The Home…Tool or Treasure?

Definitely NOT our home.

Definitely NOT our home.

Those magazines, blogs, and advertisements…they’ll do a woman like me in, if I don’t keep my heart in check.  The standard of neatness, organization, decoration, and perfection they set are so unattainable.  And if that is the kind of standard I abide by in order to welcome people into my home, we’ll live a hermit life.  This internal battle surfaced a few weeks ago…

I was quickly tidying up before I had to go get Daniel Josiah, and the troop of children from his public school who would be gracing our home for Christmas club that afternoon. I was coming off of having my family in town for the week, and hosting nearly 20 people for Thanksgiving.  As I was cleaning, I was quickly noticing how desperately my home needed a deep cleaning.   I was excited  to have the troop of children over, but with the children would come the moms.  What would they think of the smudges on the front windows, the stains on the carpet, the clutter on the bookshelves, and the watermarks on the coffee table, not to mention my two year old’s artwork on the walls and the poorly kept lawn   “Why can’t I keep up with my housework better?”  “What will these moms think of this house, bearing the marks of the many children the live and play here?” “This place is ridiculous!”

But as I wrestled with these internal criticisms, I had to ask, “OK, Kimberly, is your home going to be a tool or a treasure? ”  Is it going to be a trophy that you only show off when it is perfect, so that people will think highly of you for your creative decor and you superb organization?  or is it going to be simply something you use, to bless people and make Christ’s love known in.  When its just a tool, you work on it to keep it functional, and its only a means to an end. Not an end in itself.  And that is where the magazines and ads scream lies at us.

As I searched my heart, and my desires,  I’d much rather have the PEOPLE than the  pristine home. And you generally can’t have both. People produce smudges, and stains, and stepped-on goldfish, and more dirty dishes. But they also produce more joy and laughter and fun and interaction. Not only do we have a lot of  people (mostly little ones) that LIVE  here and make messes here, but we also have a burning desire to invite people into our home with whom we can share the gift of life, and most importantly the Giver of Life. The joy of all the new faces, new personalities, and new cultures we get to experience through continual hospitality far outweighs the physical imperfections that get left behind. If they don’t like to stained carpet, I guess they’ll have to stay home.

And in the meantime, those who don’t mind crunching on a Cheerios every once in a while or the unique wall art , those who DO want to come over, can have a lower standard on what their own homes need to look like in order to entertain guests.  I’m willing to die to self and “nice-home-righteousness”, in order to be real about how messy life can get. I don’t mind being the home which people compare theirs to to make themselves feel better…as long as my home is graced with souls tasting and seeing the goodness of the Lord and salvation found in Jesus.  After all, there is home being prepared for me in heaven, and I’d rather use this temporary home to be a tool to store up my treasures in that place, where it will never spoil or fade.

These types of pictures show up on my phone when little hands get a hold of it.

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