As I discuss at length in my Peaceful Home course, our attitudes are important in our homes and homemaking. In fact, it’s so important that I would go as far as to say that it’s the foundation of everything we do in our homes.
So, our series begins with a foundational belief that changes everything.
In my conversations with the Amish women I visit with, I have been struck by their cheerful attitudes. Now again, are they always cheerful? No. They are human, like anyone else. My point is that I have been impressed by the lack of complaining, and the cheerful attitude while working.
Amish women work hard. We buy things from home stores and at any time of day when you visit, they will come to the door from baking, sweeping, laundry, or some other household task. And yet, they aren’t complaining about it. Most often, there will be a comment about nice weather, or thankfulness at something or another.
I remember reading a story from a book called Amish Values for Your Family about a long, hard laundry day. While I often complain about overflowing laundry baskets that I have to take “downstairs” to the garage (granted this task is more difficult with my illness), this laundry day was a bit different. Everything was done by hand, and the process took hours on both the hottest of days, and the coldest of days. After years and years of this hard work, the district decided to allow gas-powered washing machines and the man of the house offered to buy one for Christmas.
My response would have been a resounding “Yes!” I would probably be elated, and ready to throw a party.
But not the mother in this story. She said no. Her husband reminded her that the machine would cut the job in half.
Her response: “As I wash those clothes, I use the time to pray for each one of my children. That’s not time I want cut in half.”
What a loving mother, and cheerful servant. This woman was working as unto the Lord. She recognized that her scrubbing clothes wasn’t just a task to be complete. It was a tangible way that she could love and serve her family.
That realization made an otherwise cumbersome chore a beautiful and edifying time for her.
A Heavenly Perspective
It might be tempting for us to think that maybe Amish women are somehow naturally more gracious about chores. I don’t think this is the case. I think they are merely utilizing the power of attitude and perspective…and it’s something available to all of us.
Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. -Colossians 3:23
Too often, we look at chores as drudgery, and we moan and complain about them. Sadly, we can even become resentful toward our families.
The Amish women I have spoken with recognize that chores represent 2 things:
- Love and service to the Lord.
- Love and service to their family.
Do it heartily, as to the Lord. These words apply to my homemaking, homeschooling, my attitude towards my husband and children. If you work outside the home, these words apply to your job. It applies to all we do.
It means setting a higher standard for myself– to do my best, my all and not just enough to get by. Even more than that, it’s a matter of heart. In Colossians 3:22, Paul says that we should do things in “sincerity of heart.” Though we are not “bond-servants” that Paul was speaking of, how much more should we serve our own families this way?
All of our chores are lighter when we remember that we aren’t doing them for other imperfect humans, we are doing them for a perfect God who deserves all we have to offer and more.
There may be days when my husband or children don’t “deserve” my kindness or patience (just as there are days when I don’t deserve their patience and kindness). But there will NEVER be a day when God doesn’t deserve my best.
Know your why.
When we are scrubbing toilets, it’s easy for our vision to get lost. Those jobs with no thanks, no recognition, and no glory…they are often the most difficult to do with a cheerful attitude.
But we must remember that we are working for the Lord.
He sees everything you’re doing (the good, the bad, and the ugly). He is glorified in your cheerful attitude in loving and serving your family. He is glorified in that.
What you’re doing matters..even if you’re scrubbing toilets. Do it as unto the Lord.
P.S. If you could benefit from adding more peace into your homemaking, check out my ecourse, A Peaceful Home.