Discovering God's Calling in Starting a New Home
Glory to you, our one God who is three loving persons, who created a mysterious order to the universe. We explore your creation and find both predictability and chaos. There are patterns we can understand and occurrences that confound our minds. Our households are likewise both predictable and chaotic. May we manage our households with the wisdom through which you manage the universe. May we love as you love, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be (Luke 12:15).
For your heart will always be where your riches are (Luke 12:34).
Home, household life, is crucial for most of us in order to discern God’s call in our lives. God is present in the places we dwell. God whispers to us in the quiet of our homes. Also, God’s message for us emerges from the loud and frenetic chaos of our homes. How do we manage household life so that we can hear and discern God’s call?
In the chapter on “Managing Household Life” in the book Living Well: Christian Practices for Everyday Life the author says,
It wasn’t so long ago that the home was the center of our lives and society. A lot has changed in the past fifty or sixty years. Today, managing our household life seems to have gotten lost in the sea of other commitments and activities outside the home. Yet, each of us hungers for the stability of a home life that gives our lives order and nurtures loving relationships .
There was a time when, for most people, nearly everything happened at home. All of the important things like falling in love, births, parties, deaths, funerals, work, education, health care, employment, food production, and even waste management were primarily family responsibilities. There were no birthing rooms, party centers, funeral homes, factories, office buildings or extensive government programs. And up until the last two hundred years or so, most communities had no formal schooling or hospital facilities. Managing household life was the center of society. Today it is not unusual for women and men to feel a bit embarrassed when they admit that they spend their days keeping house.
Household life is much different today than in generations past. Still, home remains the place where we figure out how to live with one another, learn to be productive, develop habits of need and desire, manage frustration and rage, forgive one another, and simply how to “be” together. In the words of Sharon Doloz Park, “Our households are anchoring places where, over time, we craft the practices by which we prosper or fail to prosper” (Practicing Our Faith).
Every home is unique, yet God is present in each one. This reflection will help you discover God’s presence in your home, and discern God’s call as a you start a new home life.
In his book Managing Transitions, William Bridges writes that transitions always start with an ending. Seems odd, yes, but he maintains that the first step toward a life change is identifying what you are losing and learning how to manage the losses.
Creating a new home, whether your first, or the next in a string of many throughout your life, means change and transition. It means letting go of your former dwelling, and purposefully creating and dedicating your new home in a manner that not only recognizes God’s presence there, but intentionally seeks to experience God’s presence there.
Depending on the circumstances of this move, you may have some trepidation. All may be new to you; in addition to your new home, your neighborhood and community may be new. You may need to learn your way around. You may need to make new friends. Or perhaps this home comes as a result of a new household family structure, such as marriage or divorce, or a child moving out or moving in, or perhaps as a result of a family member’s illness. Anxiety is to be expected; it’s normal. Pay attention to those feelings. They are indicators of a life change that you and those of your household must now navigate.
In the article, 16 Ways to Help Your Family Transition to a New Home, the authors say:
Moving and having to say goodbye to a home full of memories can be pretty tough—but it’s even tougher when kids are involved. Whether you’re moving to a new city or simply moving down the street to a different neighborhood, the loss of familiarity for kids can be stressful.
Take a moment to read the entire article. Even if you do not have children, some of the suggestions may be useful, such as:
Write and/or Discuss
Jot some notes or share with others your responses to these questions:
In the article What Makes for a Spiritually Vibrant Household?, researchers from Barna wrote:
Good things happen when those who share a home also share everyday liturgies with one another. Good things happen when those who share a home habitually share their lives with others. And all of these good things—a support system, shared regimens, recreational and creative time, spiritual discipline—are amplified when both Christian devotion and hospitality become part of the ethos of a household.
As you transition to a new home, take a few moments to write down the ethos of the household you wish to create. Another way to put it: how will you know when your new house has become your new home?
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain (Psalm 127:1).
What's Emerging in My Life
Let’s consider what might be emerging in your life and home as a result of this transition. As we do so, let us remember a few things that others have discovered about God’s callings in their lives. We can say that responding to God’s call will likely . . .
Let’s consider the first bullet point that God’s call will lead to happiness in the long run. There is virtually no argument that we should not try to make our homes into happy and healthy places. Responding to God’s presence in the home will bring true, authentic, and lasting happiness.
Near the beginning of her video titled Making Your Home into a Happy and Holy Place, Shifra Sharstein leads a guided meditation that directs the listener toward a particular way of viewing home and household life. View the guided meditation now, starting at 2:00 minutes and ending at 5:30 minutes.
Write and/or Discuss
Take a moment to reflect on these questions, then discuss or journal your responses.
You may want to view the remainder of the video.
Our property is a gift for enjoyment and a challenge to generosity.
Our loved ones are deeply mysterious and our surest gateway to your presence.
May we harmonize our households with your created order.
May we share the abundant blessings of your physical world.
How Should I Live?
Now we seek to turn the corner and fully embrace the call. We seek to develop fruitful patterns of behavior and action that bring fulfillment.
Do the following with members of your household. If you live by yourself, you can still do the activity. Respond amen to the following statements about rooms in your household. Say “Amen” if:
Following this litany, have a discussion about shared responsibility in your household. Mention that each member of the household is gifted by the Holy Spirit to make some kind of contribution for the good of all. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians says, “The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all.”
Use these questions to get the discussion going:
Here are links to helpful practices and strategies for responding to the call to build a new home life.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-20).