I Set The Thermostat: How A Woman’s Attitude Affects the Whole House

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“You have like this bad…aura.” Those were my husband’s actual words. Of course that annoyed me even more. He came home around 10 A.M. and by that time it was too late. It was too hot in the house. My toddler was already too crazy. Evidence of breakfast was all over the counter (…and the floor). The shopping list was only half written.  I was trying to print coupons—but she kept turning off the printer before they could come out. I was trying to save a few bucks—even if it cost my sanity. I was trying…to keep it together. (Did I mention I was extremely hot?)

When he walked in, he could see it all over my face. The irritation. The heat. My attitude was like bad perfume. He could not escape it. And as I spouted off the reasons why, his face became like a mirror. All my angst was soon reflected back at me. My ugliness was contagious. Soon we were both frustrated. And angry. And hot.

We made it, (miraculously) out of the house and down to the (air conditioned) YMCA where we just got a membership. We took turns watching our daughter. He took her to the pool, and I went to the treadmill. To blow off some steam. But as I began to run, I looked down through the glass wall that overlooked the swimming pool and saw them. She was sitting at the pool’s edge and he was encouraging her to jump into his arms. He carried her around in the water, helping her float.

Everyone around me watched the TV screens on their treadmills, but my screen stayed black. I couldn’t help but watch these two. These two—that God had given me. These two—that I was born to love.

With everything.

They spotted me and began waving. I waved back through the glass, catching the eye of the short Puerto Rican man on the treadmill next to me. “She’s mine,” I said. He looked confused. “Down there!” I said, almost shouting, “That’s my daughter!”

She was mine. They were both mine. And as I watched them bobbing around in the pool together, I suddenly wanted to cry. My main job was simply: to love them. To make them feel loved. How do I get so off track? So many other goals, so many other boxes on my checklist. So many other things I want to do. Feel I need to do.

Beyond this.

Just this.

On the way home, I broke the silence, “I’m sorry…for my attitude.”

“It’s okay,” he said.

“No. It’s not. Sometimes…I just feel like—when things get really crazy, I have permission to act however I want,” I said. “Without self control.”

“Yeah,” he said. There was some silence before he spoke again. “It’s just like, when I come home—when I come home, I can’t handle walking into you in a really bad mood. I mean, we can buy some air conditioners. I don’t care how much we spend. That would be better than walking into you all…irritated and mad. I just can’t handle that.”

He was right. I wore my attitude like a big ugly sweater. As the woman of the house, my mood, my mind, my heart all play a bigger role than I than I thought.

I set the thermostat in our house. More than I realize.

My kindness and gentleness…my stress and frustration actually do something to the environment. Not the air, or the heat…but the atmosphere. The state of my heart affects everyone. For better, or for worse.

Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Am I building my house? Or tearing it down?

I may be cleaning the kitchen, whipping up dinner, vacuuming the carpets, and organizing the closets—but if I’m doing it with an obligated, irritated, frustrated attitude…am I really helping anyone? Am I creating a life-giving environment?

Last night, the three of us went out and carted home Walmart’s finest air conditioner. And while we all enjoyed the cooler temperature, I know the AC can only work so hard. I need something, Someone much more powerful to change the thermostat in our house, the thermostat in my heart.

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

Oh God,

            I need more than a machine in my window,

                                                                        I need Your Spirit in my heart. 

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  1. “I need more than a machine in my window, I need Your Spirit in my heart.”. Wow, what powerful words! Fixing our attitude will always come from within, not our outside circumstances. As long as we spend time with God and invite Him to lead us throughout our day then we can love and respond the way He would no matter what comes our way. Great post!

  2. I wrote about a similar sentiment in a post called thermometer and bits just so true that we set the tone for everything. Its a lot of responsibility some days to keep it all together and make sure we always maintain the right temperature. Were human and get off track sometimes, but at least you realized it quickly and owned your humanness. Grace is a beautiful thing!

    • Thank you! I will have to check out your post as well! Yes, it’s tough to keep walking in the Spirit as things get chaotic. Thank God that he leads us in this growth process and through it reveals our desperate need for Him. It is great to meet other mom’s learning this too! Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. I cannot express how much your words ring true in my own heart. We really do affect the atmosphere, with both our spouse and our children. When I notice myself becoming frustrated with my kids here lately, I force myself to laugh. I do not feeling like laughing. I feel like screaming, but still, I laugh. My laughter brings them sudden joy and they begin to laugh as well. The three of us, sitting there laughing, and suddenly I really feel true laughter again. It is amazing how much we control the environment of our household. Something to keep forever before our eyes. Thank you for sharing this Rebekah!!

    • Sasha, I love the image of you three laughing together:) It is crazy to realize how much we women actually affect the atmosphere in our homes. Often I assume that I am just blending in with the atmosphere without realizing how much I am affecting it. So thankful God is beginning to open our eyes to this! You are a wonderful mom and I love how you express your love through your blog. Every time you write a post you are choosing to see the beauty all around you. To see what God sees. And in doing so inspire your readers to see it too–in their own lives. Keep up the good work! So glad to have gotten to know you thus far!:)

  4. Thanks for sharing your heart… been there so many times to damage the atmosphere. I do it more often than I like and hate myself so much for doing that. I notice though before every attitude-altering experience there is a red flag or nudging from the Holy Spirit for me to keep my mouth shut or to do something different. I just wish I was better at being obedient to that nudge. It is always worth it to follow the Lord’s leading instead of my own. Hugs, I pray you will gain victory in this area!! (and me too)

    • Thank you so much for your comment and reminder. You are absolutely right! Often we don’t see the choice before us, we are just so used to reacting how we always have.You have reminded me of a very important scripture, that I have long forgotten: 1 Corinthians 10:13, “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” Thank you again for your thoughtful response!

    • So true but so difficult to stop yourself,im so glad im not alone, i would love for my significant other to read these cause he just thinks im crazy but it is so hard to keep everything together ,the house,kids ,grocery, work ,bills,n women tend to try n do it all n we need to realize we dont have too, n we cant for our sanity! Its so true though about the attitude, n its very hard to stop n say, its ok ,ya no, thank u ,love ur comments

  5. We called it the ther”MOM”meter in our house. One of the lowest settings on the ther”MOM”meter was “Needs a Diet Coke STAT!” Thanks for this post. It’s a good reminder to all of us housewives/housemoms out there!

    • Haha! My husband and I both enjoyed your comment and the ther”mom”eter, lol! Thank you for sharing–as a term that will now be one in our house as well!
      Blessings,
      Rebekah

  6. Bekah,
    I can’t tell you how much I love reading your writing and what God is teaching you about being a wife and mom. I’m encouraged today and I know I will be in the days to come as I wait for our tiny friend to make an appearance! Thanks for being the honest and beautiful (and barbaric) woman you are!
    -Kath

    • Kathleen,
      Thank you so much! I am so incredibly excited for you as you get to start the adventure into motherhood. And I was so blessed to spend the last few days with you. You and Chris are such a unique couple and we are so grateful to have you as friends!

  7. I’m a young blogger, and I love love love your blog. And I just want to say, thank you for being a vulnerable woman that I can look up to. I hope to be as mature and transparent as you someday.

    • Thank you so much. And you are so welcome! I am thankful if you can learn anything from my weakness. Truly, in every area I discover I am weak or failing, God shows that He wants me to turn to Him in that area. Writing is vulnerable, but powerful. May God, in His perfect time, reveal Himself to you more and more in your writing. And I’m sure He has given you a unique style for a unique audience that you will reach out to with your words! May God bless your writing:)

  8. So glad I stumbled across this post (and your blog)- I needed to read this. During a period where we are going through a lot of stress, it’s hard to remember how much my emotions affect my husband. I forget that it isn’t just myself anymore-it’s my marriage and my family. There’s a remarkable strength that God gives us women to pull it all together for the ones we love. Sometimes we just need a moment to remember that it’s there! Maybe we should get a Y membership too 😉

    • Ashley,
      So great to hear from you! I love to hear your response. Yes, this is certainly an area that’s difficult to maintain. It’s true that our heart attitude really does affect the people around us! (For better or worse.) I think just realizing this helps us to be more careful. But it truly is the Holy Spirit that gives the power to walk it out! 🙂 I am still learning so much about this. Even my non-verbal sighs, groans, or eye-rolls can be discouraging. On the other hand, I’m learning how I can create a life-giving environment in our home when do exhibit peace and joy! It makes such a difference! Blessings,
      Rebekah:)

  9. More wise and weighty words I so desperately need. We are in the midst of strife created by the fact this is a second marriage for us both, much bicep-building baggage having been hauled along in our shiny red minivan, including the needs of my three older children, whom he adopted. Two of them are autistic and, so their needs are perhaps a bit on a different scale than the average twelve and nine year olds. Too often have I changed the thermostat in my home with preaching to my dear husband how to raise them, with nary a bit of room to develop his own relationship to them, simply because it didn’t look like mine. Too often do I want to lay blame on him without looking to my own foul moods stinking up the place to high heaven. I am reminded of the verse in 1 Peter about the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. When we as wives learn to exude that, even in the trying times, a sweet fragrance falls on the whole household. I have seen it exhibited in others far more than I have experienced it firsthand, sad to say. I know this is an older post, but I just had to stop and say wow… God is really talking to me. Pray I can listen.

    • Ah, that phrase, “a gentle and quiet spirit.” I love that Scripture too, and yet, have many times failed to live it out. Yeah, I just began realizing last summer that my attitude really affects my little family–for better or for worse. Just knowing that has helped me be more aware and intentional to not be run by my feelings. I can only imagine the challenges that come with the special care that your children require. May God continue to show you new routes to take in your facing of daily challenges and situations! And may He totally bless your marriage as you walk in His Spirit. 🙂 I love the scripture that says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man, but God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but will provide a way out so that you may stand up under it.”

      • Oh, I missed your response somehow! Thank you for your encouraging words. My kiddos are challenging but oh-so- amazing and teach us so much daily. Hubby and I more or less plunged in and hit the ground running three years ago. Though we were likely as starry-eyed as any newlyweds, there was little time for a “honeymoon period”, so to speak. But, I am finding it is less about having that “perfect”start and more about purposely carving out what you can where you can in the midst of an often messy life. And always, always giving it all over to God.

  10. I read this post a long time ago, and meant to save it, but somehow lost it. I have always remembered the general idea of this post in the back of my mind for a while now, but never actually took the time to look for it again. Well lately I have been having issues with being grumpy, stressed, and just generally negative, and I have realized that it has been sorely affecting my husband. I recently remembered this post that I had read last year, but could not remember the blog. So I have been searching and searching… on Google, on Pinterest, and everthing I could think of! I never could find it! So tonight I sat down and just prayed that God would lead me to this post. On my second Google search, this post was the very first link on the page. I am so thankful that he led me to it tonight when I was so desperately aching to read it again! It is perfect for me. It puts everything into perspective and assists me in knowing how to change the atmostphere of my home. I just love the analogy you make to the thermostat affecting the environment (of my heart!) I guess I’m just trying to say thank you for your insight and wisdom, and for putting in all out there for me to find. God led me to you and is using you right now to make a difference in my life. Thank you.

    • Mandy,
      I am so deeply touched by your message here, and it actually brings me to tears. I thank God that He can speak to you through my brokenness. Although I wrote this almost a year ago, it’s something I too often struggle with. I was just reading this morning about Jesus talking to the Pharisees in Matthew and He tells them that all their words flow from what is truly in their heart. The sad thing is that even when I don’t speak out those unkind words, I’m often still thinking them–and that leaves me just as guilty. The problem is in my heart! But the good news is that Jesus comes to transform our hearts–and I am so desperate for Him to do this in me. So, all that to say, just keep going. And I am right with you! My hope is that God just pours out His grace and mercy into our hearts–because He’s the only one who really can. Let’s love our husbands today–because love covers over a multitude of sins. I am so thankful you found me, and yeah, it sounds like that was totally Spirit led! Sorry one of my weaknesses is the “technical” side of blogging…so I’m not too easy with making this site easy to find in search engines etc. It’s an area I need to grow in! But thank God, even through my weakness, He still led you here! I’m honored to have you reading. 🙂 And p.s. I’m working on a post on marriage right now actually, look for it later on this week;)
      Much love!
      Rebekah