How To Remove Spiritual Pollutants From Your Home

Sin, home, broom, Flies annoy me to no end. Ants are detestable. Spiders just disgust me. Mice are filthy varmints-let the cats eat them! Snakes make me want to leave this planet and never return.

They all have one thing in common-none of these critters are allowed in my home! That is my rule.

Unfortunately, these little critters don’t read my rule book.

They come in my home anyway. (The nerve of them!) Which is why tomorrow the exterminator is coming to spray to remove the latest assault from our neighborhood ant community.

While googling several kid friendly options to keep the ants at bay, I couldn’t help but compare this scenario to a spiritual one.

The big sins are NOT allowed in my home and life. Obviously, my husband and I work to affair-proof our marriage. (And we waited to live together or have sex until after marriage-two things that our culture definitely consider extreme anymore.) There are not any golden calf statues in my house that we worship. And I’m definitely not planning on murdering anyone any time soon (if you try to steal my bacon, I might stab you slightly though!) ūüôā

However there are lots of sins that often go unchecked in our home.

There is the sin of hope-you-fall-flat-on-your-face bitterness against people who have wronged us in the past. Often we eat too much or eat unhealthy thereby letting the sin of gluttony run rampant. The sin of apathy. We often just don’t care about what God calls important. Also, our mouths run amok with gossip and unfair criticism of others.

It is easy for us to justify these sins. We are stressed out and eating a whole package of Oreos seems to make it better in the moment. Frankly, it is easier to not get to know my Mormon neighbor better because then I don’t feel so guilty about not reaching out to her with the Gospel.

In the Garden of Gethsemane before His Crucifixion, Jesus prayed,

“Sanctify them¬†in the truth; your word is truth.¬†As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.¬†And¬†for their sake¬†I consecrate myself,¬†that they also¬†may be sanctified¬†in truth.¬†I do not¬†ask for these only, but also for those¬†who will believe in me through their word,¬†¬†that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that¬†they also may be in¬†us, so that the world¬†may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:17-21 ESV)

The word sanctify in this passage is simply a fancy way of saying “set apart” or “set aside.” Jesus prayed that we would be set apart from the world. This means living differently. And we don’t live differently from the world on our own strength. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do this.

Galatians 5:19-21 shows what a life without the Holy Spirit in charge looks like, Now¬†the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,¬†idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions,¬†divisions,¬†¬†envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that¬†those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

When we are set apart from the world, these pollutants (and this is a shortened list-Paul list others in different letters that he wrote in the New Testament) should not be allowed a foothold in our lives and homes. In spite of this, we treat ants as a far bigger threat to our home than jealousy or impurity or fits of anger.

It’s all well and good to know we shouldn’t want these spiritual pollutants in our home but how do you go about protecting your home and life against them?

Set A Solid Foundation

First, and I know I say this a lot, but it is the foundation that everything builds on-Prayer and Bible study. Prayer is your avenue of communication with God. Prayer and Bible reading are where you have to start. God cannot show you pollutants (aka sins that are infesting your home) unless you are in a position to hear what He has to say through His Word and quiet times spent with Him.

open your eyes

Second, taking an honest look at your life. Years ago, I read a powerful poem that asked what you would change if Jesus came to visit your home that day. Would you hide gossipy Hollywood magazines? Wipe the dust off your under-read Bible? Change the TV channel or just turn it off all together? Would your iTunes playlist change significantly? How would your conversations with your family differ if Jesus joined you at the dinner table tonight? Maybe your checking account would show different expenditures?

If there are areas that you know you would not be comfortable with Jesus witnessing in person within your home then perhaps it is time to reconsider what you are allowing within your home.

accept God’s power over sin

Third, change through the power given you by the Holy Spirit. Don’t try to do this in your own sheer willpower. It won’t work in the long run nor will your heart attitude about the changes be right. The very next sentences in the Galatians passage show what a life controlled by the Spirit will look like. Perhaps you have even heard this passage or have it hanging in a pretty frame on your wall but take a few minutes and read it slowly and let it sink in. Here it is,

But¬†the fruit of the Spirit is¬†love, joy, peace, patience,¬†kindness, goodness, faithfulness,¬†gentleness,¬†self-control;¬†against such things there is no law.¬†¬†And those who belong to Christ Jesus¬†have crucified the flesh with its¬†passions and desires.”

Doesn’t that sound like a qualities you want your home to have for yourself and your family? I know I could use a lot more peacefulness and patience and self-control…okay, all of them, in my own home.

final thoughts

This is not meant to be a legalistic list of do and don’t let such and such into your home. Search the Scripture. Pray for God to show you what should be removed. Perhaps it will something obvious. Perhaps it will surprise what God convicts you about removing. Guaranteed it will be painful at times because our humanness makes us love what we shouldn’t love. It is likely we will look crazy or radical to others.

It is easy to justify the “smaller” sins. Don’t. They come with the same price tag that the big sins come with-death.

I know that my home is so much more enjoyable to be in when there are not ants (or any other creepy crawlers for that matter) roaming my home. The same goes for unaddressed sins. My home is not a place of spiritual refreshment when sin is allowed free reign. My home is vulnerable to Satan’s attacks when I allow weakness to appear in our spiritual home life.

Let’s take time to seek and remove the pollutants that seek to destroy the Holy Spirit’s presence in our homes.

It’s Your Turn!

Do you think you have areas of spiritual weakness in your home? What might those areas be? Will you commit to a time of seeking out what God would desire your home to look like and what you should ruthlessly pluck from the midst of your family life?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

How To Stop Bad Attitudes From Spreading Throughout Your Family

bad attitude, family

Have you ever seen the effects that one bad attitude can have on your family?

This past week, my husband caught a nasty head cold (in July-which is really annoying!) For several days, I cleaned every possible surface with disinfecting wipes. We washed our hands and kept dirty tissues safely disposed of away from the kids. Three times a day, my daughter was eating an orange with her meal.

Unfortunately, the germs still made their way into my toddler’s mouth. And from there, it was just a matter of time until this Mommy started to feel a scratchy throat and experienced the sniffles. Yesterday, our two month old son started to get a runny nose. Sigh…

Now I am not saying all this to get your sympathy (but I won’t turn down a sad pity look from other moms who have been there! ūüôā ) While up during the night nursing my son, I have plenty of time to think. Lately, my thoughts were how easy germs spread!

And how bad attitudes spread even faster!

Throughout the course of this past week, there was always a day where at least one of the four of us was in a “mood.” And that mood would quickly spread to the rest of the family!

So, how can a Christian mom seek to put an end to the infectious bad attitudes that will come? I mean, you can’t use Clorox wipes on attitudes so what does the trick to slow down the spread of infectious attitude problems in your home?

This past week I have been doing some studying, praying, and thinking about how God would want me to glorify Him while dealing with poor attitudes within my home. Here is what I have come up with so far (some are ones we have already practiced, some are ones that I am going to be more intentional about as I move forward.)

Surrender Your Own Poor Attitudes To God

It’s a lot harder to lead others away from poor attitudes when you are still in a funk yourself. Turn to God in prayer and surrender your poor attitudes. Let God show you the unhealthy thoughts and emotions in your life. Ask Him to help you gain control over your emotions before they cause you to do and say things that you regret.

Gain Control Over Your Own Emotions First

Emotions happen whether we like them or not. We are created to feel happy and sad and every other emotion in between. However, those emotions are NOT to dictate our actions and decisions. Just because I am angry about something does not give me the right to lash out and hurt another person. So, do what you must to bring your emotions under the Holy Spirit’s control before they spew out their toxic effects on the rest of your family.

Model Positive Behaviors to Your Family

Cheery people stink when you don’t want to be cheery so I want to clarify that you don’t have to pour on the syrup sweet fake happy to model positive behaviors. Trust me, your husband and kids will be able to pick that apart faster than dishes return to your sink dirty! Instead, show a conscious effort to simply stay positive. Focus on what is going well within your home. Rather than letting disrespectful and sarcastic remarks roll off your tongue, choose silence or an encouraging word. Your husband and children will be grateful!

Recognize Your Triggers

My attitude can slump quickly if I see our bedroom looking less than put together. Therefore, I make a point to tidy it as soon as possible each morning. My husband’s worst trigger is hunger (we call it his “hangry” mood!) Keep him feed relatively healthy food on a regular basis and he becomes a new man. Our daughter is a scheduled creature if I ever saw one. Do NOT change her routine!¬†Look closely at what most frequently triggers your family’s bad attitudes and seek to counter attack those areas specifically.

Train Your Children To Recognize and Deal With Poor Attitudes

Encourage your children through these steps as they deal with their own bad moods. Help them learn to cope with their own poor attitudes. In this way, you are showing your family that it is okay to have days when they don’t feel okay. And that those days don’t have to lead to detrimental behaviors!

Take Practical Steps To Detour Poor Moods Before They Start

“The best offense is a good defense.” as my football loving husband quips frequently. And there is truth to that when dealing with poor attitudes too! Take practical actions to stop bad attitudes before they are even formed.

Make bedtime routines to ensure everyone stays well-rested. Avoid junk foods that lead to sugar crashes. Go outside to play in the fresh air whenever the weather allows. (Sunshine and fresh air does wonders for my family!) Play music that your family enjoys. Make a point to laugh and joke when the opportunity arises. Basically, just be proactive to catch bad moods before they start!

The Takeaway

Poor attitudes and moods can quickly spread and leave your family in emotional shambles. Take time to let God pinpoint and help you remove the poor attitudes in your own heart and life so that you can help your family do likewise.

What are some ways you recognize and counter bad attitudes in your own life? What are some triggers in your family that lead to bad days? How can you better prepare to avoid those triggers in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

Also, take a few moments to sign up for my weekly newsletter. A little weekly encouragement never hurt anyone’s mood! ūüôā

Thanks for stopping by!

How To Stop Bad Attitudes From Spreading Throughout Your family

 

Why We Ditched the TV in Our Main Living Areas (It’s Not Why You Think!)

Habits are crazy¬†things. I don’t even think about how I brush my hair the same exact way every day or how I wash dishes. It is just something I do mechanically on autopilot. I know what I am doing, I have my routine, and I can just do it. Pretty much no thought or effort required.

Habits are hard things too. They can be something good or something bad. For instance, my husband and I have a really bad habit of munching on food all evening long if it is reasonably easy to reach. So if we sit in a place where food is easy to access, guess what? We munch all night long.

For any of you of you that has ever had a bad habit to break, you will know the power of routine over your own desire to change. You can do so much to change habits but one misstep and you are back in the old rut quicker than a snap of the finger. And, if you are anything like me, that leads to a bad cycle of try, get frustrated, fail, and give up.

My husband and I are TV-aholics. When in doubt, we find it easiest to just sit and veg out in front of Netflix for hours on end. At first, we didn’t even try to fight the urge. However, after our first year of marriage and some serious weight gain (not to mention frustration with nothing good to watch on Netflix after so many hours of watching!) we decided something had to change.

The Problem of Too Much Access

When we bought our first home four years ago, we set our TV up in the living room upstairs. Now our house has a giant living room/dining room open space with great lighting. We loved the open layout however, our TV being placed in direct line of sight of our dining room soon poised an issue. We could watch TV pretty much non-stop while eating non-stop.

When Nick would get home from work, we would instantly collapse onto the couch and eat supper in front of the TV. If we felt formal, we would watch the TV from our dining room table. I will let you imagine how quickly downhill our eating habits became. We rarely found ourselves just sitting around visiting about our days or books we had read or anything really. And since the TV was so conveniently placed, we never bothered to meander away to read a book or practice piano or take a walk or anything. It was pretty bad.

The Power of Habit

For a while, we tried to just use sheer willpower to stop the bad habits we had created but whenever we had even the slightest bit of hard day or a change in schedule (which seemed to happen at least twice a week) we found ourselves right back into the rut of vegging non-stop in front of our TV. Oh and binge eating junk foods. After months of this frustrating cycle of failure to create better¬†habits, we knew a more drastic change was going to be necessary if¬†we didn’t want to weigh 500 pounds and be dead of heart attacks before 30.

The Decision for Change

After deliberating, our decision was to use our weaknesses against ourselves to create new habits. You know the saying that water always follows the easiest route. Well, especially come evenings, we are lazy and pretty much like water. We follow the easiest route. That route led straight to binge watching TV and eating junk food. The easiest route had to be changed for our bad habit to change.

We have a little family room downstairs. It is the only room in our basement that is completely finished. One half of the family room is dedicated to our numerous bookshelves that house all of our collective family library of books. It’s our little dream corner. (Best of all, our¬†books are out of direct sunlight!) So we moved our TV down to the other half of that family room nook, put a couple of our less pretty and more uncomfortable recliners down there and called it good.

The Change for the Better

The change was almost instant. First, we have to go up and down stairs to even get to the TV. We are lazy people. This means that if we do go down, we stay down there, no twenty five runs to the pantry to get more goodies to snack. Also, with both the TV and snacks never in direct sight, we rarely are as tempted to indulge in both to great excess. Of course, we still love to munch a couple of treats but it never is to the gluttonous insanity it was before.

Plus, we watch TV for shorter amounts of time now. Why? Well, just seeing our books sitting right there makes us more likely to turn off the TV and read. Also, most evenings we never even make it down there because we find ourselves lingering in long conversations at the dinner table or resting quietly in the living room with our daughter while we read or play quietly. The path of least resistance makes it incredibly simple to just skip watching TV at all.

The Desired Effects

Many people probably think we are crazy but this simple change in the layout of our house has caused several desired effects, many that we never could have predicted.

First, the change caused a drastic increase of positive communication and quality time within our marriage. Without the noise of the TV always there, we soon found our relationship as a couple deepening again on a daily basis. Conversations are more naturally started in the quiet over dinner and continued throughout the course of the evening.

Second, it helped us feel better about ourselves since we were able to say no to temptations that plague us often at the end of our busy days. It’s great¬†to know that basic changes could lead to results such as more exercise and less unhealthy snacking!

Third, the number of books we read increased rapidly. We love reading as a couple. It is one of the main interests that we have shared since day one of our relationship. The fact that TV was getting in the way of that was frustrating! Once we saw our completed book totals rising on Goodreads again, we knew that we had definitely made the right decision of moving the TV out of our main living area.

Finally, and this is the best one (and most unexpected one), our home became a much calmer, more inviting space. There is no TV constantly blaring its noisy messages at us. There was less TV-related “stuff” like DVDS, video games, and remotes cluttering every inch of our living area. It made walking in our front door a much less chaotic, frustrating scene. (At least when our toddler’s toys aren’t strewn everywhere-sigh-that’s the next thing we get to work on!) Overall, everything just took on a sense of peace-it made our home feel much more like a little piece of heaven on Earth and who wouldn’t want that?!

What about you?What challenging habit do you have that you are trying to break?

Prayerfully consider what God might have you change to bring about the better habits and situations that you desire. I would love to hear the results in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!

Why We Ditched the Tv In our Main Living Area