Melissa is a millennial wife and mom of three residing in rural Southern Ontario, Canada. She is a freelance blogger and writer with many curiosities but a keen interest and passion in the topics of parenting, real estate, and living a Christian life. Between caring for her family as a SAHM and working on writing projects, Melissa enjoys strong cups of hot coffee, quiet time with Jesus, deep conversations and reliving childhood by getting a little silly with her kids! She is currently working on getting her blog up and running, so be sure to watch out for it at www.theproccupiedmom.com. For more information about her writing services, check out www.writingradiance.com.
Where Do You Find Your Peace? The Hidden Mother Idols in Our Homes
I love waking up to a clean kitchen! Don’t you?
I also love the feeling of accomplishment when I am on it with the kid’s school library days, premade dinners, bleachy clean toilets, and laundry that is folded and put away promptly!
When my SAHM Game is strong there is no denying I feel fantastic!
My home is far from picture perfect, but I like to think that on most days I run a tight ship that is organized and mostly clean. With the wind in my sails and my captain’s cap, I find treasure in the house I call home.
My waves sound almost blissful, don’t they? But, if I’m honest, my tides in life turn my bliss quickly over to anxiety in this ocean of motherhood.
Hey mommas, I’m Melissa, and I idolize keeping a clean home.
There is no doubt that idolatry runs rampant in our societies, cultures and yes, even our homes. Idolatry is putting anything in place of God or placing anything higher priority than God. Now, we aren’t necessarily physically bowing down and praising an object or another god. It was a whole lot easier to identify idolatry in Old Testament times, because half the time, worshipping other gods was the norm.
But today, today is different in the sense of idolatry because it can fly just under the radar and if we are not diligent, it will go unnoticed!
And that is what happened to me.
Thankfully someone was able to recognize what I could not see….
There came the point in my life (okay, so maybe a month ago) where I realized it’s ok to ask for help when life gets overwhelming. I was blessed to have a couple of amazing sisters who made sure I did. And I don’t mean just asking for help with the dishes or watching the kids so I can go for a run kind of help.
I’m talking the deeper help, the soul help, the help that we need when we don’t know how to move forward like that next step is a leap that just may swallow me whole.
Recently, I was speaking with a friend, a wise Christian woman who is helping me work through some of the things I find overwhelming in my life — the topic that day: my anxiety and what I do about it.
You guessed it, I clean.
I grew up under the stigma. Don’t talk about it, be strong, keep going, etc., etc.
Suppressing our feelings is like shaking a bottle of pop. For as long as those feelings remain behind tightly closed lips, the bottle shakes and quivers, building up the pressure and awaiting release.
Start opening that bottle cap the tiniest little bit and you bet that baby is going to blow!
So, for years (before salvation) when my gerbil started running, I found something to clean. I told my friend this. I told her because of certain circumstances through the course of my life, when overwhelm hit I used cleaning as my crutch to deal with my worry and anxiety and I still do it.
I explained to her in a justifying tone that this was my survival mechanism; this is how I get through the tough stuff. I guess, deep down I thought that if my home is clean, no one will know how broken I really am. She listened, and as she was looking, I could see she had compassion and understanding for what I was pouring out, but also had a word and once she said it, stopped me dead in my tracks.
Her answer to my justification was along the lines of, sweet sister in Christ, I know you are hurting, but you are finding your peace in the wrong place. Peace is in Christ.
And just like that, I deflated. Of course, my friend was right! My cleaning and serving my family was getting in the way of my most important relationship!
I could spend the whole day putting my home in tip-top shape, have dinner in the oven, maybe even showered and put on makeup. Amazing, what a peaceful thing to enjoy!
Except, those five minutes of peace end all too often as soon as my little loves come off the bus. They come through the door all mud and backpacks, papers and lunches strewed about in a fury and destroying all my efforts.
I am destroying my peace, again! Not them but me! I was putting my hope in a clean home to find peace, not in Christ!
My friend left me with a challenge. It is difficult sometimes but an attainable: do not clean a thing until you have spent time with the Lord. Find peace in Him first, and peace will flow to every other part of my life and my home.
Have I done this?
But I can give myself a little grace knowing that small disciplines when it comes to the Lord and putting Him first, turns to delight in Him and significant heart changes. And let’s say I’m a work in progress but how grateful I am for my friend to show me loving reproof where I needed it! And how thankful I am for the peace that surpasses understanding that only comes from Him!
Mommas, life is overwhelming at times even on a good day! Can I get an Amen?
We can so easily fall into idolatry without even knowing it! It is especially hard when we have a family that relies on us for so many things. Tuning ourselves out for some “me time,” or whatever suits your fancy is easy to justify. And while we can’t abruptly stop doing some of these things, because they are essential some of the time, we need to understand they become idols when they become our dominant importance.
Truths, Lies, Hope
Through my recent understanding of my lost hope, I’ve been able to reflect on this a little deeper. Here are some tips I have found that can help us discover what we may be idolizing, the lies that keep us going back to them and how to get our priorities back in check.
The Mother Idols
Here are two “umbrella idols” that I believe can be hidden priorities in our lives. When I say, “umbrella idols,” I mean that these are things which can encompass a whole bunch of “sub idols” within them.
So, they aren’t the only ones by far! They are broad, and many other more specific things fall under these umbrellas and grasp our attention before God does.
They head to the top of our lists on the daily, whether we want them to or not.
Remember when your 5th-grade teacher told you in multiplication class that you couldn’t carry a calculator around wherever you go?
And here we stand in 2019 with a complicated little gadget that we carry around with us and includes a calculator! Muahaha
But wait, instead of calculating our multiplication table, we figure our likes and shares with bings and pings from our smartphones. Ever following up with each tone only to find ourselves lost in the cringeworthy at times, yet also satisfying world of social media.
Hey girl, you knew this one was tops, right?
I think if we are honest with ourselves, we’ve all made a choice to put social media before any of our other priorities.
But here’s a reality check: God likes you more than anyone on your friend’s list! Serious ladies and He will show you that through His word! Open His word before you open any other app on your phone and the peace you receive will outmatch the posts that didn’t get the likes you expected.
The Duty of Mom
* Bedtime baths and stories
* Oh yeah, spend time with the husband!
Momma’s we love doting on our families and sometimes we don’t, ha! But seriously, we can run the course of a week of insane mom duties without glancing up above to say thanks!
I’ve had my fair share of mom burn out and I know I’m not alone in this one! Obviously, this mom idol is the one I struggle most with, did you catch that I put “cleaning” at the top? (Insert meek and awkward chuckle).
What I want in first place is to spend time with my Lord! But I allow all my other responsibilities to come first. We get caught up in life, it happens, but the result is squashing out God’s place in it, therefore, squashing the chance for His peace to flow out in all those other responsibilities.
I merely do life better when I haven’t forgotten or -stark honesty coming- blatantly disregarded to make time for my relationship with God.
The Lies We Believe
Have I drummed up some thoughts of where your hidden idols may land? If so, you want to lean in close for this next bit, because it’s so crucial in this battle of priorities!
Let’s start with truth, and that is that the evil one is no stranger to our daily life and wants to use it to break down our relationship with the Lord!
As we find ourselves doing other things, we hear the whispers that keep us doing those things before we acknowledge God. They sound like this:
“Is it really idolatry? I mean, it’s not like I’m bowing down and worshipping Candy Crush (or insert whatever other distraction we commit to before the Lord).”
“God knows he is the most important thing in my life; I just need to do this first.”
“I’m swamped today, I can’t possibly fit in a bible reading too, I’ll do it tomorrow.” (subconsciously putting this one on repeat)
Any bells ringing?
These are hard to admit, and even as I wrote them, I realized they are so real in my daily life! But the truth is that when we listen to them, we are giving the evil one a chance at a small victory.
But we know who is victorious!
Ladies, the absolute last thing I want is a more stressful or more jam-packed day! But after sitting on this for a while, praying, repenting and the lot, it doesn’t have to be just another thing on your priority list.
It can be as simple as a quick prayer before your feet hit the floor in the morning. A short devotional reading before breakfast or during breakfast, I mean, why not?
The point is, when we put all our responsibilities or free time toward other things, we lose sight of the grace we have been so freely gifted!
For me, I’ve kept it simple some days, and when I can put more time in, I devote more time to Him. Like I said earlier, I am not doing this perfectly, and I acknowledge I probably never will. But I am putting Him first in my day, and I can tell you my days are flowing much better when my priority is Him!
Can YOU challenge yourself to some time with the Lord before you do your thing?
I encourage you if you find yourself lost in the daily mom shuffle and feeling distraught, look up, you’ll get the peace you’re seeking!
Do you have a similar story? I’d love to hear it! I’d also love to hear your suggestions to combating mother idols!
Thank you, Melissa! Just the sort of encouragement I needed today.
Thank you Crystal for giving this a read and for encouraging Melissa.
What an excellent perspective it is indeed.
Which mother idol would you say you struggle with?
What are your tips for refocusing on God when you feel distracted and tense?