Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Home Goals

I'm linking up with the party over at The Nesting Place this week... I wrote a little bit yesterday about feeling like God has been showing me that He wants me to use our home to serve. And while I have always had Martha Stewart tendencies, a lightbulb moment came for me when I went to Tammy Maltby's workshop at the North Central Hearts at Home conference in November. Tammy said "Hospitality is not about showing off, but rather about showing someone how you feel about them... that you see them." This for me was HUGE. All these years my perfectionist ways have been making serving from my home about ME. I was constantly terrified when Trace would say that someone was coming over because I felt like our house was this reflection on me. If I had something out of place, it meant that I was scattered. If there was dust on the shelf, it meant that I was filthy. If my dessert didn't turn out picture perfect, it meant that I was somehow less than perfect. But what I'm learning (I think I already knew in my head, but my heart takes longer to get stuff sometimes...) is that serving from my home has nothing to do with me. God is simply asking me to be obedient to open my door, and He shows up in crazy-miraculous ways. For others. He is asking me to leave myself behind so that my eyes are clear to focus on the ones He's put in my path.

Homemaking has always been my thing. I know that some just don't lean to the June Cleaver side, but that's my normal. So I am seeing how God wants me to use that. Whether it's inviting some students over to make pie crusts or a friend for coffee, it is so much less about what's in our hands as the words that come, the conversation that's shared. But being at the table gives something to do... I'm amazed at the words that flow as one kneads bread or rolls cookies. Don't we just sometimes need to work with our hands so that our mouths and minds can figure things out? I work that way for sure! And this is ministry~ that God allows me to share sweet learning moments around my worn table. Such gifts!

So on to my home goals... (sorry, that was the long way into this, wasn't it?!) As these ideas become clearer in my mind, I was asking myself the questions "What do I want to use my home for this year?" "What do I want others to feel when they enter here?"  And I have made a pretty simple list of some things I want to do.

1~ Keep a clear table. This is a big one because our table, and maybe yours too, tends to be a dumping ground for everything. It's in a sort of central location, so it's regularly piled with toys, mail, homework, and miscellaneous stuff. But this place is where I feel the most ministry is going to be happening. I want our table to be a gathering place. So I'm making a commitment to keep it accessible. I'm trying to be better organized about everything having a place, and then putting things in those places.

2~ Live with the less than perfect. I'm desperately wanting to drop the perfectionism that has for so long kept my doors closed. I'm not going to apologize for my home. We live here, and there comes with that a certain amount of lived in... I don't want something so trivial to stand in the way of inviting people in and sharing life with friends.

3~ Find a style and decorate. This one is perhaps less spiritual and just more practical. For years we had lived in apartments where you couldn't paint or do much on the walls. I think that, along with a fear of commitment perhaps, kept me from ever actually hanging pictures or settling in. We just celebrated two years in this house, and it has been for much of those two years pretty sparse. I am starting to figure out what it is that I like (and don't!), thanks probably in large part to Pinterest, and I have already begun doing some actual decorating. We are so blessed to live in this house that our church owns, and I am feeling so good about putting our personality into making it look like us.

The bottom line is that I just want to please God. I want to use our home to be Jesus to whomever might need it. And I don't want anything to stand in the way of our being used by Him to serve. I want others to feel known and cared for in my home, and I can't be preoccupied with myself. Praying that He continues to show me how to get out of the way...

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