Last weekend a dear friend came over. Her husband was away for the night on business and I offered a refuge from the sweltering sun (I love you with my whole heart, air conditioning). We sat around my table devouring Hawaiian BBQ and later witnessed our kid’s attack each other with water balloons. We were both worn out from a long week and the 97-degree heat did nothing to help us (I’m looking at you, global warming).

After dancing to J Timberlake, breaking up countless quibbles between our littles, instructing for the billionth time what sharing looks like, we said our good-byes. Before she left, we stood on the front porch and she shared how a friend told her she’d decided to take back her home. That line, that simple line, “take back your home” had my head spinning. What would it look like to take back my home? 

When everything gets away from us, when we give a grumbly “yes” when we should give a solid “no”, when bickering and raised eyebrows get the best of us… we can take back our homes. It doesn’t have to be like this.

I read a few books this summer that answered this question including Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall. Both were equally fabulous in their own right. Each explained what health looked like for them in their season of life.

But what about for you? What would it look like for you, dear friend, to take back your home? 

Maybe it’s not in utter chaos. Maybe everyone in your home is talking with such love and kindness you could bottle it up and sell it on the streets. Or maybe you are pulling your hair out as you stare at your dirty dishes and want to drop kick a cat because you are so blasted tired. 

If that’s you, I want to let you in on five ways I’ve taken back my home, and you can too.

Take it back:

SPIRITUALLY: Stop and pray. When you want to scream, pray. Start praying when you want to yell at your kids, or better yet, pray with your kids. Pray with your spouse. Pray over your day. Give it up to the Great Redeemer of our tired and broken moments. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

RELATIONALLY: Where there is relational strife there is a room for resentment and anger to fester.  If you need to apologize in order to move forward from the mess then get to it. Don’t hesitate. If you are in the wrong, cough up the apology that will prompt healing both in your heart and the heart of your husband, child, or friend. Ephesians 4:31-32 reminds us, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

SYSTEMATICALLY: I’m a firm believer in a schedule. I lose my footing if I’m constantly surprised or exhausted about what I have to do each day. While this sounds simple, it is pure genius. While you schedule your chiropractic appointment, and kid’s dental exam, go ahead and schedule some YOU time. Yep, just you. Share it with whomever you need. Your soul can’t run on empty. You need some time to breathe without any obligation and guilt. Want to take a bath? Go for it. Want to take a walk? Slip on those sneakers. Want to stare into space for an hour? Enjoy a hot cup of coffee while you do it. It only seems right. Mark 6:31 reads, “And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”

ORGANIZATIONALLY: Are you tripping over old toys in your kid’s room? Are you searching through your closet for something that fits among all the clothes that don’t? Purge. Purge what is not useful, necessary, or needed. The small stressors caused by disarray add up quick. You’ll find yourself free of labored breathing when your kitchen cupboards, kids play area, and closet doesn’t look like a bear rummaged through it.

SOCIALLY: Community matters. Walking through life is not for the faint of heart and we certainly were never meant to wade through this alone. You don’t have to be in a cheery mood to be with your dearest companions. You don’t have to have it all together and look Pinterest perfect to meet up with girlfriends. All you need is you, the raw, authentic, you. Share your heart: ups, downs, and doozies. It’s the only way to get through this life. Galatians 6:2, encourages us, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

We can do this, we can take back our homes, one moment, one day, one month at a time.