In my post “Living in a Barn” I made the statement:

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 invites 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.”  [ESV, emphasis mine.]  In context, he’s 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).

Look at what I do and ask yourself if adopting that idea will direct you in a more God-ward direction.  And if not – PLEASE! – hit delete.

So my answer to the question about maintaining order in your home?

Start by seeking to understand 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.

I will offer ideas of what we are trying in our house.  But 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.

Posts categorized “Executing Grace” will have household, child training, functional, or practical advice.  I chose the term “executing grace” because it has a two-fold meaning:

  • Done well, I am executing a plan and using organizational tools 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.

It’s a showdown.

image(c) by James G. Howes, 2008, used with permission.

And the winner of the duel is the answer to my daily question: How will I “execute grace” today?