My Battle with Being “Busy at Home” {Part 1 of the Busy at Home Series}

{This is Part 1 of 4 of my Busy at Home series. Each post is about spiritual aspects of managing your household well. This week, I’m sharing how God changed my heart on this topic.}


Then [older women] can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:4-5 NIV

Did you know the Bible directs us to be good housekeepers? When I first noticed this verse, I was in my early 20’s and living in my first apartment. I remember thinking, “I’m too busy everywhere else to be busy at home, too!” I was overloaded with credit hours in college, working part-time, and completing community service for scholarship requirements. Plus I was volunteering in several roles at church with heavy time requirements.

Part 1 of the Busy at Home Series at Grace to Soar- What does the Bible say about housekeeping?

 

Battling to Accept Its Importance

The phrase “busy at home” stuck with me, though. It briefly crossed my mind after I got married, but I still didn’t pay much attention to that direction in God’s word. I was career-oriented with big dreams and loads of ambition. I had no time in my schedule for housekeeping. I was working 60-70 hours a week trying to be the best and get noticed for it.

It’s shameful to me now, but I pridefully refused to be relegated to a housekeeper. It made me think of the impeccable stay at home moms on the black-and-white television shows. That was not the life I wanted at all. I wanted to change the world, not clean my bathroom. (Actually, the previous sentence is still true!) My career was more important than cooking, cleaning, and organizing. Those things were rushed through on the weekend, if they were completed at all. My home was a mess. My car was a mess. In a lot of ways, my entire life was a mess.

I wanted to change the world, not clean my bathroom!

Essentially, I just didn’t think being busy at home was important. My roles everywhere else were more important to me than my roles at home.

Somewhere along the way, through conversations with my husband and through the working of the Holy Spirit, it began to bother me that my home was not orderly. I would talk myself out of inviting people over, because it would take too much work to clean up the house. I would look towards the full sink with guilt. I was endlessly frustrated looking for an outfit to wear.

I need to be clear here, even though it’s embarrassing. I’m not talking about clothes thrown onto a chair or last night’s dishes in the sink; I think that’s just part of balancing a household. Other ways of loving your family take priority over cleaning the house. What I’m talking about is piles of clothes blocking the path to the bed, a vile smell rising from the week’s worth of dishes in the sink, and having nowhere in the house to even sit down.

Titus 2:4 Titus 2:5 What part does housekeeping play in the Christian life?

Battling to Be Consistent

Changing my terrible housekeeping habits has been one of the major struggles of my life. I know that my spirit is more peaceful when things are tidy and clean. I know that life flows more smoothly when clean dishes and clothes are readily available. But it’s so hard to keep it all up.

Everything is more important to me than cleaning. My default mode is to ignore cleaning until I can’t anymore.

I found FlyLady on the internet and embraced her style. She helped me to declutter and establish some basic routines. I wouldn’t say I ever fully worked her system, but I used a great deal of her ideas to help me be more consistent.

It’s still a struggle, friends. I can’t claim complete victory, but I have made significant progress.

I can (almost always) invite friends over at a moment’s notice. My family has a variety of clean clothes to choose from (even if they’re folded in a laundry basket) and there’s (usually) not trash cans overflowing in every room of the house. For me, that’s major progress. I’m not naive enough to think I’ve done this on my own. God has helped me become more consistent in this area which helps me to understand that housekeeping is important to God.

Priorities: Housekeeping is Important, but Not of Ultimate Importance

My intended audience for this post is not women who are cleaning too much, instead it’s women (like me) who have trouble cleaning at all!  Let’s be careful not to go to the other extreme, either.

I want to make sure you hear me on this: Your family is more important than housekeeping!

If I’m trying to fold a load of laundry and my little boy invites me to play, I stop and play. If I’m trying to put away the dishes from the dishwasher and my husband begins a serious conversation, I stop and listen.

A main purpose in keeping a clean home is to love on our family. We would not be accomplishing our ultimate goal if we began to ignore our family’s needs in order to keep a spotless home. Work towards balance, not perfection.

Spending time with God, praying and studying His word is also more important than housekeeping. Do not neglect time with God in order to maintain an immaculate home. Remember the story of Mary and Martha?

Read more about housekeeping and its part in the Christian life at gracetosoar.com

Examining that Phrase

The verses that started this change in my heart are Titus 2:4-5. I tried to ignore the “busy at home” part and focus on the “loving my husband” part. But it turns out, my husband feels loved when his home is a peaceful place to be. I can no longer deny the connection between being busy at home and loving my husband.

As we seek to live out the Bible’s commands, we can’t ignore the part about housekeeping.

Just in case you’re not convinced that “busy at home” means housekeeping, let’s look at how different versions interpret that phrase:

NIV: busy at home
KJV: be keepers at home
HCSB: be homemakers
NLT: to work in their homes
ESV: working at home
ISV: to manage their households

Our most important roles in the bible are to love our husband and kids; one of the ways we do that is to manage our household well.  Our priority can’t be to pursue a career, notoriety, or wealth. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to grow a career, ministry, or platform as long as we keep in its rightful order: after our family.


This month’s focus at Grace to Soar is on housekeeping and its role in following Jesus. In your opinion, what else is involved in housekeeping besides cleaning? Which parts do you struggle with the most?

27 thoughts on “My Battle with Being “Busy at Home” {Part 1 of the Busy at Home Series}

  1. Keeping my mind uncluttered so that I can focus on my family and not be distracted by the “list in my head”. Taking my worries and burdens to God and stacking them up at His feet rather than piling them up in my heart.

    1. Having stuff “hanging over your head” is the worst. I hate it, too.

      Both of the things you mentioned are so important. You recognize your priorities and that is to be celebrated! Quality family time is always more important than crossing off an item on my checklist, but the temptation to “finish just one more thing” can be so strong.

    1. Me too! I totally understand. Praying about it and surrendering my time, schedule, and to-do list to God minute by minute has been extremely helpful for me. Please keep reading the series over the next month; I’ll be sharing more tips about this.

  2. Love the reminder and the challenge here. Thanks Beka! To answer your two questions, I’d say “busy at home” would include spending quality time with our kids and husbands, cooking, showing hospitality, helping with homework, meal planning, grocery shopping, keeping our family in well fitting clothing, budgeting, family devotions, really any work that promotes the quality function of our home environments.
    Hands down, my biggest struggle = laundry. It’s the bane of my existence! No matter how hard I try it’s never ever “caught up” for more than one day. They all just keep on wearing clothes! 🙂

    1. Hahaha! What is up with that?!

      Your list of activities is solid. I agree with you wholeheartedly! Anything that keeps our home (and lives) functioning well is included.

  3. Wow! So much in this post speaking to me. I am fighting the housekeeping stuff right now with so many others things on my plate taking priority.

    Yet, we can also look at the Proverbs 31 woman and see that she was constantly working for the good of her family. I must admit one of the silver linings of my pending move across the country to an area where we’ll most likely have a much smaller home is that means LESS to manage. Of course, I’m having a hard time deciding which of my ‘treasures’ should make the move and actually getting more stuff gone.

  4. This is an interesting verse. I pretty much reacted the same way when I heard it. It took me a while to fully embrace it. I guess I still struggle sometimes. I know I can find ways to do better, but I do enjoy loving on my family. I love how you showed all the translations!

  5. So wonderfully written, Beka, this can be a struggle especially when we are working and have small children, and with the tag of responsibilities, motivation to keep up with a home becomes a tough dreaded task.You shared some very inspiring thoughts and you were so honest that it was very helpful 🙂

  6. Wow! I never thought of my housekeeping duties as something particularly virtuous. Thanks for the insight. Also, I’m totally with you on not wanting to clean the toilets.

  7. What a wonderful reminder today that housework IS Kingdom work. It’s easy to lose sight of that in our desire to feel needed and important. Ministering to our families is truly a high calling. God sees every effort and it blesses Him. <3

    1. Oh Cathy, your words are so true! We feel like we’re missing out on the important stuff to be busy at home- but it’s important too.

  8. Beka, I love how well balanced you wrote on this topic, based on Biblical instruction! Thank you for the encouragement. I’ve seen those verses before and never really paid attention to the staying busy at home part. I’m am already busy at home, but now have a different and new appreciation for it, as I realize I’m fulfilling part of my calling as a woman of God. I know how much it meant to me growing up that I lived in an orderly household, and sometimes I forget that all those duties really mean a lot to my family, whether I realize all the time, or not.

    1. Christina, thank you for sharing what it meant to you as a child. That’s an interesting perspective on this topic. And I’m so glad that you can work with a new appreciation for your labor 😊

  9. This is so great, Beka! I’ve also struggled with keeping on top of the housework and finding balance; I either let certain things go for too long or become obsessed about others to the point that I neglect my family. Thanks for the reminder that one of the ways we love our kids and husband is to manage our household well. 🙂

    1. Thanks Marisa! It’s easy to go back and forth between those extremes, especially for busy mamas. What gets done is usually the most urgent!

  10. Beka this is such a great post, full of good nuggets of wisdom!

    I believe our attitude and the tone we set in our homes matters too, as we are keeping our homes.

    I struggle with distractions which then leads to inconsistency in my work at home. Working on this!

  11. Hello Beka!
    I am so happy that I found a current writer talking about the same problems, issues and struggles I’m going through.
    Honestly, I’ve been going through this since I was a little girl.
    I’m messy.
    I’m overwhelmed.
    I’m adhd.
    I’m unhappy with myself.
    I’m ashamed of my home.
    I don’t know where to begin, how to begin or even how to stay committed to even the smallest homemaking task.
    But
    Oh, how I Love Jesus!
    Oh, how Thankful I Am To God for a loving and accepting husband, two sons that love their mama and a home.
    I just can’t understand why I’m this badly dysfunctional in my homemaking if my heart is right with God.
    My home, in truth, is horrible. And I’m not just talking about a little mess or a little unorganized.. I’m serious when I say… every single room, every single area, every single space is messy, cluttered, unclean and unorganized.
    And I’m tired of being this way.
    A Google search lead me to your site.
    Yesterday I read your homemaking series, I noticed it was written recently.. and this morning (I bookmarked your page) I read it again.
    I’ve always known there was a connection between my heart and soul with my mess… I just couldn’t connect how a woman like me who prays daily, reads my Bible, loves devotions… can be this dysfunctional.. be this messy.. be so cluttered.
    I’ve talked with my husband many many many.. did I say many.. Yes numerous times.. to try and figure out why I am like this, how I can change, how God can and will change me, how the chaos of our home is a reflection of either my mind or my heart or even my spirit.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed the scripture:

    Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

    My husband really thinks I need to hire someone to help me because the chaos feeds my depression which make the fibromyalgia hurt, which makes me shut completely down and then the guilt and the shame overwhelms me. We really can’t afford to hire someone and truth be known, I just can’t imagine letting an outsider in to see my mess.
    My prayer has been

    God, please help me clean my house. Help me clean and organize this beautiful home you have blessed me and my precious family with. I want YOU to help me God.. just You, because I want to be able to.. once my home is clean.. give all the praise just to You because You are the only One Who can help me. Help me to desire to clean daily, even the smallest act of washing clothes or unloading the dishwasher. I just know heaven is clean, God, help me to create a home that my family can feel Peace, Order, Relaxation and Joy but mostly please help me to create a home that my family can feel how much I Love You God, how much I Love My Family and how Thankful I am for all of this. I know Lord, You can fix whatever is not right in me. I pray if there is something not right in my heart or in my mind, You clean it out, You replace it with Your love. My life is Yours God, every single part of it. Thank You God, that I know You. Thank You God for every single thing You’ve done and every single thing You are going to do and everything You are doing right now, that i can’t even see yet. I can already see a beautiful home. I can already, in my heart, see You help me. I pray that You move me to finish the great works You’ve given me. This is a huge testimony that i will fully give You the praise for.. and i give You all the praise even now as look at my mess and share my prayer with these sisters in Christ that i do not even know. Bless them Father. Bless them as they, like me, struggle to get better at homemaking. Thank You God for directing me to Beka. I pray You use her in a mighty way to help ladies like me to see the spiritual aspect of a clean home.
    In The Holy Precious Name Of Jesus Christ I Pray, Amen.
    So be it.

    I’m just so ready and so sure God is going to help me. Maybe I need to blog about this. I know if this is happening to me, it’s happening to many many more Ladies, Wives and Moms. And if I’m desperately seeking God and googling how this all connects and what the Bible directs us to do.. then it has to be for a bigger will and purpose that will bring Glory to God.

    Thank you Beka for listening to my heart today. It’s Father’s Day and I’m sure my husband will be disappointed if I don’t go get him a present. He’s a good, hardworking, loving, accepting, forgiving, helpful man and he’s even more amazing at being a Daddy to our 15 and 10 year old sons! I am blessed. I’m just a mess. But, God can change my mess into a masterpiece for His glory..I just believe it with all my heart!!

    Have A Beautiful Sunday!
    God Bless You!

    Sincerely,
    Sherry

    1. Oh sweet Sherry,

      I wish I could hug you in person. This battle is so hard and it is full of shame and guilt. I have traveled this road and many others have too. You are NOT alone. If this series has taught me anything, it is that there are many of us messies trying to live for Jesus, yet feeling defeated in our housekeeping. The posts in this series have been viewed way more times than a typical post here.

      Thank you for your beautiful prayer. Your heart and devotion to Jesus come through so clearly in your words.

      It sounds like you have many obstacles in your way to a cleaner home. Depression alone can be debilitating, but add in fibromyalgia and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for you. Praise God that He can help us do hard things! God can redeem anything, even a messy home!

      I’m praying for you and will keep it up. This matters to God! And that’s good news because when He wants us to do something, He helps us to do it!

      I’d love to keep cheering you on along this journey! Please reach out to me through email whenever you want! beka@gracetosoar.com

  12. Hi Beka, thanks for this. I’ve always felt housekeeping is for full time home makers but I haven’t worked for over a year now and do not feel like I’m making any positive contribution to my family how much more God’s Kingdom by making sure my home is clean. I don’t struggle so much with it but just feel most times that I use that as an excuse not to get out there and really look for a job. I feel I probably will be valued more if I contributed my qouta financially instead of staying home, keeping the house clean and caring for my 12 month old son(reason I lost my job). Don’t get me wrong, I love my son to heaven and back and will give up any job just to see his smile but just feel that there’s more I should be doing.

    That said, I’m grateful for your write up cos the next time I clean, I’d keep in mind that I am actually carrying out a Kingdom assignment. ☺

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