Over the past year, there have been some of the all-time highest levels of home improvement sales in America. People have been staying home more due to the pandemic and, out of both desire and necessity, putting more money into their homes. We’re seeking more space, more comfort, and better aesthetics for the spaces we inhabit for so much of our lives in this season. Basically, the general population is finally experiencing what stay-at-home moms like myself have been feeling for years!
Okay, I’m (sort of) joking. But as long as I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, I’ve craved for ways to make my home more comfortable, more organized, and more functional (though my execution is lacking!). After all, like so many people this year, my home is where I spend most of my life.
After our fourth daughter was born, my husband and I started talking about selling our house and moving to a bigger space. I quickly found my heart dwelling on a better, bigger, newer home. I day-dreamed of what I could do with 700 more square feet. I thought of all the new things we could buy to put in our house. I thought of all the people I could host, and how maybe all my kids’ toys and clothes would finally be put in their place. My heart was quickly wrapped up in my ideal home, thinking that so many of my problems would be solved if only I had more space.
I realized my heart’s tendency to get so obsessed with an ideal home and made sure to confess that to my husband and friends. However, my husband and I still felt it would make sense for our family to pursue a new home so we began bidding on a few homes. But then the Austin housing market went crazy. Like, really, really crazy.
Instead of entering into bidding wars or bidding $100K over asking price, I decided I might as well become content and grateful for the home I have. It occurred to me: what if instead of buying a bigger space just to fill it up with more stuff, I got rid of my stuff instead? And so I went on a minimalist youtube binge. But, yet again, my heart was quickly wrapped up in my ideal home, thinking that so many of my problems would be solved, this time, if only I had less stuff.
If only I had _______ is a pretty clear indicator for me that there’s some idolatry going on in my heart. I have to admit, I still love both the ideas of having more space and having less stuff. It’s not that either of these desires are wrong; they’re just lacking. They’re just not the answer to all my problems and if I seek them out to be the answer, I’ll still be left unsatisfied, looking for fulfillment in the next if only.
Providentially, as God was revealing to me my heart’s tendency towards idolatry of my home, I read Hebrews 11, which is sometimes referred to as the Hall of Faith because it lists out the faithfulness of some of our (still very flawed) spiritual heroes. These men and women of the Old Testament radically followed God because of their faith in His good promises – not only for this world but for eternity:
These all died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. But they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland… they now desire a better place – a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.Hebrews 11:13-16, emphasis added
Whether on having much or having little, my eyes were so focused on my earthly home. Graciously through His Word, God reminded me of a much more satisfying and fulfilling home: my eternal home. My desire for a nice, comfortable, neat, beautiful house was not a bad desire to just ignore because it’s worldly, but it also wasn’t a desire that would bring me true satisfaction if I received it on earth. It’s actually a beautiful desire I can freely pursue on earth or not, while recognizing it points to something so much greater.
New house or not, minimalist house or not, beautiful house or not, there’s freedom in knowing my home here is just a temporary foreshadow of my Home to come. In irony, as we realize this world will never fully satisfy, we can begin to truly enjoy it so much more. There is freedom when we let go of our if onlys and recognize how only Jesus fulfills our every desire in a much deeper, truer, fuller way than we could ever imagine. There is freedom when we walk by faith looking towards the good promises of our eternally faithful God.
What amazes me is that while we were exiled from our true home because of our sin, Jesus willingly gave up his perfect, heavenly home. I’d venture to even say it was probably an incredibly well-organized, very functional home with amazing aesthetics. Yet Jesus was born into this broken, messy earth in a run-down, dirty stable. He lived without a place to rest his head and He died as an exile. He left His home for a time so that we who were without a home may inherit one forever with Him. We don’t have to get into any bidding wars, we don’t have to outdo anyone, we don’t have to spend any money, or work for it at all. At His own expense, He freely and extravagantly provides a home for us where every desire will be fully satisfied in Him.