I've been reading a simple, yet challenging book called "Feminine Appeal" on the roles of women. It is based on Titus 2:4-5 that calls for young 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."
There's a whole bunch of stuff in that passage that might make a few of us uncomfortable. I'll save the "be subject to our husbands" discussion for another day. I was actually curious, as a SAHM (stay at home mom), to know the meaning of the phrase "to be busy at home." After studying this passage, with the help of commentary from "Feminine Appeal," I learned that as women, we are called to make the home a beautiful, warm and inviting place where our husbands and children feel safe and loved. We have been created as women to fulfill this role and enjoy it. That didn't sound as confining or derogatory as I expected. It actually sounded like a wonderful outlet for creativity.
But in order to make the home a warm and inviting place where our husband, children and own selves can feel loved, restful and safe, we must make the home a priority. This means that other activities, like lunches and coffees with friends, playgroups, music class, work (for those working moms!), exercise, shopping, parties, or whatever activities fill your calendar...must take a backseat to the home. I'm not saying these activities are bad things...by no means, we need them! But in order to make the home a warm and inviting place for my husband and children, the home must come before those other things.
I found it helpful to ask the following question before making any commitment:
* How will this benefit my husband and children?
For example, 0n a good day, exercise will make me feel energized and upbeat, which is great for my husband and my son. But on a day when I haven't had much sleep or am just feeling lethargic, though exercise may be something I feel I should do to stay trim and look good, I know I will be exhausted by the time my husband comes home, with little energy to give him or my son. In the latter case, exercise is a selfish choice, where I put my needs first and that negatively affects my husband and son.
So maybe not all of you are exercise-aholics like myself and can't relate to that example. Let's try another: TV. I LOVE the Food Network, HGTV, and an occasional show like The Biggest Loser. :) During one of Marshall's nap times, I sometimes watch one of my favorite shows to relax and "veg out." Let's ask: how will this benefit my husband and son? On one day, lying on the sofa and watching a 30 minute show may actually refresh me before my hubby gets home. But on another day, when I haven't had my devotional time with God or planned dinner for that night, I will actually just feel stressed about dinner and guilt-ridden that I didn't have a devo time after watching the show. You see what I mean?
I get that this can easily become legalistic. But the goal here is to prioritize your commitments around your home and your family. They must come before friends, extended family, exercise, shopping, playdates, etc. As a SAHM, it's easy to fill our days with activities just to get us out of the house and interact with other adults. And that is usually a healthy need. But I've often found myself booking my week so full of social activities (or busy-body errands) that by the time Jim gets home, I'm irritable, tired and don't feel like talking to anyone, even my sweet hubby. Titus 2 has challenged me to realize that being "busy at home" means making my family and my home first priority.