I completely understand the hype behind spring cleaning and I fall into it around that time of year, too. However, January is such perfect timing for getting a fresh start in your home. It's cold outside, so you're going to be stuck inside anyway, might as well do something productive. And, after taking down all the Christmas decorations, your home can feel a little out-of-whack anyway. A new year has started, so it's perfect timing to finally organize your financial files and throw out the things you don't actually need. It's not fun to do these things, I'd much rather binge watch Netflix snuggled on the couch with my husband and our dog, but getting a fresh start at home can be a huge relief.
A fresh start at home looks different for everyone because we're all in different seasons. Maybe you've been in the same house for fifteen years and the accumulation of stuff needs an overhaul. Maybe you've been in this house for not quite a year and you want to really get settled in and make it feel like home. Maybe you're in a rental and you just want to make it feel more personal. If you're like husband and I, you're in the midst of fixing it up. At age twenty-two we thought the idea of buying a house in need of cosmetic upgrades sounded like an adventure. It has been. Even though we're exhausted, the things we've learned along the way are invaluable and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Whatever season you are in at home, just embrace it. Accept that it's where you are now and make a plan of action to get it to the level you want. Unless you're Martha Stewart and your home is already perfect. If so, feel free to stop reading here.
Not everyone is in the same season as husband and I, but I really want to speak to those of you that are. I've spent the last two years worrying about the presentation of our house. It's just not perfect enough. When we first looked at the house in our house hunting phase, I dreamed of all the get togethers we would host in the living room: bridal showers, baby showers, Bible studies, young married couple game nights. But it stopped there because the house never felt good enough for those things. We still had so much work to do. I couldn't invite people into my mess! That's crazy! My idea of hospitality was something out of Southern Living magazine, or Pinterest-worthy get togethers. I thought one day, when my house is better decorated, more cozy, less messy, and just more perfect overall, then I'll invite others in all the time! It will be great!
If you've been reading the blog for a few months, you know that in November the She Reads Truth devotional on Hospitality totally opened my eyes. What I learned is that as a society we have set impossible standards for ourselves and our hosts. When we do this, we are missing the true blessing of hospitality. Hospitality is more about the people than the preparations. It is about inviting people into our mess and making them feel at home. People should leave my house feeling cared for important and that feeling won't come from pretty curtains or designer rugs. It doesn't truly matter if my couch is comfy or not, as long as the person sitting on it is being listened to and valued.
Not long after God used this devotional to open my heart to a new view of hospitality, I came across a book called The Nesting Place by Myquilyn Smith. The motto for the book is "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." I'm still making my way through the book, trying to read it slowly and truly soak in everything she has to say about not seeking perfect. When I think about it, perfect isn't really something I want anyway because that would mean it's not lived in or comfortable. I want my house to be evidence of life.
The biggest goal I'm seeking for my home this year is to make it a house of Jesus. If I claim that he is Lord of my life, it should be evident in my home. Guests should feel his presence the minute they cross over our doorstep. I don't have all the answers for going about this, but I know it starts with seeking progress, not perfection. This post was a little different than the others from the Fresh Start series. It's not a list of tips or action steps, and it's not even heavily filled with scripture. It's just a pep talk for a friend. Just me saying, it's okay if you don't have it all together, because I don't either.
// Read: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 9:12-13
// Listen: Love and Laundry by Point of Grace
// Pray: Lord, please open my eyes to what you want my home to be. I pray for a heart for hospitality and loving the people more than the preparations. I pray that you would help me stop chasing perfection and invite people into my mess, and into my house so that they may know You. Thank you for the home you have given me, the shelter it provides, the food in it's cabinets, and the people inside. Help me to see those things I take for granted and be grateful for them.
This post is part of the Fresh Start series: INTRO // rest // quiet time // contentment + gratitude // goal-setting // home // wardrobe // hair, skin, nails // work habits // friendship + fellowship // marriage // wellness