Cultivating a Heart of Service in Your Home
September 12, 2018
It’s easy to find annoyances in others that you spend daily time with. It’s also easy to find the repetiveness of any job or chore annoying. People and tasks become tedious and daunting because they impede on something else you’d rather be doing, even if that’s just sitting on the couch doing nothing.
Being annoyed is annoying. I hate that feeling of frustration when the toilet seat was left up or my freshly folded clothes were tossed all over the ground. I hate when the dog chews up the baby toys and I have to vacuum up hair for the third time in one day. There are a million tiny things that get under my skin and make me roll my eyes.
But most of all, I hate that these tiny things have the power to bother me so much. And I know why they bother me. They bother me because they are inconvenient and frustrating to me. Because now I have to pull the baby’s hands out of the toilet or refold the laundry. I should have power over these things rather than the other way around. I should be able to rise above, brush it off, and happily do what needs to be done.
God calls us to be free from these annoyances. Yes, with the gift of his grace and a mighty act of will on our part we can turn our attitude around and overlook the small annoyances. We can shift our focus and look at them as opportunities to more fully love our family and our work. We can choose to approach it all with a heart of service.
We are commanded to love God and our neighbor equally, without difference. We don’t have to look for the opportunities to fill this command, they’re all around us, twenty-four hours a day. You must open your eyes wide so that you can see the opportunities to give wholehearted, free service right where you are, in your family. If you don’t give such service in your family, you will not be able to give it to those outside your home.Mother Teresa
It takes patience and intentional work to cultivate a heart of service. By taking the time to focus and shift our mindset to reflect the love of Christ we are freed from the restraints of others behavior. We are freed from the daily annoyances that hold us firm in their grasp. Here are a few tips on where to start:
- First, cultivating a heart of service requires a shift from obligation to love. Do you love the people whom you are serving? If you find them difficult to love at any given moment, do you love God enough to serve him in these people? If your love for God is not strong enough to sustain your servants heart then start there. Reflect on God’s love and mercy. Reflect on all the gifts and blessings in your life that come from him. These reflections help lead to a deeper understanding and love of Christ – the more you love him, the more his love will pour out of you into your work and service to others.
- Second, surrender to the work before you. As women we are typically in charge of our homes. The laundry, the dishes, the cleaning, and keeping are all entrusted to us. These are often approached with resentment or dread. What if we focused on surrendering to that large pile of laundry? Or that sink full of dirty dishes? Surrendering means becoming obedient. It means cultivating that spirit of love that you’ve been working on and applying it to things you like least. It takes practice to see a large pile of laundry and smile at it and decide that you are blessed to serve the Lord and your family by surrendering your wants and desires over to this pile of laundry. Even the tiniest act of surrender is a yes to God.
- Third, slow down. Spend time focusing on the people you are serving. Spend time doing the tasks properly and fully. Give whatever it is your best effort because ultimately you are working for the Lord. In a world that is rushed to move from task to task, have the patience to stop and savor the service you are providing. This doesn’t mean you have to go at a snails pace and be unproductive. It simply means you take the time to be intentional and diligent because those you love deserve your effort.
- Finally, seek out ways to serve your family. It slowly becomes a joyful occasion to deny yourself and do what needs to be done for the ones you love. By seeking opportunities to serve, you are placing the needs of your family above the wants of yourself. And because you are doing it for God, and not for man, you will find great peace in the mundane moments of your everyday work. When you seek out service you embrace a spirit of attack. Therefore, it’s no longer something that is happening to you, but something you are choosing to do for your family.
Begin cultivating a spirit of love over obligation. Surrender to the duties at hand and have patience with yourself. Slow down and savor these moments of service – they can be very sweet to the soul. Begin to seek out opportunities to love and serve your family whether it be doing the laundry or running errands.
As your heart softens to the work before you, you will notice a deeper love for those you are serving. You will be able to look past their burdensome qualities and focus more on the gift of serving. As annoyances pop up around you, you will be able to tap in to your heart of service and keep the frustrations at bay. Your will power will increase and on days when you don’t feel joy or love towards the service you’re doing you’ll be able to do it anyway, maybe even with a smile.
The best part is you don’t need to leave your house! A heart of service begins at home and then pours out into the rest of world.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Ephesians 4:2