When graduate school graduation began approaching, people started asking me “What are you going to do after graduation with all the free time you’ll have?” I usually answered “Get my house in order.”
You see, during four years of graduate school, my home had become a place of disarray. I crave organization and order and a good plan. My family functions better that way. Grad school wasn’t good for having an organized home.
This summer, I’ve had time to rest and begin the process of getting my home back in order. I’ve decluttered. I’ve sold. I’ve given away. I’ve thrown away.
And I’ve read.
I’ve just finished reading this precious book. It says what my heart feels about a house being a home. It’s helped me think through why I minimize and why I keep some things over others. It’s helped me think through how I want my family and guests to feel in our home. It helped me to be intentional about the atmosphere in my home.
Why is my home so important? It’s not just where I sleep and keep stuff. It’s not just home base.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lordyour God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, NRSV)
Home is where family first knows God at work. Home is where God’s love is known to those who live and visit here. Home is where people see the best and the worst of us, thereby allowing a powerful transformation of the heart and mind. “Home work is serious stuff. This is where we confront our shadow side, our loneliness, and the people who can see through us when we least want to be transparent. This is where our words and actions are truly consequential. Regardless of how incidental we may be to several billion other people, to those in our household, we mean the world. This is a major responsibility” (p. 176).
So this day, I vow to be more intentional about getting my home in order. Not so that it “happiness [is] based on how majestic something looks from the outside” (p. 177), but so that my family and guests are touched on the inside. So that being in my home means something special to people, so that it brings them just a little closer to Jesus.
What do you do to make your house a shelter for your spirit and that of your guests?