Today’s post from Lore Ferguson is part of the blog series Discipleship: Re-Imagining Our Calling From Christ. To receive future posts from the series in your inbox head HERE. Engage with the writers and community of readers using the hashtag #DiscipleshipBlog.
A few years ago I decided that unless I were to craft for myself a creed of sorts during my single years, I would be in danger of letting these years pass me by in either purposeless and vain ways or in begrudging and self-righteous ways. I know my nature well enough to know that I can’t exist in nothingness very well—and judging from nearly every conversation with every single person I know, neither can most of humankind.
I knew in order to do singleness well, I would have to do discipleship well, at home and away from home.
Until I am married, my housemates are my primary covenant relationships
In this season of life the girls with whom I live are my first priorities when it comes to discipleship. That does not mean they can call first dibs on me, my time, talents, etc. What it does mean, though, is that I will drop nearly anything for them. In regard to my finances, time, talents, and wisdom—they are my primary partakers, they get my first-fruits. Because there are four of us, those things are divided, but overall, I seek to defer to them in all things for their good and my sanctification.
This might sound like I’m steam-rolled, but I think if you knew any of us you’d see that’s not the case at our house. Everyone in our home has a voice and an opinion, and everyone in our home defers to the others 9.9 times out of ten. If that seems like a recipe for division, well, you’re invited to come over anytime. Because…
My home is a place of peace
The first words people say when they see our home is, “So cool!” or “So homey!” or “Love this place!” The second thing people say is, “It’s so peaceful here.” And it’s true, for the most part. We’re not perfect people and so one of us feels underfoot sometimes or maybe unheard or overcrowded, but overall, our home is a home of peace.
Peace is not just a pretty painting on the wall, though, hanging there passively waiting to be disrupted. No. Peace is an active agent. There is a world of difference between being a peacemaker and peacekeeper. In our home we are peacemakers. We are makers of peace. Peace with one another. Peace with situations. Peace with the onslaught of the world that assaults each of us throughout our day. My aim, at the end of the day, when I say, “Goodnight family, I love you,” is to settle it before bed: you are loved, you are known, and in this home, behind these doors, there is no onslaught toward you. This is important because…
My home is my primary place of ministry
I work for a busy non-profit, I lead a homegroup, I write this blog and for many other publications, I have lived in five states and still have close friends to keep up with in all of them, I have a huge family all over the US who I see rarely, I go to a large church with many opportunities to serve,…the list goes on. Outside of my home there are opportunities to minister in a million places. But here’s the problem with that, for me: if my home isn’t in order, I’m not going to serve well outside of it.
Therefore, my home is my primary place of ministry. Whether that means I invite people into my home (ie. homegroup), or whether I give the best of my ministry (prayer, counsel, love, etc.) to my housemates, or whether home is simply the place where I sit deepest under the ministry of the Holy Spirit—whatever it is for that moment, home is where it’s happening for me. If it’s not in order here, it will not be in order when I leave & go try to disciple others outside the home.
How discipleship within the home works for me
Whatever I choose to do gets filtered through those creeds and if I choose not to do something, it’s probably related to one of them as well. I do not hold to these perfectly (ask my housemates), but they are ingrained in my spirit deeply enough that they are nearly second nature at this point.
I said to a friend recently: “I’m 32 years old and I have more than a dozen years of housemates behind me. I have messed up many, many, many times—even with these housemates.”
These have tightened up over time and displayed themselves in a myriad of ways depending on the home in which I lived, the people with whom I lived, and the season of life in which we were, but they have generally been kept over the past six or seven years. I have lived with (at last count) 28 housemates in a decade; I have lived with crazy, kind, manipulative, wise, gentle, funny, and angry people, and I have been all of those things in return. No home is perfect and I’m not seeking perfection in my home.
If you’re feeling like a bad housemate or an angry single person who feels like the best years of your life are being thwarted by having to live with roommates instead of the person-of-your-dreams, I’d encourage you to sit down and write out a creed for your life, your home, and your ministry. The enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy, and he’s going to start with the place you spend most of your life and the people with whom you spent it. Don’t let him. Be proactive. Be on guard.
The pervasive presence of the gospel in your home is going to be your best weapon against the enemy. If you’re feeding yourself a gospel of Cosmo or SportsCenter or The Food Network or classic literature or social media, you’re going to feel thwarted by the enemy. Preach the gospel to yourself, infuse it into your conversations with your housemates, speak it to whoever comes into your door. Be intentional.
Your lease isn’t the only covenant you’re living in right now. Don’t let the opportunity for discipleship relationships within your home pass you by.
Lore Ferguson is a writer whose deepest desire is to adorn the gospel in everything she says and does. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and is a covenant member at The Village Church. Lore writes regularly at Sayable.net, and you can follow her on Twitter @loreferguson.