Home-Made Joy: Embrace Your “Good Enough”

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a working mom or dad or a work from home parent, you know the everyday tasks of taking care of home and family need to be done (and seem to never have an end!)  Last week we discovered that knowing our “why” can help us find more JOY in these tasks. 

While it helps to know our “why,” many of these tasks seem to be a never-ending cycle: there is always more food to make, more dirty dishes to wash, more laundry to do and more dirt to clean.  In home and family life there can always be more to do.  The next key to finding JOY is to embrace your “good enough.”

Find Joy By Letting Go of Perfection.
Photo by Outsite Co on Unsplash

Find You “Good Enough” by Letting Go of Perfection

With the very visual nature of our social media world, it is easy to compare our homes and lives to what we see (and imagine to be true) of the lives of others through the pictures they share online.  We must remember that (most of the time) people share only the best and prettiest parts of their life with the world.  No one can do everything, and for sure no one can do everything perfectly!

Don’t place other people’s expectations on yourself

As a newly married wife, I was excited about making meals for my husband.  I wanted him to like my cooking and the meals I served.  Because of this, I often searched for and tried new recipes.  A few we liked, most we didn’t.  Thankfully my husband came to me and asked why I kept trying new recipes.  I was trying to provide variety in our meals.  He preferred just to eat the meals he knew he liked!  Thankfully, a little communication saved me tons of time and stress in trying new recipes each week!

Stop the Comparison Game

A few years later we discovered my husband was sensitive to nightshade foods.  Now many meals that we enjoyed were no longer options for our family.  Because I now had to make everything from scratch, meal planning was much more important than it had been.  So I began a habit of weekly meal planning, but I dreaded it!  I felt like each week our meal plan looked very similar to the week before.  I was comparing myself to the pretty (and varied) meals plans I was seeing online.  When I embraced our limitations and created a capsule menu the dreaded chore of meal planning disappeared!

I knew my “why” of meal planning: healthy, allergen-free meals my family liked AND that I liked to make!  But I needed to discover my “good enough”: embracing repetition and creating a capsule menu!

Find JOY by embracing your "good enough."
Because I choose to let the creative play happen, my home often looks like this for an afternoon!

My “Good Enough”

My “good enough” will look different from yours.  Your “good enough” will look different from your neighbor’s or your friend’s.  That’s OK!  Your “good enough” only needs to work for you and your family.

I’ve shared about my “good enough” with laundry.  And my “good enough” for cleaning.  Share in the comments a “good enough” from your life to help other’s embrace their own!

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Giving Your Kids a Heart for Missions

I want my kids to know they are not the center of the universe.  I want them to have a knowledge of other peoples and cultures and to desire them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus.  Giving my kids a heart for missions (locally and globally) is a priority in our home.

Here are some things we do to encourage a heart for missions and other cultures:

Read Books about other Cultures

One reason I choose to use Sonlight for our homeschool curriculum is the wide variety of cultural diversity in the books it has us read.  Some of our favorites are:

Thrift Books is a great place to order books (new and used).  Their free shipping minimum is low and you earn reward points with each purchase.  Use this link for 15% off your first order.  (affiliate link, thank you!)

Help your kids develop a heart for missions and other cultures.

Read Books and Listen to Stories about Missionaries

We have greatly enjoyed reading books about missionaries.  The series Christian Heroes Then and Now is excellent!  Engaging stories and appropriate for elementary aged children and older.  The Hidden Heroes series is also similar.

The book Missionary Stories with the Millers is a great introduction to missions for children because each chapter is about a different missionary in a different time and place.  This one is fun for all ages.

Torchlighters Heros of Faith DVD series includes some missionary stories.  The Gladys Aylward Story and The Amy Carmichael Story are two we’ve enjoyed.  FYI: Some of these stories are a bit graphic and I would recommend for ages 10 and older.  Please preview these before sharing them with your children.   

We’ve also enjoyed listening to the Brinkmann Family Adventures audio dramas.

Help your kids develop a heart for missions and other cultures.

Listen to Missionaries Talk about their Lives and Ministries

We are blessed to have a church that welcomes and supports missionaries.  Our children often have the opportunity to here missionaries share their lives and ministries.  We also support missionaries through our church and as a family.

Make it a priority to have your children listen to and interact with missionaries who visit your church.

Help your kids develop a heart for missions and other cultures.

Give Children Opportunites to Interact with Other Cultures.

This can be as simple as dining in an authentic Mexican, Chinese, Thai, etc. restaurant or as complex as traveling to another country!

Short-term mission trips are excellent experiences for high school and college-aged students.  I was blessed to travel to Venezuela once and China twice during my high school and college years.  Our church has taken groups to serve on Indian reservations and inner-city minority neighborhoods.  These are life-changing experiences that broaden our worldview.

Serve Others in Your Community

A great way to broaden the worldview of your children is to serve others in your community together as a family.  Whether to people of the same ethnic background as your family or a different background, serving others causes us to see them as individuals with individual stories.  It also teaches our children that it is important to serve others.  We help out at a local non-profit thrift store.  We help with sorting donations, pricing, and stocking.  The kids and I help out for a couple hours a couple times a month.

Memorize Scripture

Finally, memorizing scripture about God’s love for the world is a great way to give your kids a heart for missions.  Verses like Matthew 28:18-20 and Romans 10:13-17 emphasize our responsibility to tell others, in our communities and around the world.

Were you exposed to other cultures as a child?  What other ways do you help your children have a global worldview?

Home-Made Joy: Finding Your “Why”

Joy is a deep and abiding sense of pleasure and satisfaction in knowing and living according to your purpose.  Happiness is a feeling based on your current situation.

I can have JOY even if I am not HAPPY. This is great news!  It begins by finding your “why.”

A note about gender roles: In our home, we tend to do household chores based on traditional gender roles.  This works well for us.  However, this is not the case in all households and that is OK.  Marriage and family is not a 50/50 thing.  It is a 100/100 thing.  We all give 100% to make and keep our homes; we just all have different roles.  Communication is the key to setting up a plan and system that works for your family.

Find joy by discovering your values and priorities.

Finding Your Values and Priorities

To discover your values and priorities, ask yourself “Why?”

Why do I do the (often) mundane tasks of taking care of my home and family?

I choose to manage my home well so I can bless my family with clean clothes, healthy meals (and bodies) and a comfortable (and clean) environment.

I manage my home well so I can so I can bless others through sharing our home (and lives with them), either in our home or outside of it.

I manage my home efficiently so I have the time and energy to invest in relationships, first with my husband, then with my children, and then with others.

Get Specific

If you struggle to come up with a general “why” get more specific:

Why do I do the laundry?

  • I do the laundry so we don’t have to wear dirty and stinky clothes and so that we don’t have to constantly buy new clothes.

Why do I make meals from scratch?

  • I make meals from scratch because it is important to me to feed my family healthy food AND stay within our grocery budget.  Because of various food sensitivities, we don’t have the option of ordering take-out or of eating pre-made dishes.

Why do I clean my house?

  • I clean my house because I like living in a clean space.  I want the freedom to welcome people into my home.  I want my family to be healthy and a dirty house is not healthy.

Discover the Priorities of your “Why”

OK, we know things like laundry, cooking, dishes, and cleaning are important, but we need to take it a step further and discover our priorities behind our “why.”  This will help us know how to create a sustainable system that works for us.

An example of dishes:

  • A friend of mine hates doing dishes.  Early in her marriage, they did not have a dishwasher.  Every evening she hated doing the dishes; it was a dreaded part of the evening.  Soon after they began building their own house.  It was a priority for her to include a dishwasher in their kitchen layout.
  • Another family with three elementary aged daughters had a dishwasher in their home.  When the dishwasher broke, they realized that the cost of a new dishwasher and some updating of plumbing needed to be done.  They also had a large family vacation planned that year.  They asked their daughters if they wanted to sacrifice the family vacation that year in order to get a new dishwasher or if the girls wanted to take on the responsibility of doing dishes by hand until they could save the money needed for a new dishwasher.  The girls chose to wash dishes by hand and chose to continue to do so for many years.  A dishwasher was not a priority for them!
  • We do not have a dishwasher.  I wash all our dishes by hand.  While our kitchen is not tiny; it is not large either.  In order to install a dishwasher, I would have to sacrifice an entire cupboard.  The cupboard space is more important to me than a dishwasher.  For me, cupboard space is a bigger priority than a dishwasher!
  • I’ve also known families that buy disposable dishes often so they don’t have to do the dishes!  Generally, this is a choice made during a time of extreme busyness or change (such as illness or a new baby or moving).

No one family is right or wrong in how they choose to eat off of clean dishes.  Each family made choices based on their own family’s priorities.

Spend some time this week thinking about the priorities your family has around certain chores?  What are they?  Are they really your priorities or have they been placed on you by an external source?

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