Friday, September 14, 2007

Aiming High

by Lynn Bowen Walker

At one point in early motherhood, my goal was simply to keep my boys alive until they reached the age of two. By that time, I figured, their most foolhardy years of investigating electricity outlets and leaping off tall buildings would be over and I could consider my mothering a success.

Eventually the days passed where the job of raising my kids made roping steers look like a staid occupation in comparison. Though my general goal of raising a great family didn’t change, the specifics of my job certainly had. It was time to come up with new goals, goals that went beyond mere survival of the species.

It was at that point I read the advice to come up with a family mission statement, to put into writing a specific picture of how we wanted our homes and families to look. While our homes may not live up to the ideal, we might be “hitting the target more often than we’re missing it because we’re aiming at something,” says author Kathy Peel.

Mission statements can be a valuable tool. Many businesses have them to keep employees on target. A family mission statement can do the same- remind everyone to aspire to a higher standard.
Here’s the family mission statement I came up with: “I want my home to be a welcoming, comfortable place that reflects Christ and meets people’s needs to be loved, nurtured, and listened to.”

Welcoming and comfortable -- meaning I want to achieve some degree of beauty and order, yet not the spic-and-span cleaning standard I know I could never maintain (if I could even achieve it in the first place). Reflecting Christ -- bringing glory to Him in our family’s words, actions, and attitudes, so we might “shine like stars in the universe” to a “crooked and depraved generation” (Philippians 2:15 NIV). It’s a tall order, I know, and one which I’ll shelve by dinnertime if I count on my own abilities. But God can do miracles, and I can trust Him and hope for a miracle beginning in my own sinful, selfish life.

In spite of my and my family’s shortcomings, we “press on,” in the apostle Paul’s words (Philippians 3: 12, 14), not giving up as we keep our goal in sight and pray for God’s help to get us there.

Why don’t you try writing a mission statement for your home? Keep it brief -- a sentence or two should do it -- and see if it doesn’t help you clarify just what your goals are for your home, and for yourself as homemaker.

As Louisa May Alcott once wrote, “Far away, there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations; I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

* * This article is excerpted from Queen of the Castle: 52 Weeks of Encouragement for the Uninspired, Domestically Challenged or Just Plain Tired Homemaker by Lynn Bowen Walker (Thomas Nelson ).