How to Create a Peaceful Home during a Pandemic
The world is crazy and chaotic right now. Amen? But does that mean that we have to be? That our homes have to be? How can we create and maintain a peaceful home amidst chaos?
As mamas, we set the thermostat for our homes and families. We need to make sure our own minds are free of cluttered chaos, garbage that just shouldn’t be allowed to share space in our brains, or to nestle itself in our hearts and homes.
Let’s commit to taking the following steps together for creating a peaceful home amidst chaos.
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1. Remember That True Contentment Doesn’t Rely on our Circumstances
First things first, we have to talk about the need to fill our voids, and how the things of this earth will never satisfy or give us that true joy! It is so important to stop telling ourselves, “If I ______, then life will be better.”
Even if our circumstances never change, we still have a God who is worthy to be praised. We always have a reason to have joy! We might have to look hard, but joy can be found when we focus on Jesus.
Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” When our source is Jesus, then the world will never fill us.
I’ve tried several things during this lockdown. I’ve tried baking and eating, binging sappy love stories, escaping into a good book or two, hiding in my closet, and hiding in the pantry.
While those things are fun, emotional eating really just creates more problems than it is worth. I’ve gained some extra weight, and now I have to deal with that.
Binging sappy love stories didn’t help because I couldn’t start them until after the kids went to bed so I was staying up too late.
Escaping into a book isn’t bad, in theory, unless it has you staying up too late or ignoring your kiddos (and unless you have a live-in nanny, I don’t recommend leaving your kids unattended).
Hiding in my closet and the pantry just led the kids to me whenever they needed another snack. I knew I had to find a way to stop escaping reality and to find true rest. Which brings me to #2…..
2. True Rest vs. Escaping
Definitions of Rest: to cease movement in order to relax, or to allow to be inactive in order to regain strength, health, or energy.
Definition of Escape: to run away from, to evade, to avoid.
There is definitely a difference between those two words. Escaping seems easier, but resting has better benefits.
Escaping, for me, is usually based in unhealthy patterns. But blessed rest comes from healthy rhythms. True rest comes straight from Jesus.
He reminds us…
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30
I’m not exactly sure how it would feel to carry around a yoke, but I do know how to carry all of the burdens of my family like a true martyr. I am learning that isn’t my job and here’s a gentle reminder that it isn’t your job either. Jesus promises us that if we come to Him then He will give us rest.
Start your day in His word and it will rest your day in His capable hands. The verse of the day on the YouVersion Bible App is a great place to start. Also, there are “Read the Bible in a Year” plans on Pinterest that are amazing, or you can pick out a daily devotional. My current favorite is, Take It Too Far, by Jess Connolly.
3. Prepare Properly
Something that cultivates rest for me is to live within rhythms. I know that each night, I have a rhythm that takes me about 20 minutes to get ready for bed:
- I throw on my jammies that sit on my chair in my bathroom.
- Next, I wash and moisturize my face, and then I dab the eye cream on (a little heavier these days).
- I brush and floss my teeth.
- Moving into my room, I grab my diffuser and ready it with that night’s oil blend. Usually it is something with eucalyptus and peppermint to help me breathe more and snore less.
- Then, I get my little homemade rice bag heated up in the microwave. I plug that in and grab my lotion and chapstick. I massage that cream on my hands and feet and grab my book.
- I say my prayers and then I turn on my piano worship music, set to turn off in 15 minutes. I get under the covers and read until my eyes get heavy or my music turns off and then I go to sleep.
If I don’t go through that routine every night, then I have a hard time sleeping well or feeling rested. I have learned that in order to rest well, I have to be prepared.
In order to truly feel God’s peace and rest, I have to set myself up for success and prepare to rest.
I’m learning that preparation brings peace. When I prepare myself physically and emotionally, then I can respond to life appropriately.
When my kids’ clothes are picked out and their lunches are packed the night before, then the next morning goes better. Also, when I don’t have the capacity to finish the dishes before I go to bed, I prepare my mind to face them in the morning. My goal isn’t perfection, but peace, and it is a lot more attainable when I am prepared.
When I am not prepared and I escape to something that temporarily fills me, it reminds me of eating nothing but rice for dinner. I like rice, and it can be very filling, but after those simple carbs wear off quickly, then I am starving like I never ate anything.
Just like preparing and eating a good piece of chicken with my rice, that protein helps me stay full longer. I need to have truth like that in my life to fill and satisfy my soul.
4. Limit Time With “News” and Social Media
Every day, we are blasted with so much information that it is actually hard to keep up. It seems like things are constantly changing, moving, repeating, canceling , and circling.
It’s no wonder our minds are having a hard time keeping up!
One of the things that has my mind spinning like a top is all of the voices coming at me on social media. Doesn’t it seem like people are a lot more free with their criticism from behind a screen?
I found myself getting on social media to post something on one of my small groups’ pages, and I would end up scrolling for an hour and not even posting at all. My mind would be whirling with all of the accusations people were hurling at each other.
I would get off of my phone feeling like I wasn’t healthy enough, pretty enough, good enough, smart enough, racially aware enough, or socially conscious enough.
Now don’t get me wrong, we all have areas to work on when it comes to these things. I recommend doing a self-check to see which areas in your life need to grow and need to be cultivated. That is so important to do daily.
But what I am talking about is the feeling of being attacked, depressed, or shamed. Those are not life-giving truths from the Holy Spirit. When you are feeling these things, they are a call to action in your life that needs to be answered.
I’m reminded of these words…
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”1 Peter 5:8
We need to set ourselves up to fight off the attacks of the enemy, not let our guards down to be devoured. While we are mindlessly perusing social media, we can lose our ability to be alert, and then, without even knowing it, we are being devoured. We can let our guards down, and open ourselves up to areas that can lead us straight into harm.
It feels harmless at first. Initially we are just spending too much time looking things up on Pinterest, and then all of a sudden we are unhappy with our entire living arrangement. The comfy sofa we once loved, becomes the eyesore that needs to go, even if our bank account doesn’t have room for a new couch.
Spending a few extra minutes, or let’s be honest, HOURS on social media takes us from feeling like a decently accomplished mama to feeling like the only frumpy and sad mom with dirty and unruly kids.
Or is that just me?
And I haven’t even started talking about all the decisions we are making about schooling, homeschooling, unschooling, or e-learning with our kids.
It doesn’t seem like we can catch a break right now, but I am here to tell you that we can. We have to make a conscious choice, but we CAN break through the noise coming at us to create a peaceful, rest-filled, God-honoring home…even in the midst of chaos!
Flipping through social media can be an easy escape, but does it give you life and fill your soul? I’m going to guess, probably not. For me, I had to go on a social media fast. Doing this regularly has been so good for my soul.
Another thing I did was set up parameters for when I am on social media:
- Give myself a time limit
- Interact with at least 3 people in a positive way
- Try to support a friend’s small business with a like, comment, or purchase
- Shut it down as soon as I feel myself comparing or getting agitated
These simple steps or taking a break from social media altogether have been so much better for my brain space.
5. Let Go of Control
This one is not easy for this self-proclaimed controller. Maybe I’m being presumptuous, but I am guessing that a lot of us mamas have some control tendencies.
Some of these tendencies, if used appropriately, can be strengths. Disciplining a child is good for them, but disciplining our children out of fear of what they will become is trying to control them. It can be such a fine line.
We are living in a season where the whole world feels a bit out of control. Sometimes we try to run ahead of God and take control when He had a plan working all along.
I think of the Sarai and Abram from Genesis 16. Sarai was frustrated waiting for God’s plan, and she went ahead of God and told her hubby to sleep with her servant. I’m just not sure there is ever a scenario where this could end well, right?! Anyway, Hagar the servant conceives a son and then there’s bitterness and resentment, and Ishmael still isn’t the heir that God had promised to provide.
When my hubby and I are praying through a hard decision, one of our prayers is, “Please go before us God, we don’t want to create our own Ishmael.”
We really like control, but more than that, we really need God to lead us.
Final Thoughts on Creating a Peaceful Home Amidst Chaos
Let’s commit to praying for each other. To share the burdens of this life and promote unity with one another, and for one another.
Here’s a reminder from John 10:10 that “the enemy wants to kill, steal, and to destroy”.
If there is any disunity, it comes from the father of lies, because as that verse ends, it reminds us that Jesus came to give us abundant life. In that abundant life, we don’t have to be afraid to trust God with all of our emotions, hurts, doubts, and fears. God is bigger than any pandemic or problem we could face.
When we live everyday being content in Him, resting in His promises, and giving Him all of the control, then we won’t feel crazy and chaotic anymore, and we won’t bring or allow “crazy” into our homes and hearts. We will create a peaceful home.
Don’t take my word for it, take God’s:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”Proverbs 3:5-8