Decorating 101

We’ve been in our house just over a year now. After hotel living for about a month, we were so grateful to have walls between us again, never mind if they were unfinished and the floor was dusty concrete in places.

I’ve enjoyed making this house our orange and yellow haven these past months. We are thankful for the unnecessary, but helpful, blessings of more bathrooms and more space.

Just before we moved in, I discovered Myquillyn Smith’s blog, Nesting Place. Her mantra, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful,” helped me find contentment with our budget and provided some focused commitment to shop the house with new eyes to reuse and rethink how I could be creative with the decór I had. It was fun!

But this past month, probably in part because of my expectation that our house should look a certain way after 12 months of residence, that motto hasn’t been cutting it. I still see some bare walls and floors and not enough or too much of you name it.

All the wise shopping and saving and minimizing and digging deep in still unpacked boxes has left me discouraged and even frustrated with my imperfectly beautiful surroundings.

A few Sundays ago, a friend from church texted and asked how she could be praying for me. I told her about my admittedly silly struggle with contentment regarding my house. She wrote back saying she could definitely relate and added, “I know I’ve had times when my head is just swirling with to-buy lists- it’s hard to shut off.” Spot on.

I knew I could run to Home Goods and pick up another $10 knick-knack to cross one thing off that “must buy” list. But I’ve worn a path down that road and knew in about 2 hours (if that) the problem would still be there with a new “needed” item now added to the list so I could complete the vignette I started.

The problem is that although most of the time I can see beauty in my imperfect surroundings and be thankful for what I have, my heart doesn’t just crave beauty. It craves perfect beauty.

My problem, then, isn’t solved by a bigger budget to buy higher end and better quality things. Nor is it solved by getting a more inspired vision for what I can creatively reuse. My problem isn’t with my physical eyes but my spiritual ones. The eyes of my heart long to gaze upon something -or someone- who lacks nothing. Who isn’t just beautiful enough. But beautiful completely.

So I take his Word and see him as the perfect satisfier of all my heart wants – yes, even what it wants to fill the dry walls and laminate floors of this brick edifice. Like Moses, I see all his goodness pass before me, and the eyes of my heart are captivated by perfect beauty. “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6,7a)

My heart is at peace because I find all it has been craving met in him. “He satisfies the longing soul.” (Psalm 107:9)

Although I still have my list of wants and make use of Myquillyn’s helpful slogan and practical expertise, these past days, I have reminded myself that the decorating primer I’ve needed and the kind of beauty for which I’m longing, aren’t fixes I can make with my hands or see with my eyes, but instead, are apprehended with my heart.

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