It bothers me to find something broken in my home. There are things that are purposefully broken like when a child gets mad and throws a sibling’s toy in vengeance. There are things that are accidentally broken like when someone is learning how to throw a frisbee and it breaks a hanging planter. There are things that just break over time like the plumbing. I usually handle the accidental broken things better than purposeful and deteriorating things. The deteriorating things frustrate me because I feel like I should know something is going to break before it does in order to prevent it.

I am learning anticipation through attentiveness. It is not something I am naturally good at. I am
naturally selfish. I default to thinking about what I want and need to do and when I want to do those things. Throughout our marriage, my amazing husband has been helping me become more aware and attentive of other people and things that affect them. Like, when the toilet paper is running out (not on the roll… in the closet) or my children’s pant legs are creeping up towards their knees. There are a LOT of things to be attentive of as a wife and mother. I am learning that when someone is having a stressful day, it is not the best time to talk about all that needs to be done in the yard. When a significant occasion is coming up, it’s not ok to forget to make it a celebration (big birthday, elementary school continuation, and an award at school). Being attentive and watchful is a learned skill and not easily attained. It is constant and never-ending. It’s a lifestyle and perspective.

“She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.” Proverbs 31:27 the NIV says, “she does not eat the bread of idleness.” You know what kind of bread that is? Moldy bread, stale bread, it’s the-heel-of-the-bread-that’s-left-over-because-you-forgot-to-pull-a-new-loaf-out-of-the-freezer-in-time-to-make-a-sandwich kind of bread.

Being attentive is laziness prevention. It is living life aware of others and anticipating their needs
(making sure there’s more toothpaste when this tube runs out, washing the towels before there’s none left in the linen closet and someone is in the shower). It’s listening for the nuances in your teenager’s end of day report and knowing when to press for more than “fine” for an answer from behind the cell phone.

I am not an expert in this area of life, far from it. I am still learning from my mistakes, but I hope you’ll choose to learn along with me and not choose moldy bread for your spouse, children and yourself.

Take some time to talk with God about if you are an attentive, watchful person or a lazy one and what next steps you could take toward strength and dignity in this area.