I think we all get ourselves into negative cycles from time to time: the way we parent, the way we speak to our husbands, the way we talk about others, the way we think about certain things, the way we eat or exercise (or lack of), the way we speak about ourselves can all end up in negative patterns that are difficult to break! And, deep down, we can find ourselves waiting to be rescued out of those terrible cycles, making them pretty much impossible to reverse! We wonder, “Where is that metaphorical heroic figure on a fair steed who will come to whisk me away from my life?!” We wait for our husbands to treat us better, or our children to grow, or the extra kilos to drop off, or the boss to quit, in the hope that that will change the stuff that drives us crazy! Proverbs 14:1 tells us, “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.” (NLT) This confronting Scripture tells me that the power to bring change actually lies with me. It tells me that initiative and creativity belong to me as a woman. It literally speaks into the reality that I am creating environments – whether good or bad – with the words I speak, the decisions I make, the absence of some things and the things that I allow to stay. It also tells me that there is great weight to the things I am framing my world with. But that’s also majorly exciting! I don’t need to wait for others to shape the world that I live in. The power lies with me to craft a life with Godly wisdom and Heaven-breathed value that not only causes me to thrive and flourish, but also many others. Let me give you an example. When I first got married, I really wanted to create a home that was peaceful and welcoming – a real oasis from the outside world. In my own wisdom, that meant it needed to be clutter free, cleaned within an inch of its life, perfectly styled, cushions plumped and fluffed, and the dishes always done. This grand vision I had for my home was somewhat different from my husband’s, who needed none of those things to feel he had a home to relax in, a lounge to put his feet up on, and stress-free hospitality. I would whip into a full blown, adrenaline-fueled anxiety attack when guests were about to arrive, trying to stage my house for perfect hospitality. This filled my house with major stress, caused huge arguments with my husband who was being asked to remove his shoes when he got home from work and was subsequently conscripted into my frenzied war with untidiness, and seriously robbed our home of any measure of peace! It was quickly descending into a battlefield rather than the healthy oasis I had imagined. I felt sure that if my husband would only help me more, I could achieve this goal of blissful domesticity and all would be well. I waited for him to respond to my noble vision, confident that when he changed we would have divine serenity restored to our home and marriage. God must have been belly-laughing at my misplaced earnestness as He led me to the verse in Proverbs 14. I began to realise, rather begrudgingly I might add, that I was tearing down my home. I was the reason there was no peace. So, with considerable help from the Holy Spirit, I began to break the negative cycle that threatened to derail us. I still like a clean house, but the peace that reigns in our home now, with all its glorious imperfection, is a far greater prize, and a constant buzz of people come through my front door, confident with the knowledge that they will be greeted with warm hospitality and maybe a tea towel. Our children are growing and going but we can’t keep them away – they just love home so much! This is the sweet reward for deciding that I would choose to build a home rather than tear it down with my foolishness! I encourage you, sweet girl, to create environments that cause others to thrive and flourish. You can accomplish this in your school, in your workplace, with your friends and family. Don’t wait for someone else to show that initiative. God is backing you completely to be the change to break negative cycles and build your beautiful world.