Unlike building a house, building a Christ-centered home is something that only you can do. No one except you can build for you. You are your own contractor.
You may not realize it because many of your day-to-day tasks might feel monotonous or mundane. You’re cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring the kids to activities, and basically everything you do during the day feels perfectly ”ordinary”.
It is the small and simple, day-to-day tasks by which you construct a Christ-centered home. Simple, but powerful! Small and simple choices shape your home hour-by-hour, moment-by-moment, and choice-by-choice.
It is within those everyday moments that the construction phase happens! It doesn’t appear extraordinary and even feels mundane most of the time. But know that you are constructing a Christ-centered home when you choose to love your children, when you make them dinner, when you change diapers, when you comfort a sad or sick child, or when you put a kind note in a lunchbox. Construction happens when you choose to pray with your family before going to bed, read from the scriptures, or say a kind word to your spouse.
Your home construction won’t be noisy, flashy, or obvious to those around you. But it is imperative that you understand it is ongoing!
The truth is, we’re all “under construction”…So what are you choosing to build?
The following are five simple pointers to help keep you on track. While this list isn’t all-inclusive, I think it is super helpful and will serve as a reminder that when Christ becomes the focus of your life, he becomes the center of your home. Print out the PDF and use this as a reminder and checklist of sorts whenever you need it.
1) Remember Christ
What exactly should we remember? Remember Christ. At baptism, we covenant to remember Him always. He should be at the center of our thoughts, words, and actions. Before we do anything, let’s pause and remember Christ.
“Remember” is a word loaded with meaning. Its root word by definition means to “keep in mind” or “be mindful”. ‘Remember’ is used throughout the scriptures a total of 352 times and if you include its variants, that number increases to 550 times. It is the most common adverb used in the Bible and Book of Mormon. And for good reason. The natural man within us all makes us prone to forget. Distractions are everywhere and we are so easily pulled away.
President Nelson has encouraged us to make time for the Savior each and every day. When you spend time in prayer and scripture study, you are more likely to remember the Savior as you go about your everyday life. You’re gifted the ability to “Think Celestial” and remember who you are and why you’re here.
For example, when a child acts out, you’ll pause and ask for guidance because you remember your purpose. Your child isn’t a nuisance trying to make your life miserable! No. He’s a child of God who needs guidance and direction while he figures out how to manage big emotions and control his body. He’s a child of God and given to you during this brief earthly life. He’s a blessing to you and without him, you wouldn’t have the ability to learn what Christ and Heavenly Father need you to learn or grow in ways you can’t even imagine right now.
Families. God knew what he was doing when he created families. But if you want to lead your family to Christ, you must remember Him ALWAYS.
2) Invite the Holy Ghost
President Russell M. Nelson has warned that “in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”
Elder Stevenson taught us how to invite and recognize the Holy Ghost in our lives. He gave us four “guiding principles”.
- Stand in Holy Places
- Stand with Holy People
- Testify of Holy Truths
- Listen to the Holy Spirit
Your home ought to be one of the most sacred places on Earth, along with the Lord’s holy temples. You invite the Holy Ghost in when you shut out the “noise” of the world and seek to follow Christ.
I recently studied a conference talk given by President Eyring that really brought me great peace and hope. I worried that my home could never measure up and be considered a sacred place. I mean, you don’t hear kids fighting over Legos, what color plate they get, or who gets to get out of the back of the van first when you’re inside the temple. If contention drives the Spirit away, then how could eight people… who all have quite the learning curve, mind you…ever hope to keep the Holy Ghost with us at all times? It sounds like an impossible feat, doesn’t it?
But just like you can feel peace in the middle of your darkest moments, you as a leader in your home, can bring the Spirit with you no matter what chaos ensues. You bring the Spirit. You invite him to be with you in those difficult moments of teaching your kids to communicate with each other, share with one another, and they learn and develop love for one another. President Eyring acknowledged that keeping the Spirit in your home is a difficult challenge. Lehi and Sariah found it challenging, too!
If you’re struggling with this like I am, please take a minute and go read his talk! Here is an overview of what you can focus on to help you keep the Spirit in your home:
1) Growing in Faith
2) Praying together with Love
3) Teaching early Repentance
4) Cultivating the Missionary Spirit
5) Visiting the Temple
In each of these guiding principles, yours is the most influential example your children will witness in the home!
3) Speak of Christ and Speak of Him Often
Being a parent in today’s world is nothing short of terrifying! But you don’t need to fear because you have everything you need at your fingertips. Years ago Elder Neil L. Anderson said this about our youth.
April 2010 General Conference
When you speak of Christ in your home, you fan the flame of their faith. You have the potential to influence your child’s testimony and build it into a roaring fire.
Have you heard your children sing the following song in Primary? These lyrics really say it all!
I’m not sure if I can legally include her lyrics here, but head to Sara’s website! Read through the words and even listen to her beautiful daughter sing the song! Wow! Wow! Wow! This is exactly what your children want. They WANT to learn of Jesus so badly. They want to talk about His life, His ministry, His miracles, and His Atoning sacrifice made specifically for them. They crave a deep relationship with their Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ and they need to know that they CAN have just that! It’s up to us to show them how.
The world is only going to speak less and less of Jesus Christ. As parents who know the truth, let us fill our homes with the Savior. Speak of Christ in your homes and speak of Him often. Fill your homes with images and music that testify of Christ and remind you of His ongoing mission. Speak about Him and teach your children to speak TO Him through prayer.
4) Make Room for Christ: Declutter Your Life
Clutter. It’s an icky word isn’t it? What do you think of when you think of clutter? Messy. Chaos. Disorder. Entropy…if you’re a science nerd like me. Ha! Here’s another word you may or may not have thought of…Distraction.
Fun fact…the universe loves disorder. Entropy. It means that chaos and disorder are much easier and more “natural” than orderliness and cleanliness. I bet your wondering, “Okay, what’s the point, science nerd?” I’ll tell you. It takes WORK to keep your home and your life clutter-free! I’m sure that’s no surprise! So if you’re someone that Facebook or Instagram has tricked and you’re wondering why some other mama never has trouble keeping her house clean. Wonder no more. The entire Universe struggles with keeping chaos at bay.
But I want to talk for a bit about decluttering. And I don’t mean your kids bedrooms. I mean your life. Your kids lives. Pause for a minute and take a quick inventory of all the activities, appointments, deadlines, and essentially anything else that pulls you in a thousand different directions. Are you like my family at times…eight individual bouncy balls bouncing in a thousand different directions? Does it feel impossible just to gather everyone together? Forget about being still long enough to have a conversation.
Life can feel crazy. The older kids get, the busier they get. If you have teens, you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you get a high five between school and extracurriculars or after-school jobs. Or at least a glimpse of them…hopefully. Don’t despair. There’s always a solution and I promise you’ll get to see them again!
Let’s go back to that word “Distraction” for just a bit. What thoughts come to mind when you hear this word? Distraction. Satan’s favorite tools to lead us astray are deception and distraction. Ooooh, he’s good, isn’t he? Yep, he definitely knows what he’s doing. How easy is it to fall into the trap of distraction? After all, there are so many good things out there to do with your time. How could all these good activities possibly be bad? Well, it depends…on whether or not they’re distracting you from tasks and activities that ultimately matter most. And what matters most? More on that in the next section!
For now, here’s a favorite quote of mine from Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
5) Remember What Matters Most
President Ballard recently taught, “What matters most is what lasts longest”. So what matters most? Relationships. Specifically, your relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, your family members, your “neighbor”, and yourself. Each of these relationships is significant now and for all eternity. President Ballard adds that “allowing the Spirit of the Lord to guide [you] in those relationships” matters most in addition to these relationships.
1) Your relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Doesn’t it make sense that this relationship should come first? “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, might, mind and strength” and “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven”. (Scripture references). President Nelson has counseled us to make time for the Lord each and every day. This protects us from the adversary because it keeps us focused and centered on Jesus Christ.
2) Your relationship with your family.
Make time for your spouse and each of your children. Be intentional with your time and make it quality time. Be present in the moment. Listening, not multitasking. Your influence in the home is greatest when you work to establish strong relationships with each family member. Your spouse and children will feel the Savior’s love through you and it will unite and strengthen your family.
3) Your relationship with your “neighbor”.
I have “neighbor” in quotes because this could mean anyone within your sphere of influence; which, spoiler alert, is bigger than you realize. Sure it includes people who live on your street, but it also includes the cashier at the grocery store you shop at, the random stranger you helped that one time, or the other soccer mom you said ‘hello’ to. The second great commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself”.
4) Loving yourself.
As moms, we often put ourselves at the bottom of the list and help everyone else until we’re spent. Are taking a few moments to recharge? Remember that “daily restoration” we talked about? Taking time to let in spiritual light through scripture study and prayer is a way to spend time with the Lord each day, but it is also a way to care for ourselves. Those negative voices that play in your mind and tell you you’re not enough are the opposite of loving yourself. Don’t allow those thoughts to play in your mind. The adversary works so hard on you beautiful mothers because he knows your power and influence are great. Ask the Lord how you’re doing and what He wants you to do each day. Love yourself as the divine daughter of God that you are and know your worth.
Isn’t it interesting that each important relationship in your life is strengthened when Christ is your focus? He is truly your firm foundation upon which all else is built.
I don’t think I touched on anything new here, but what I hope you’ll take away from this article is hope and comfort. Find peace in knowing that you have a powerful influence in your home. You can’t do this by yourself and you don’t have to. You have the Savior on your side and the Holy Ghost is right there ready to witness of Him.
Keep it simple! Stick to the basics.
- Remember the Savior in all you do and say.
- Strive your best to keep the Spirit present in your home.
- Speak and testify of Christ often.
- Put Christ first in your life.
- Remember what really matters most.
I’m rooting for you! You’re doing an amazing job, Momma!
I would love to hear your thoughts! What would you add? Is there something that helps you create a more Christ-centered home? Please share in the comments and help all of us mommas out! Thank you for being a part of this community!