In all seriousness, there's a lot of wisdom to be found in emulating her diligence and attitude toward her husband and family, and I really do desire to model my life according to the characteristics of this godly woman. Although I was on a great path there for a while, the past few years' circumstances have made this more difficult and I've become discouraged. My prayer, lately, has been that God would help me get back into a good routine of homekeeping, as well as studying his word.
This morning, my toddler alarm clock went off at 5 am. Usually, that's the beginning of two hours of "please lay down", "please be quiet", and sending several other little ones back to bed. However, this morning I felt immediately awakened and refreshed, so I tucked her in snug with Daddy and got up to get dressed.
Yeah, I know. I was shocked too. I'm the girl who prides herself in only doing TWO loads of laundry every day since my little ones and I spend almost every day in our pajamas. I even brushed my hair. Definitely turning over a new leaf.
Anyway--long story short--with breakfast in the oven, I settled down with my Bible to see what God had for me this morning. It was one of those "open it up and see what's inside" moments where I didn't really know what to read---just knew that I needed some encouragement. The kids and I have been studying the early prophets and kings so I meant to read some more about Solomon, but I ended up in Proverbs. (Well, I guess that's Solomon, too, but you know...)
"I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; it's surface was covered with nettles; it's stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man." Proverbs 24: 30-34
This section has a big square drawn round it, though I don't remember when I marked it. It speaks to me on two levels, but let me tell you first what it's not saying. It's not knocking the need for rest. When you look at the Bible as a whole, you find that it's clear we need rest. God even set aside a whole day for it, though few of us actually take the opportunity. What this passage is talking about is slothfulness---laziness.
For a man, laziness brings financial poverty and his family goes without the necessities that bring health, happiness, prosperity, and peace to his household.
For a woman, laziness brings about another kind of poverty that is hard to define in a short and sweet sort of way, but it's something my family has experienced---a place we don't want to go back to. It's more than just having a perpetually messy home or serving my kids ketchup as a vegetable. It's the mindset that tells me it's ok to live like that---the soul that makes excuses and refuses to discipline itself to a higher standard.
In addition to physical slothfulness, this section of Scripture is also addressing spiritual slothfulness---something I'm also too familiar with. God has been extra gracious with me lately, as my desire really has been to be closer and to have my priorities right, even though I've not done such a great job at it the past few years. Anyone who has been pursuing God for awhile knows that he's not the one allowing those thorns and nettles to grow---he'd just as soon burn them all off, but it's me that's got to light the match. (Cue the 90s camp songs: "It only takes a spark...to get a fire go-oh-ing")
So how do we battle this? This is where you all come in. I really want to know how you fight off the lazy monster in your life. For me, it's the Proverbs. I guarantee---if you need someone to give you a swift kick, there's something for every situation in the book of Proverbs. Another thing that helps me is finding encouraging friends. To be real, I don't have a lot of time to leave my home and physically spend time with friends. At this time in my life, I just don't. When I do, I try to choose wisely and make sure my family isn't being inconvenienced. The friends I have understand this and we find ways to be friends anyway---mostly by chatting online while I'm waiting on kids to finish their math or while working on an article and looking for a distraction. Several of my friends have "swift kick" blogs that encourage me to a higher standard. One is my friend, Mrs. White, at The Legacy of Home, another is JES at Strangers & Pilgrims On Earth.
I'd love to hear how you find encouragement to be diligent in your homemaking. Let me know in the comments below!