I live in a modest home with a very small yard. From time to time, I suffer with discontent when I visit the homes of my friends and family. There are some strategies I have found to keep me content when jealousy surfaces. Psalm 127: 1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”
A-Appreciate your home. Because we live in such an affluent society, we often forget how blessed we are to live in a home in a safe neighborhood in a free country. In my teens I went on a missions trip to Jamaica; the homes there were made of corrugated tin and cardboard. Most of them were one room without running water. When I lived in Russia during college, my friends lived far away from their parents in small dorm rooms. In place of refrigerators, many students hung baskets out the window to keep cold foods fresh. Many families are losing their homes to foreclosure in this difficult economy. It is so important to thank God for the home we live in.
B-Bless your home. When we appreciate our homes, they can be a place of blessing. One way to bless your home is to pray in each room and anoint the rooms with oil. My husband and I did this one year after cleaning out some junk. We wanted to purify our home and our lives. While our church was under renovation after a fire, I hosted Bible Study at our home on Saturday mornings. This was a sure way to make sure the house was tidied! My husband commented that this brought a peaceful spirit to our home as well. Pray that you can find a way for your home to be a blessing.
C-Clean your home. When I don’t value my home and become discontent, I also become lazy. It is important to keep a clean home to show good stewardship of what God has provided. A routine is very helpful. My mother has always done laundry on Mondays and ironing on Tuesday. I follow the Flylady online. The cleaning reminders there break down tasks into easy-to-do fifteen-minute segments. It is important for the family to join in as well. For too long I’ve shouldered the burden of the work. Now that my children are teenagers, I need to reinforce some cleaning basics.
D-Declutter your home. Although I keep up with laundry and dishes and vacuuming so that my home is clean, my home gets cluttered so easily as we run from activity to activity, dumping stuff in the foyer as we come in. Sweatshirts get hung up over the banister, shoes are piled in the entryway, and papers and books are piled on the dining room table. The bottom line is that we have too much stuff. The easiest way to get rid of this clutter is throw way, put away and give away. I just gave away two trash bags of clothing that my daughter has outgrown. Once I put them in the bags, the bags sat there for about a week, so I had to get them out the door. Get rid of things that you don’t need so that your home feels more spacious and welcoming.
E-Embellish your home. Once your home is clean and tidy, it is time to embellish it. If you do not feel gifted in this area, enlist a friend. There are many ways to make a home warm and welcoming. I like to take pictures and hang them on the wall. Some people set a beautiful table or display collections. My missionary friend spent her furlough in a rented basement apartment. She decorated it beautifully so that her family felt at home while they were away from the mission field. There are many places to find inexpensive furnishing and embellishments. A great way to freshen up your home is to put up a new coat of paint.
Proverbs 24: 3& 4 says, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Ask God to help you make your home a cozy retreat, regardless of its location or size.