The atmosphere of our home is important. In fact, I would encourage any woman reading this to make their home's atmosphere one of their steadfast boundaries and top priorities. The goalpost on personal boundaries can move as we figure out what’s reasonable and what's not or what worked and what didn’t. As far as the home is concerned, it’s best served as a place of refuge. If we have children, this is even more important!
I would bet that if you have a loved one actively addicted to something, you can feel the difference when they’re in the room. I’m sorry to say it, but that’s the enemy at work and entering your home through sin. You wouldn’t knowingly invite the devil in, so why allow him a seat at your table?
Click to Tweet: Can you feel the difference in the mood of your home when your spouse or child is home? Time for some spiritual boundaries! Click here to learn four boundaries I have to protect my home from demonic influence-> http://bit.ly/spirituallysafe
Your job is to be “protector” on the home front.
Boundaries can be confusing! What’s controlling? What isn’t? What’s doable? When is expecting too much? And being Christians, how do we make boundaries that line up with God’s Word?
I want to share some of the boundaries I have to protect the spiritual atmosphere of my home and maybe, they’ll be something that can work for you too!
Boundary Number One- It starts in the car.
Our family vehicle is an extension of our home and the vessel in which we most often use to travel into the world. The other day, my three-year-old son got into our car and turned on a heavy metal "death and hellfire” song my husband had on a memory stick in the car.
“That’s Papi’s rock song,” he said to which I replied, “Oh no! That music makes Jesus sad. Papi is going to get rid of it”. Then, I immediately sent my husband a message that I do not want our children to grow up listening to that and could he please remove it from the car.
Though he mumbled, grumbled, defended and protested, he respected my wishes because I tend to make quite a fuss and he knows life is easier when I am happy.
Although I believe my husband is allowing Satan a foothold in his life with his atrocious choices in music (which, in my opinion, coincide with his mood and the state of his spiritual life), I cannot control how he abuses his soul. And it is an abuse of the soul. Over and over again, through that music, my husband is telling himself he is miserable, ugly and unloved, amongst other things; so many songs glorify suicide- and we wonder what’s going on with our kids these days!
What I can control, and what’s very important to me, is my kids do not grow up with any messages that they are “not enough,” “hated,” or that suicide is their only way out of emotional pain.
“Don’t you realize that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is eliminated? But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a person.”
-Matthew 15:17-18 (CSB)
Click to Tweet: Atrocious choices in music are an abuse of the soul. Over and over again, through that music, we tell ourselves we are miserable, ugly and unloved, amongst other things; glorifying suicide as a viable way to resolve pain.
I had an interesting chat the other day with my Dominican-born neighbour. Her kids are the same age as mine, so we often walk and chat to and from school. If you don’t know, my husband is from the Dominican Republic, so I enjoy talking to her because she understands Dominican-husband struggle on a very “normal” marriage level.
He and I- we are from different worlds.
We were talking about my new baby, and I mentioned my husband’s family (and many others) keep commenting on the colour of her skin- pointing out that she is darker than her siblings. This shouldn’t be a bad thing except that in the Dominican they celebrate lightness and having “good hair”. So for them, commenting on her dark skin comes off as a passive insult.
My neighbour has beautiful, dark skin and was very enlightening about the prejudice that came along with it. She mentioned she didn’t think she would have to ever explain this to a “white girl” but I’m glad she did. She said that in the Dominican, their obsession with skin and hair is a long-time, generational teaching of self-hate. There is no relative scale of “blackness”. The prejudice is so ingrained, it comes down to who is the darkest in the family.
In my husband’s case, this was very true as he had the darkest skin in his family. When I met him, he wore long sleeves for most of the summer, complained when he got a tan and always pointed out he was dark in photos (incomparable because literally, everyone has a tan next to me!). Personally, I think he looks better when he has a tan. I love his skin. Just as I would love my baby had she come out green (actually, she came out super orange because she was jaundiced! Poor muffin!).
Long story short, my husband grew up being told oh-so-subtly that he was “lesser-than”. Sure, his family loved him, but beneath the love, there was a socialized teaching of self-hatred. Is it any wonder he now fills his head with music that gives him the same, hateful message? I do not want my children to grow up feeling like they need to be anyone else than who God made them be- perfectly crafted, just as they are.
Oh, and I squashed the nickname like a roaring Mama Bear should.
Boundary Number Two- The eyes are (actually, really!) the window to the soul.
What does this phrase mean? I’ve mentioned this story before, but it’s fitting so I will do it again!
I grew up in Canada. In school, we learned a fair bit about the history of the Natives. There was a story we read I never forgot called, “The Tale of Two Wolves”.
It goes like this:
“An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. ‘A fight is going on inside me,’ he said to the boy. ‘It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego’.
He continued, ‘The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too’.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, ‘Which wolf will win?’
The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed’.
Hey- pin it so you don't forget it!
In heaven, the angels are fighting for our souls. The Cherokee grandfather was so right when he said the wolf who wins is the one we feed.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.”
-Ephesians 6:12 (CSB)
As such, we should be careful about what we "feed our soul". Watching something violent or sexual is not going to send us to hell or take away our salvation, but it also isn’t feeding good, peaceful things to our soul. And with addiction, we need all the peace we can get. We cannot control what our loved ones are doing, but we can make our home a refuge. That means, no crap television or movies.
If you’ve been guilty of indulging in the junk yourself (no judgement, here!) consider that you’re doing yourself an injustice by robbing yourself of living the most peaceful life you can live. The language, the attitudes, the sexuality- it makes its way in one form or another. And the only person it really hurts- is us. We curse and then think, “Gah! Why did I say that?! Sorry, Lord. I wish I had more self-control” [true story!].
If we want peace to come out- we have to put peace in.
Click to Tweet: Watching something violent or sexual is not going to send us to hell, but it also isn’t feeding good, peaceful things to our soul. And with addiction, we need all the peace we can get. Here are four peace-loving boundaries -> http://bit.ly/spirituallysafe
And don’t get me started on the kids. Delete YouTube. Sign off of Netflix. No computers or phones in bedrooms behind closed doors. They hate us because they’re the only kid who isn’t on Instagram? Tough luck, buttercup. Go on it when you move out (okay, I mean, you don’t have to go crazy but just sayin’!).
Sneaky parenting hack:
We can’t stop our kids from experimenting and making bad choices, but if we shelter them, it won’t take much for their soul to feel offended (been there! Many T. Hanks, Mom and Dad).
Boundary Number Three- The Lord puts the world to sleep each night and so should we.
"Then he said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.'
At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'”
-1 Kings 19:11-13 (CSB)
Imagine how rested and happy we would all be if we went to sleep and woke up with the sun? I’ll bet we could almost cure depression right then and there. In our busy lives, we have created artificial light so we can stay up later and indulge in our in-necessities. And trust me, I’m so guilty of this! People often ask how I’m able to do ministry work and manage my children- I sleep very little. But regardless, I’m a big believer nighttime should be a time of rest and quiet.
Rest is so important. I wrote a post about it [read, “My Most Important Boundary”] so I won’t go into it too much today, but when evening comes, our homes should be quiet, calm and restful. This helps to recharge our soul and also sets the mood for sleep. If you have kids, you may be in the habit of doing this already, but it’s basically a bedtime routine for adults. I like to drink tea and light candles. Before the baby, I used to read, have a bath, do my Bible study, watch tv or spend time scanning Pinterest and dreaming but lately, I usually sleep!
What matters, is my house is quiet. In rest, we renew our strength to deal with whatever the next day brings. We shed the busyness of life and weariness of every day in the cozy peacefulness that settles over our home.
Boundary Number Four- Clear the air.
My nine-year-old son saw a demon once in our dining room. At the time, I didn’t know my husband had relapsed. I was upset because I thought he was smoking pot. Turns out, it was just a front for the real issue. And how did that demon get into my home? It came in right behind my husband, that’s how. Tailing along in the shadow of his sin.
Here’s how I handle an invitation for the enemy to sit at my table:
• I immediately tell the devil, OUT LOUD, that he is not welcome in my home. My home is covered in the blood of Jesus, and I command the evil spirit, along with all his underlings, to leave. The war has already been won by the blood of Jesus!
“So the dragon was furious with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring— those who keep the commands of God and hold firmly to the testimony about Jesus.”
-Revelation 12:17 (CSB)
• I put worship music on all day in the background. Sometimes it’s loud, I’ll turn it up and sing along, but for the most part, it’s the quiet noise in my home. This also works in the car or in children’s rooms while they are sleeping!
“Then my people will dwell in a peaceful place, in safe and secure dwellings.”
-Isaiah 32:18 (CSB)
• I clean. Everything. It is an act of servitude to my home and my family that makes me feel closer to God. While I clean, I pray for my home, the people in it and the evil influence that may have come in.
“‘One who has bathed,’ Jesus told him, ‘doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.’ For he knew who would betray him. This is why he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’
When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer clothing, he reclined again and said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are speaking rightly, since that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you.’"
• I hide and go to the Word. My bedroom is my “war room” during the cold months and my patio when the temperature gets warmer. Although praying, worship music and saying the name of Jesus out loud are all powerful- I see the most significant impact when I spend time in the Word of God. No one needs to know it’s what I’m doing but in those moments, I am immediately changing the atmosphere. Like a light spilling into the darkness, the Word will run from my war room into the rest of the home- chasing away the enemy.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
-Psalm 23:5 (CSB)
These are the foundational "four corners" that protect the home.
Like the four corners of our home hold up walls that protect us from physical elements that rage from the outside (like the tornado that threw a tree into our yard recently!), these four boundaries will protect us from the spiritual elements that rage wage against our souls. As the woman of your household, the matriarch of your immediate family, you have a responsibility and a duty to protect those inside.
If it is your spouse who is addicted, he is to be the head of your home; however, in his addiction, he has relinquished his responsibility and his Biblical right to do so. God created you to be your husband’s partner, not his subordinate. Should the leader fail to lead in battle, the second in command would rise.
Rise, oh strong woman. Rise, oh faithful one. Your home is your territory- don’t let the enemy entrap "soul soldiers" to steal, kill and destroy all those you love.
This stops at you.
“Because you have made the Lord—my refuge, the Most High—your dwelling place, no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways.”
-Psalm 91:9-11 (CSB)