Living alone for awhile makes you old and grumpy. Maybe that’s not true. But being home this year I realised that I have become rather set in my ways. Apparently I’m inflexible, especially in the mornings. I wake up just on time for work and any errands or requests of “can you just…” are unwelcome. I like to eat the same breakfasts and become irritated when I can’t calculate the exact number of bananas remaining because other family members have gobbled them all up. I don’t like conversations before work and especially don’t appreciate comments on what I should wear, or how I can make my hair neater. Of course, throughout the year I had to allow some changes to my morning routine.
I don’t know how mum amazingly gets up around the same time and often cooks breakfasts, packs my sister’s lunch, gets herself and my sister ready for the day, all the while being rather relaxed and willing to chat about anything. Something to aspire to for when I’m in my fifties, ha!
Family life is messy. You can never plan your time neatly because there are always interruptions here and there. The laundry and dishes pile is endless (and you can’t put them off), and the food requirements for a family are far beyond what you would need to think about when you’re cooking for one. Children need to be picked up and dropped off to this and that. Everyone’s problems becomes your problems, and your problems become theirs too. Talking and communication takes time and effort. It can be frustrating and takes a lot of getting used to.
I’m grateful for an auntie at church who spoke truth into my life, without me saying much about my family life. She gave me a timely reminder that home life is part of being “equipped”. That those who can be trusted with very little, can also be trusted with much (Luke 16:10).
If I want to only do my own thing, how is that preparing myself to have my own family (if the time comes)? If I can’t help out at home, how is that training myself to be reliable for ministry in God’s house? If I’m rude and unforgiving at home, how would I show grace to those who are less lovable? If I’m stingy towards my own family, what makes me think that I might be generous towards outsiders? I think as Christians we often have an idea that we might like to serve God in a spectacular way, to make an impact, but forget to be faithful in the small things, in the really really mundane things that seem too small even for God.
But it’s hard. Nevertheless, let’s strive to keep loving, keep serving where we are.
Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) – 1 Timothy 3:2-5