Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Decoration Revelation

Having lived in a garage apartment for the last two years, we don't have a ton of furniture. Having committed to moving (to a larger apartment) in the past three weeks, we have to find furniture fast. Add a student budget (and two, er, opinionated people) to this scenario, and it's a complicated cocktail of time sensitive, money sensitive decisions.

The past few weeks have been a blur of Craigslist postings, Salvation Army walk-throughs, and confusing number crunching. But they've also been bursting with creative, contextual, displays of God's gospel love for me, showcased in these most mundane moments of our transition. It's a bit paradoxical that God would use something like the search for a used couch to teach me life-changing truths about His character, because I usually only expect those types of lessons while doing much more "spiritual" or "important" things. But that's just it! When His infinite power and unfathomable love bring me to my knees in the middle of a furniture store, I'm reminded that I can't compartmentalize Him-- all that He is and all that that means for me-- despite my tendency to do so. 

Here's what I mean. First of all, it is easy-- especially in a "vocational ministry" environment-- to write off something like decorating as silly, frivolous, or unimportant. It's easy to start believing the lie that God doesn't want to be bothered by that stuff, since He's got important things to worry about. You know, real prayers to answer. So the natural outworking of that belief is either a) decorate without seeking God's input ("as long as I tithe, who cares how I spend my money or what I spend it on?") or b) shun the activity itself as shallow or unholy ("as a Christian, I'm supposed to be concentrating on more important things than the color of my accent pillows. Anyone who cares about that is carnal."). 

But the last few weeks, God has been showing me that He cares about my living room. Yes, He does. I mean, He created the earth. When I look around outside my window-- even in Texas!-- I'm reminded that God is in fact, a decorator. He's coordinated a thousand shades of green just in my backyard, and arranges for each blade of grass to turn gold at the touch of the sun. God is an artist, and aesthetics matter to Him. Now, this does not mean He might be disappointed with the color palette I choose for our bedroom or frown on our outdated style. But it does mean that He invites me to share my concerns with Him about the work of art that is our home. He doesn't scoff when I pray for "the right couch" or when I ask Him to help us make a decision about a purchase. He cares for me and He enjoys me enjoying the beauty that He created!I've been so freed by the Lord's kindness toward me, and His interest in me, the past few weeks. He did help us find the right couch. 

But I've also been freed by the visceral realization that no amount of bargain deals, perfect patterns, or unique pieces of furniture will be able to provide the security or confidence I so deeply crave for our new home. No couch-- not even "the right couch"-- can soothe my anxious heart or make our home a place of peace. And over the past few weeks when I found myself melting down or losing sleep, I could always trace it back to something like a couch taking a place of preeminence in my heart. God has been so kind to invite me to freely enjoy the good things He's created, but also to experience firsthand the utter insanity of putting my hope in them. 

Decorating is great. But I'm glad to be reminded that all the great things this created place has to offer-- from the feel of a satin pillow to the taste of Chilean wine to the sight of the Himalayas-- pale in comparison to Him.

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