What Is The Purpose Of Homemaking?

homemaking

Do you ever feel angry while doing the dishes? Maybe you bang and clang the pots and pans around extra loud after dinner as you’re filling the sink, or slam the kitchen cupboards a little extra hard? Maybe as the family relaxes after dinner you want to shout, rather sarcastically, “Don’t worry about me! I’ll be right here! In the kitchen! Cleaning up the dinner I just made you! Hope you’re all having LOTS of fun out there!!!” 

This was me last summer. (Not that I don’t still struggle..I do.) But it felt like all of my dreams, passions, and desires were constantly budding heads with one thing…housework, chores, and cooking. And they never ended.

I just couldn’t see the purpose in homemaking. I couldn’t find the joy in it. I didn’t even know how.

***

“I hate cooking,” I remember telling my mom when she came up for a visit last summer.  “But you’re a great cook!” she said. “Well, I still hate it.”

Somehow, about a month after that conversation, “Taste of Home Magazine,” began mysteriously appearing in my mailbox. (Thanks, Mom.)

I realized a couple of things last summer. One of them was that I really loved to write. The other, was that I really hated to cook, (and pretty much do all household chores.) I went through this phase where I walked around saying, “I hate this, I hate this, I hate this.”

It felt good to admit that. I was sick of pretending to like something I didn’t like at all. And part of me felt like I was discovering “myself”–what I was really passionate about, and what I was made to do. But as I felt more passionate about what I “loved,” I began to feel more contempt for what I hated. (Chores, cleaning, cooking, etc.)

Needless to say, that summer my homemaking skills really languished. The laundry piled up. The bathtub changed colors. And we ate lots of frozen pizza. So much that I started buying the big value 3-packs. (Sorry, Mom.)

I was stuck.

I knew I should care more about homemaking, and cooking, and cleaning. But I just didn’t.

Have you ever been in this place—where you just hate “homemaking?” Where you just feel like you were made for something more…than dishes, and laundry, and casseroles? And it all feels a lot more like a big burden, than a blessing?

What I didn’t understand that summer, but would learn later that year, was that there was a bigger purpose in homemaking that I couldn’t see yet.

It had to do with loving my husband and daughter. It had to do with “laying my life down” and “considering others better than myself.” It had to do with engaging with God in all things (not just in writing, but while I did the dishes, too.) It had to do with serving a larger goal than what my eyes could see in the pile of laundry, or the sticky kitchen floor. But what was it? This question kept coming back to me, and still does many days:

“What is the goal of homemaking? What is the purpose in it? Why do we do it?”

I desperately needed to see it with new eyes. I needed to see the purpose in it. Because, as a free-spirit, when I don’t see the meaning in something I’m doing, I struggle to do it with the right heart. (Or to do it at all.)

Perhaps you are in a place like I was, and you really don’t see the purpose in “housework.” If so, I encourage you to be very honest and bring those burdens to the Lord. Because God doesn’t want you to show Him the pretend you, He wants you to show Him the real you. Because when you are honest with Him about what you love, what you hate, your dreams, your passions, your heart cries–He hears you. And He can speak directly into your heart, to give you the vision for what He loves, what He hates, what His dreams, and passions, and heart cries are. And those are something worth living for.

Here Is The Purpose Of Homemaking

thriving

I asked my friend Rachel from Thriving Home to help answer a few questions for us about the “heart” behind homemaking for us. (She will be sharing more of the “how” in a later post.) But I think if you explore her and Polly’s beautiful Thriving Home Blog, (where I learned how to make freezer meals) you will want to pick her brain a little yourself. But here are a few of Rachel’s insights that helped me see “the bigger picture,” and the purpose behind it all.

Q: Rachel, what makes a “thriving” home? And what is the “goal” of homemaking?

A: First and foremost, a thriving home starts with making a relationship with God the center of the home. And from this relationship will flow thriving relationships within our home—marriage, parent-child, and sibling relationships. We see this principle in the Greatest Commandment that Jesus taught in Matthew 27:37-39: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus teaches us, just as the Old Testament laws and prophets did (vs. 40), the principle of the greater to the lesser. If we love God, it only makes sense that our love will also flow to those God created and put into our lives.
So, are you and your husband making time to go to church, read your Bible and pray, and teach your children about the gospel? Are you trying to live out your faith authentically (yet imperfectly) in front of your children, friends and neighbors? Relationship with God and our family (whoever that is for you) are the cornerstones of a thriving home.

But relationships in a home without some order and work around the house do suffer. That’s where homemaking skills like organizing, cleaning, cooking, decorating, etc. come in. The purpose of homemaking is to serve and enhance the relationships in the home. This is a really important concept to “get,” so let’s flesh out this idea for a moment:

When I have a dinner plan in advance, I can start on it in the morning and/or avoid a last minute trip to the store…and I have more relational time with my kids after school.

When our home is relatively clean, organized, and decorated…my husband feels more relaxed at home and we are more likely to want to invite friends and family over.

When dinner is around the table most nights…we put our phones away, pray together and talk to one another (in a sometimes kid-chaotic way that is).

You get the idea, right? Organization, cleanliness, and eating well aren’t the ultimate goal. But, they do serve the ultimate goal of building close, lasting relationships that honor God.

Q: What hope would give to the women who feels her home is chaotic?

A: One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that NO ONE has it all together at home. Homemaking is a messy process because we live in a messy, broken world. A perfect home is just not possible, nor is it healthy to strive for one. Because, being perfect is not the point and it’s not what God asks of us. Instead, the goal of homemaking is to ultimately glorify God and bless your family and others. And that will look different for all of us, depending on our specific skills set, family needs, and values.

Q: How does your role as a homemaker honor God? How do you feel you are showing love to your family through making your home thrive?

A: Abraham Kuyper, a famous Dutch theologian, aptly said, “There is not one square inch in the entire creation about which Jesus does not cry out, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!’” Jesus generously gives us our homes, our relationships, and this work at home. There is no job that is beneath him or that he doesn’t care about. All of creation is from him, through him, and for him (Romans 11:36). So every time we move a laundry load along again or we swish a toilet again or we work at spending our money wisely or we take extra time making our child’s favorite breakfast, we are being good stewards of what He has given us. We are bringing Him glory and loving our families well.


I love Rachel’s answer on this, and I’m adopting it as my own. The bottom line is:

The ultimate goal is not “order, healthy meals, and cleanliness.” Those things serve the ultimate goal: which is to love and worship God, and to build close God-honoring relationships with each other.

It’s not about loving your “house” more. (If that’s the case, your house can turn into an idol real quick.) It’s about loving your family and cherishing those relationships more, and creating an environment where they can thrive.

As Rachel said, when there is some order in the home, dinner is on the table, we naturally engage with each other more. And want to invite friends over more. Perhaps we may even feel more inclined to sit down with a cup of coffee and read our Bibles, or write or, worship.

I still have days where I bang the dishes around and slam the cupboard doors. But when I do, it’s usually because I’m forgetting the ultimate goal. And the goal is God. I want to love Him, and know His love. And I want to show His love my husband and daughter. I want to create an atmosphere where He can be glorified, engaged with, and worshiped.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phillipians 2:3-4

Questions:

Where are you at with homemaking currently? Do you enjoy it? Hate it? Is it easy or hard to see the purpose (or “ultimate goal”) in it? Feel free to share in the comment section!


Learn more about the “heart” and the “how” behind homemaking by following this September series “The Free-Spirit Homemaker: How To Maintain Your Home, Without Losing Your Soul.”  Go to Barren to Beautiful’s Facebook page and “like” it in order to have new posts pop up right in your newsfeed! Or enter your email address on my blog and have posts delivered straight to your inbox!

 

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7 thoughts on “What Is The Purpose Of Homemaking?

  1. I remember very clearly the first time the word ‘hate’ entered my mind regarding homemaking. I was wiping off the kitchen counter, thinking to myself, “I despise this. This is absolutely useless. What is the point?” I wish I could say I recognized the thought for what it was and never entertained it again. But I didn’t. I dwelled and dwelled on it. Sure enough the hatred grew. Now I realize what that was–a LIE. I’m not saying we can’t be honest with God about the things we don’t like. But when we notice an attitude of contempt, so foreign to who we know we are in Christ, it should send up red flags–particularly when related to those we are called to love and the ways we are called to love them. There is joy in service for all the wonderful reasons you stated.

    • Rebekah,
      You put this so beautifully. Thank you for sharing your heart on this! I think you are absolutely right–those feelings, when they come, need to be countered with the truth and love of God. I am always amazed at the the way Jesus laid down his life for us, not that he just laid it down–but with great joy. The word says, “For the joy set before him, he suffered the cross..” I don’t want to just do my job..but to do it with great joy. And I think that’s the difference between living like a “slave” versus a “son” of God. Because I think that JOY is the key difference in the environments we are creating in our homes. I needed this reminder this morning–I’m so glad you took time to share. Much love to you Rebekah, I always LOVE to hear your thoughts!!

  2. Hi! I have also thought the “hate” word frequently when it comes to homemaking and have had either the attitude of a martyr or an angry woman when my family can’t read my mind and chip in to help. I realized that 1. They don’t see the house the same way I do and 2. They need actual lists placed on the fridge to remember that it’s important to finish chores. I realize that this is a training period and that I try to think forward to the time where they will live in college dorms, with roommates, or have their own families and I keep that in mind as I give them their “jobs.” I do often fall into the trap of feeling guilty if things are not perfect, but have realized this past year that perfect is not welcoming. Gracious and kind attitudes are welcoming. People don’t like to watch you do the dishes and rush around when they come over. They want to feel like they belong and that they are important. This is what makes people want to come over to your house, which should be the main focus. Anyway, I’m getting off topic, but I also wanted to say that something else that has really helped me is listening to Christian podcasts while I’m cleaning. It has made do my “chores” so much easier when I get to listen to something encouraging and am filling my mind with good stuff. 🙂

  3. I just left my job as a nurse back in May to stay home with my son (almost 2) so homemaking full-time is still a delight to me. Getting the laundry pile down to a small hill and a sparkling kitchen still hold appeal to me (but I’m sure that could change with time). My real struggle since staying home full-time is seeking to serve my husband and just be a better and supportive wife. I have always worked during our marriage of 14 years and we often fended for ourselves because we were so busy. I am so enjoying being with my son full-time but am finding it difficult to determine how to be a help to my husband. Our relationship overall is great but I just feel like I’m not supporting him the way I could or should. Not even sure this makes sense but any advice would be great.

    • I’m so glad to hear your thoughts on this. And I think it’s great that you are enjoying it!! You are probably enjoying it because you are seeing it rightly and have a good perspective and awareness of the blessing it is to serve the people God has give you! That is awesome! I hope it never leaves! 😉 I do hear what you are saying about your husband though. Depending on how old your child is, or how needy they are could make it easier/or more difficult for spending time together. The next post coming out in this series though is by Jeanne Harrison and it’s about creating a schedule or rhythm for your week (one of the things she addresses is the way she finds quality time with her husband. That post might be helpful–look for it later this week.) But a few questions you could ask yourself (or your husband!) are: What does he enjoy? How does he feel loved? What am I willing to give up in order to give that to him? If your husband loves quality time with you, fight for it the moment your little goes down for the night–even it means your just watching a movie or talking together. There is always something else to clean–so be intentional not to get lost doing something else, when the clock is ticking for the limited valuable time you have alone together. Maybe it’s getting a baby-sitter for an evening–or, for a long time we preferred earlier in the day dates–because we were both more awake for them! haha;) I know it can be hard to be intentional to show love to your husband–when it feels like there’s so much else to take care of. But I think if you truly want to be loving to him, and look for ways to do so, God will lead you in this, and you will both be blessed by it. Thanks for bringing up this topic though! I may write a post on this at some point. Much love. Thanks for reading. And I hope you keep finding the JOY. 😉
      Rebekah

  4. This,

    “What is the goal of homemaking? What is the purpose in it? Why do we do it?”

    I desperately needed to see it with new eyes. I needed to see the purpose in it. Because, as a free-spirit, when I don’t see the meaning in something I’m doing, I struggle to do it with the right heart. (Or to do it at all.)

    ~ is almost word for word what I was thinking when I googled “finding meaning and purpose in homemaking.” This is the item that came up with the search. I would also describe myself as a free spirit and struggle to do things that I don’t find meaning in.

    Thank you for writing this. It really helped put into perspective what is that I am doing.

    • Emily,
      I am so glad that you found my little blog! Especially through a Google search, haha! Yes, I understand it so well! I wrote this post about a year ago…but it is still a struggle for me! It’s hard because I don’t find meaning in house work (at all!)–but I’m trying to remember that when I do it, I am serving and loving my husband and daughter…and so that makes it meaningful. 🙂 I am a big work in progress..if you could see my house now, haha. Glad to have a kindred spirit reading along! P.S. I’m finding that blasting my music while I clean really helps..At least it’s a little more fun that way, and I don’t feel like I”m losing my soul in the process, haha. Much love!
      Rebekah

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