Is your home a metaphor for your life?
BY AL EARLEY
Our homes are important to us. Can our homes give us some clues into who we are, what is important to us, and are we in a good place in our life? I think they can, and invite you to think about where you live, and what you can learn about the way you live? One of the things I know is true is that it is hard to take an honest look at our lives. To honestly look at our lives may mean we should change things, and that is hard work. However, what usually happens is that our dishonesty leaves us completely unprepared for when life turns really hard, and then we look around clueless wondering, “Why did that happen?” So, I write this article for the person who is ready for a little honesty. It is not a scientific study, just some things I have learned through the years of studying homes, and doing ministry.
Start by standing in your front yard and asking yourself, “What are visitors first impression of me, my family, and my home when they stand here for the first time?” This is not a time to produce a chore list. This is a time to look around for a few minutes, and study what the first impression might be from others. Do you like what you see? Does it have a welcoming appearance or tell people to stay away? Is that what you want? Is it perfect? Is it too perfect? Is it out of control with stuff everywhere? Is it full of weeds? Then look at your answers and ask yourself if your life feels the same way? I recommend you write down your answers and share them with someone, especially your spouse. It would be great to do this little exercise with your spouse. It should give you much to talk about.
Now go to your favorite room in your home. Why is it your favorite? Do the things you do in this room make it your favorite? Do the things you don’t have to do in this room make it your favorite? Do you like to share this room, or is it your private getaway? Does it make you feel good about yourself to be in this room, and do you like to share it with others? Look at your answers and celebrate that which is meaningful to you. If there is something that strikes you as not what you want, begin thinking about the changes that will bring your priorities in line.
Next, take a look at the room where people gather when they come to visit. Who comes into your home? Does the room they gather in seem like a warm, welcoming place, or is there some other message communicated in that room. Does anyone ever come visit? Many Americans spend lots of money on their homes, but rarely have guests to share it with, family or otherwise. Is this true in your home? Is that what you want? What do your answers tell you about your personality?
Now go to all the places you store stuff in? Make a list of how many places you store things. Is it easy to find things when you want them? Are the storage areas neat and accessible? Does anything fall out when you open a door? Do you have to clear paths to get through storage places? Are you overwhelmed with stuff? Does this teach you anything about the importance of material possessions in your life?
Next, go to your least favorite room of your home. What is wrong with this place? Is it something you can change? Do you want to change it? Is it something that can give you some insight into the struggles you have in life?
Finally, we read in Psalm 127:1, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…” The Bible has a lot about welcoming God into our homes. Is God welcome in your home? Are there any signs of God and your faith in your home like Bibles, religious decorations, and art? Have you found your home to be an accurate metaphor for your life? Would your home be a better metaphor for your life if signs of God building up your home were more evident?
It is my hope that this little exercise will help you open up your home to the Lord, and receive His richest blessings in your life and where you live.
To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see www.lagrangepres.com.)