Have you dreamt of a calm and peaceful home life only to face the realistic and see that it is crazy, muddled, messy and hectic? Sometimes we need to get control of our stuff, to declutter or to organise our things to bring back the order – but sometimes the clutter is at a heart level. Have you ever considered that the frenzy, jumbled and chaotic atmosphere in your home could be a heart issue.
Clutter and chaos can happen in our hearts as much as it can happen in the house we live in. Remember our heart is the place where we hold what we believe, value, feel and choose.
Though we usually connect clutter which chaos we usually see the opposite to being order. But I see a very close connection between order and peace. When there is order, there is peace – this happens in our physical environments as well as our internal. One of our goals as a family was to be a place of peace so the chaos and clutter had to be dealt with (and continues to be dealt with even today.)
5 Heart based Solutions to Family Chaos
1-Tyranny of Time
Time was created by God for our good, it was created to bring order and rest into our lives. How far we have moved from God’s intention! Time has become our number one enemy – we don’t have enough time, if only we had more time….. We need to get back to God’s intention – that we work and rest using the time he has given us for the purposes He has given us.
When things go chaotic in our home, we need to seriously consider how we are spending our time.
- Is there a balance between work and rest?
- Are we doing the things that are consistent with our goals, our priorities?
- What is wasting our time? When am I not making wise decisions?
As a mum we need to not only monitor and manage our own time but also the time for each of our children as they learn to be responsible with this resource themselves.
Family life doesn’t have to be chaotic. But we need to carefully consider the things we allow into our day. We need to be intentional with how we use our time.
2-Margins for Living
Whenever we talk about managing time the issue of a routine or a schedule comes up – and it needs to. I personally prefer the idea of a routine – habits that flow one after the other, helping us to use our time to meet our priorities. Whereas a schedule is a commitment to doing a certain thing at a certain time.
To be honest, whether we call it a routine or a schedule if we plan activity for every moment of time in our day – we are going to create for ourselves a tension because we won’t have time for the things of life that just happen.
- When will we respond to our children’s requests if every hour already has a purpose?
- When will we be able to respond to meet a need that God puts on my heart if every hour has been allocated to something already (even if it is a good something?).
I certainly do better when we have routines in my day where I know the important things will happen, but I also need to have space in my day where I can live my life as it happens (with God and family).
We need margins in our day, so that we can take hold of opportunities as they present. Is your day so full you don’t have time to engage with life and the needs of your family?
3-Make time for Teaching and Learning
There is nothing like chaos that makes us realise some issues in our children’s lives or we start to see our issues that are often reflected in our parenting. When we see these issues we need to listen – not to condemn ourselves but to be challenged to do better, with God’s help. Times of stress often show areas of weakness and in a way, we can be thankful for that – but only if we do something about it. If we leave it as it is, the weakness intensifies and a crisis will result.
Are you teaching your kids in areas of obedience, self control and respect (these are foundational issues to start off with) and then for the older children are you working on areas of initiative, responsibility, and being other focused? Teaching and learning never stops. I am still working on areas in my own life – becoming more and more like Jesus, is never done! As a parent it is our responsibility to teach and guide our children towards Jesus.
- Do you see training (being by their side) as a priority?
- Do you give your family enough time for the learning that needs to happen?
- Do you give yourself enough emotional energy to deal positivity with your child’s immaturity?
4- Read God’s Word
Our relationship with God is our primary relationship because it influences every other sphere of life. If that is drying up then chaos will be the result in our day. Why? Because it is God that gives me purpose, it is God that gives me wisdom, it is God that gives me strength. Without those things from Him, I am left floundering in my own abilities and chaos will result.
Also if you think in terms of peace being the outcome of things being put in order – when we have our relationship with God in order, then peace does flow out from that.
I have listed “reading the Word” as fourth on this list, not because it is a lower priority because it is really the first step, but because as we reflect on those other aspects we realise how important it is to sit still and reflect on the Word of God, how important it is to spend time in prayer.
- Do you have time for God?
- Do your children see you relating to Jesus?
Can you see a direct connection between your time or lack of time with God and the chaos or peace in your heart and home?
5- Take a moment of Quiet
I find the best thing to do when chaos gets on top of me is to have some quiet time (I’m not talking about reading the Bible, Devotions type of Quiet Time – but literally time where people are quiet). Quiet time is actually hard to find amongst chaos but it is the key.
Often we wait until we’ve sorted out all the mess and reward ourselves with a moment of quiet – but that isn’t the way to do it. We need to allow ourselves to step aside, step outside of the mess, and gather ourselves.
When we do this we not only give our body, soul and spirit a sigh, we give ourselves the time to reflect and then find the right action steps to take so that we can deal with what is going on.
If you glance back at these 5 heart based solutions to chaos you will see that I’ve asked questions. These questions would be a good place to start as you think about what is going on, what is out of place and what can you do to put it to rights.
But before you start finding a strategy for change – just take a moment and connect. Connect with your emotions and values – connect with your spouse and kids.
I would often gather everyone together and we’d have some quiet time together in the lounge room. This immediately quietens the house and settles the busyness. If there has been a break in relationships – anger, yelling, frustrations etc, then we spend a moment in prayer and repentance. And of course – a hug is a good thing!
Once everyone is grounded and calm – then you can purposefully deal with the chaos.
Moving from Chaos to Peace
One of the things my Mum always asked me when I was overwhelmed and felt like the chaos was winning was – What is ONE thing that you can change that will make the biggest improvement.
So if things have been chaotic ask yourself – what is one thing that we can change that will make the biggest improvement, and the most peace in our family life.
- This may mean addressing something in your heart or in your choices.
- It may mean addressing your child’s heart and their choices.
- It may mean changing how you do things in your family life.
But something has to change if there is going to be peace.
I am reminded of that old hymn “What a friend we have in Jesus” and in particular the last few lines – what peace we often forfeit, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Our chaos is something that Jesus cares about. Actually I’ll paste the whole hymn here for you to consider. Read through it carefully, let the words speak to your heart. You can listen to the music as you read.
What a Friend we have in Jesus
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
Routines Help us Use our Time Wisely: A routine is a habit of regularly doing something in a particular order; it is a helpful tool in family life.
The Unexpected Purpose of Margin:Margin helps us manage our projects as much as our energy. Do you have margin in your day or do you run from activity to activity?
10 Ways to Find Time with Jesus when you are a Busy Mum: It’s a challenge to find time with Jesus but it can be done when you look at it all a little differently.
Benefits of a Quiet Life: A quiet life gives our children time and opportunity to process and use what they learn.
Over to you:
These are two good questions to start thinking as you set your eyes on have a peaceful home.
- Where does your family fit on a sliding scale of chaos to peace today, or this week?
- What is stealing your peace and how can you get it back?