The Discipline of Home.

((from Brittany*))

*Unfortunately your usual Wednesday Hoper, Megan, has had a death in her extended family. But we are so very glad to have HiH alumna Brittany here to share with you today while we continue our conversation about discipline!

I have always admired my mama friends who are up, showered, and put together before their children open their eyes. Their quiet times done, homes in order, and breakfast prepared by the time their kids sleepily stumble out of their beds. Their discipline to create order out of chaos and to bring steadiness to their homes is so incredible.

No matter how hard I try, I am not that girl.

Just this week, I woke up to the pitter-patter of feet in my room only to look at the alarm clock and proclaim, “We’re going to be late for school!” After a mad rush around the house, I dragged my yoga-pants-wearing-bod and smudged-mascara’d-tired-eyes to my disaster of a minivan and got my kids all buckled into the hot-mess express as I threw frozen waffles at them for breakfast.

For a long time I confused discipline with organization, and was envious of my friends who seemed to have the spiritual gift of HAVING THEIR ISH TOGETHER. I saw how their consistency blessed their families, and the harder I tried to emulate their systems, the more frustrated I became.

But all was not lost.

A few years ago I was talking to my counselor about some of my personality flairs in the context of my marriage. My husband and I both have rather big personalities that can lean towards the loud, crazy, and chaotic. I was essentially asking how we should change – expecting our counselor to give me a pep talk and some strategies.

Instead, he laughed. As our calm counselor looked at the two crazies sitting in his office, he asked us if we really wanted to change who we were, who God designed us to be. In a nutshell, part of what makes me, well me, is my personality.

Back to the topic of discipline.

When I was trying to get my feet under me as a mom and figure out what the priorities of our home would be, I realized that if those decisions were going to stick, I couldn’t just imitate my other friends. No, in order for them to work they had to align with my personality, God given-gifts, and capacity to grow. I didn’t want to simply hide behind my personality in an attempt to avoid growth, rather if I wanted to bring discipline to our home it needed to be strategic.

So I asked myself, how can I grow in discipline in our home? Which turned into, what do I want our home to be?

…A fun and safe place for my family to grow and learn.

…An open door for old & new friends to find refuge, a warm cup of coffee, and delicious food.

…A place where all people are welcome.

…A tiny glimpse of heaven, albeit a broken one, where God’s grace and love abounds.

And through some hard work, I realized that I could be disciplined in this.

Discipline might not look like my taking a shower every day, but our door is open to our little community and friends now know they’re welcome at all hours, when our home is clean and when it’s not, and that there will always be coffee.

My children see their mom reading her Bible on the couch amidst the chaos; because even though I’m laying next to a ginormous pile of unfolded laundry and there are toys all over the floor, they see the daily discipline of a crazy mom in need of a great Savior.

When my personality exposes my sin nature, and I am loud and harsh and impatient with my kids, the discipline of saying “I’m sorry” and creating a home where apologies and forgiveness and proclaiming both brokenness and redemption in the same moment is a priority.

And when I walk into a home that is obviously more organized or disciplined in different areas than ours, I choose to celebrate these friends rather than compete. They too reflect God in their own unique ways by bringing order to chaos.

The truth is, I am not disciplined in a lot of areas and it will probably always stay that way no matter how hard I try. The Salmon family is a hot-mess, but we are a hot-mess that is choosing to run hard after a different type of discipline. It’s not easily seen (because it’s hard to view a thirty-something-year-old in sweatpants and un-shampooed hair as organized), but we have chosen to be disciplined in the things like loving people in spite of our own chaos, and it’s slowly starting to pay off.

Just last night we had a bunch of early twenty-somethings in our home to talk about Jesus and His church. I made a simple meal of soup and cookies, coffee was available, and kiddos wrecked the house. We all joked about our tiny little extroverts running around as each of our children were high on life playing with and loving on our guests. I guess the truth of the matter is, discipline comes in all different shapes and sizes, but what I finally learned is that although the Salmon family will probably arrive at an event ten minutes late and missing at least one shoe, we’re still going to show up for our people.

The discipline of loving others well isn’t one-size-fits-all, and for that, this hot-mess is hopeful and eternally grateful.

What are some areas you’re naturally disciplined in? What are some areas that you feel called to grow in? How does your unique personality BLESS your attempts at discipline? Would love to hear your thoughts!


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