To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The House Beautiful

The idea of what makes a home beautiful is not a new one. And it certainly is not a quiet one either. Magazines scream at you from the check out line about all the fabulous ways they can help you cheaply and creatively make your house look just like the one on their cover. The cacophony of blogs all geared toward helping you find your perfect style is deafening. Home decorating is a billion dollar business and we buy into it on a regular basis.
But what makes a home truly beautiful? Obviously there is no one correct answer as styles and preferences vary.
Modern
Retro
Country
Shabby Chic
Hodge Podge
We like simple and clean...not much clutter but that doesn't suit everyone. There are a million different styles and ways to decorate our homes. God delights in beauty and we can know this just by the descriptions we find in Scripture of how He wanted His people to construct His dwelling place. The temple was anything but simple. It was rich in colors and fabrics and textures and studded with gold and precious metals and jewels. Or simply look around at the dwelling places He has given to us. Making our home beautiful is a good and right thing to do. As long as we keep it in perspective.
It means nothing if your physical home is a showcase if it is rampant with discontentment and contention. It makes no difference if your home is stunning to walk into but you violated God's principles for good stewardship to make it so. The way we decorate and beautify our homes should be governed by the principles we profess to live by as God's people, remembering that the purpose of our home is to be used by Him for His purposes.
I love the Proverbs that remind us that less is more if it accompanied with love or how it would be better to dwell on a roof top than in a home with a contentious woman. Just as God's definition for womanly beauty is a far cry from the world's, His standard for a beautiful home is not likely to be one that can be described and photographed for the cover of a magazine.
Laughter paints the walls.
Suffering and sacrifice add texture and character.
Pleasant conversation sits around the dining room table.
The bouquet of contentment and thankfulness offers a sweet aroma.
There is a couch of mercy with overstuffed pillows of grace and a footstool of forgiveness.
Wisdom fills the bookshelves and knowledge grows full and robust in the hearts and minds of the inhabitants.
Peace makes her bed and trust offers warmth and comfort.
A beautiful home is about more than the furnishings. It's a cultivated, rightly oriented sacred space.

3 comments:

Roni said...

Oh Marty...you are such a beautiful woman. I wonder what Jesus would think of my home? If he'd like how I've decorated it and filled it with warmth the best I know how. If he'd be comfortable here and want to linger. What a lovely thought, and a delightful way to think as I continue to fill this space we call home, with love. I am learning contentment, more and more...and it is a precious and valued thing. I smiled at your comments about my husband. He will be with me on Sunday, when we drop that drop of water with a prayer to Italy in the river. I am blessed. Good night dear woman of God. I am so blessed for having you and your wonderful words in my life.

iarepilotswife said...

When I was first reading Roni's comment I thought it said Rob so naturally I thought it was your husband's comment.

I was really very confused and had to re-read it, like, 3 times before I got that it wasn't Rob talking.

The picture of Roni in the corner of her comment, which should have helped to clue me in because Rob is just not that feminine, didn't even register with me.

Maybe another cup of coffee is in order.

iarepilotswife said...

Oh, and I really liked your post. And the title - very Pilgrim's Progress. Which is totally a modified story of my life.