Until you embrace these things with contentment you’ll never find a system that works for you. 

Under the category of posts called “Executing Grace” on this blog I offer ideas of what we are trying in our house in areas like household management, child training, functional organization, and practical advice for schedules, but I hope you’ll think of it as a buffet. Pick a little of this and a little of that until you get your plate full of just what suits you. Then pray over that plate before you dig in.

I chose the term “executing grace” because it has a twofold meaning:

  • Done well, I am executing a plan and using organizational tools which allow me to express grace to those around me.
  • Done poorly, I am executing – as in killing, chopping the head off of, shooting dead in the streets – grace.

Ultimately I must answer the question, “How will I execute grace today?”