I wonder, do you have a room in your house that is not working for you right now? A room that is just not helping you or your family, that is dragging you down, not building you up?
(Well, we kindof still do, but it’s getting better and something exciting happened recently.)
For a while, we let that (small, slightly dark) room be a storage room (yes, I really mean a dumping ground!). And that wasn’t a bad decision for that phase of our parenting journey. In fact, I think it was a good decision for that super busy time and season.
Because having a designated “messy room” or “messy cupboard” really does help me keep the rest of the house tidy-er (!)
But that strategy had stopped working for us, and my husband and I decided we wanted to reclaim this room as an office.
There was only a little problem ….. everytime we found some (precious) time to tackle that room together we ended up disagreeing:
- getting distracted by something we found in one of the piles in that room,
- trying to impose our own wishes or agenda or priorities on each other, and
- panicking about whatever out-of-date paperwork we discovered (and dealing with the emotions this brings!)
The truth is, we’re both ever-so-slightly disorganised but in very different, contrasting ways. It is so easy to see the splinter in my husband’s organisation and overlook the plank in my own.
And when we spent time in this room, together, we would end up telling each other the “fixes” to each others’ problems. Which is never very pleasant to hear!
So our progress stalled, and we both became a little fearful of doing anything proactive about that room. We didn’t even go into it much. And especially not together.
Because, you know, who wants to hear correction and criticism?
And then…. And then we decided something had to change. And I decided to employ a different strategy.
I prayed about that room.
I prayed in that room.
I committed to working towards God’s vision for that room, trusting God’s vision would serve our family well.
I knew I needed to look to the positive, and ignore the negative (at least temporarily).
So I took a big bit of paper and started writing out phrases like
- “this room is going to feel like ….”,
- “this room is going to help us do ……”,
- “when we’re in this room, we’re going to see ….”.
I brought this paper to my husband and we both wrote lots of different words for each of the phrases. We painted a really wonderful, joyful, lovely picture with our words.
And then nothing happened.
Life got busy again.
And still nothing was moving in this room. Every so often I’d climb in over the piles and pray, but that was it. It felt sooo difficult to tidy up even just one item. Or dust a single shelf.
And then I asked my husband to commit in joining me, every day, for a super short prayer in this room. And sometimes we’d look at our “vision” paper with our phrases on it, and sometimes we wouldn’t.
And this went on, for one week, two weeks…
And then I found some time to do an incomplete tidying-burst in the room.
And then progress stalled. Worse, the room got even messier! And although this really did pain me, we managed to keep up our daily mini-prayer. And I asked a couple of people to pray for us to be able to tidy this room.
And THEN, one day, when I was busy downstairs with the children, my husband smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye, saying “the Holy Spirit is in our office”. As my husband does not usually make comments like this, I thought he was joking and didn’t pay much attention.
But then… my husband suddenly started some proactive tidying. And then suddenly I found it easy to go in and do a little tidying everytime I passed.
And then things started moving, and the place was somehow clear enough for me to do a deep clean. A really joyful, basin-of-hot water and scrubbing deep clean as the kids somehow (miraculously) managed to play around me.
So satisfying. Maybe my husband is right, the Holy Spirit is in our office 🙂
Please do not misunderstand me, we still have a lot to do, but we were at a complete stand-still and now we’re moving, consistently, with momentum, towards the vision we wrote out on that humble piece of paper.
Moving in the right direction is so wonderful!
So, if there is a room in your house that feels slightly stuck, I’m praying for you today, lovely reader, for the Holy Spirit to gift you some momentum.
P.S. This might be a far-fetched link, but I think it can sometimes work to approach our parenting in a similar way to the above “office journey” …. When we meet behaviour and problems we do not like, exciting things can happen when we let go of the negative (at least temporarily) and write out and clarify the vision we want to work towards. By staying focussed on the positive goal, rather than continually correcting the negative, we can find joy as we strive towards all the good our family can be and become.
If you enjoy reading my articles, please CLICK HERE to get future articles delivered by email.