A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a friend. We hadn't had a real conversation in a while, so we were catching up. Asking the normal questions like, "How's your mom and dad?...Did you have a good vacation?...Are the kids ready for school?..."
And then my friend asked me, "Do you still love your house?"
Sort of taken aback, I said, "Well, yeah I guess."
You see, my husband and I fixed up his grandparents' old farmhouse several years back. We held a "before" party, where we invited several friends and family members over to the property to have an old-fashioned cookout in the front yard. This way everyone could see the house before the construction began. A year or so later, we had a big open house so everyone could see the results.
My friend had been a part of those little celebrations and she had also known my husband's grandparents.
After I paused to give an honest answer to her question, I added, "You know, there are things I wish I had done differently, but overall I still love it. It's special."
And then I felt a twinge of guilt about all the times I have complained in my heart, or even out loud, about all that is wrong with my house. The crack in the tile floor, the toilet that runs all the time, the seam in my seamless countertop surface, the shutters that need to be secured back into place after a high wind gust...the old basement!
I guess you could say I have a love/hate relationship with my house. Or maybe it's more like the seven year itch because that is how many years we have lived here.
I’m guessing I’m not alone. I mean all a girl really has to do is watch a little HGTV and suddenly feel like her home is pathetically outdated and unfit for entertaining friends. She becomes discontent with her decorative choices and colors and begins to notice every smudge on the wall, every scratch on the hardwood floor, and every carpet stain.
But then I am reminded of how blessed I felt when we first moved in and I hear the echo of my own voice with the words I wrote in my book just three years ago:
“Sometimes I just feel as though I could burst with thankfulness for what God has blessed us with for a time… I used to place a lot of importance on house, cars, clothes, and money in general. Over the last several years, the Lord has shown me that if those are the things we are focusing our desires on, then we’ve got it all wrong. It has become clear to me that for the short time we are here on earth our priority should be on God and then relationships. All the other things will pass away or be passed on to someone else.”
Point of Grace beautifully sings in How You Live, a melodious line that reminds us "Have what you want, but want what you have."
How true! And yet how easy it is to shift focus! Let us not be robbed of our godly contentment by entertaining thoughts of dissatisfaction.
While reading the story of Adam and Eve from a Children's Bible last night, it struck me that even in the perfect world, Satan succeeded in stirring up discontentment in the very first woman. She had the perfect life with perfect circumstances, yet the evil one had her wanting more!
Today he is no different. Our world is far from perfect, but still God has blessed us with so much. Let's make the choice to be thankful and to cherish the blessings God has given us.
Let’s choose contentment with the home God has blessed us and rejoice if it is lived in!
Lord, how quick I can be to forget a blessing! Please forgive me for the times I have become unhappy with the things you have blessed me with and have desired something more. I pray that You would help me to recognize all I have, and that it would be exactly what I want, according to Your will. Amen.
1) Think of 3 things you love about your home today.
2) Praise God for the simple stuff.
3) Change the things that bug you – a fresh coat of paint, clean the carpet, repair what needs fixing, de-clutter. But choose to be content. If you continue to long for something more, simply and sincerely ask God to help you want what you have.
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Hebrews 13:5 (NASB)
Don't collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don't break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 (HSCB)
I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don't complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple —in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (The Message)
© 2011 Christy Long. All rights reserved.