Love and respect are both very transformative. A loved woman becomes more and more lovely, and respected men become more and more respectable. We all know this at a foundational level. It is true all over the world that when someone bestows love on something or someone, change is visible. I am not talking simply of emotions here – I mean the action of loving, or the action of respecting. Emotions follow actions, and it is one of the great myths of our time that love is an uncontrollable force, coming and going in ways beyond human control.
Our culture is plagued with women who do not love or respect their own callings. Loving and respecting your calling at home is almost unheard of. Not one, not the other, but both. When you respect your calling at home, you will not struggle with your purpose. You will not feel wasted. You will feel the value of your work, and have the faith to see its power. But respect alone is not enough to make your work powerful, because respect alone is not enough to give you joy.
Homemaking is not respected in the world – it is held up as something that women with either no ambition or no ability might do. So when a Christian mother chooses to be at home because she understands what she is called to do, she may very easily fall into a low view of herself and her work. It would be easy for her to think, “My lot in life is messy diapers. I do this because I have to, and my church thinks I need to be at home with my children. Personally, I could see myself doing really well in real estate, because at least that is something that I am interested in.” So she begins to do the least possible to get through her tasks to just complete each day.
The problem in this sort of situation is that the woman is at home out of some sort of respect for the calling, but she has no love for it. Without the love there is no joy, and without the joy, the home becomes unlovely.
In another situation we might have a woman who has a lot of love for being at home, but no respect for what she actually is doing. She spends her days scrap-booking and watching reruns. She likes coziness, but not influence; comfort, but not power. She does not value the force of her position, only the leisure and freedom it affords. In this situation, we see how the lack of respect for what she has turns into a different kind of powerlessness. She becomes irrelevant. If the woman who has no love for her calling communicates nothing, the woman without respect for her calling has nothing to communicate.
God does not want a bunch of women at home with discontent and fussy spirits, and He does not want us at home burying our talent in the ground. The Lord wants us here to do His work, to do what we are able to do. He wants our children to grow up in a place of joyful and loving faithfulness. If we struggle with joy, it is not as though there is no hope. We simply need to look for some tangible ways to love our homes, and our calling in them. And if we struggle with fulfillment, we need to look for some tangible ways to respect the work we are doing. Honor your calling by working hard, by pushing yourself to grow, to learn, to give. When you love, the object of that love grows more lovely. When you respect, the object of that respect becomes more worthy of it.
By God’s grace, a home that is full of both love and respect will become a place of joyful influence and potent comfort, a place that overflows with loveliness.