Tuesday, April 13, 2010

House Thoughts

Welcome P31 devotion visitors. I thought I'd share another example of taking thoughts captive.

Several years ago all my friends seemed to move into new houses at the same time. Brand new houses. They were upgrading. I felt pressure to do the same as I attended get togethers in their pretty new homes.

I enjoy house hunting - I like to peer inside the places people live. I like to see where they hang their towels, have their morning coffee, and put on their make-up for the day. I also like imagining myself in that space - sipping latte and applying liner. Like trying on a house for size. So we did a little house hunting, but ultimately decided to stay put.

I don't think our income was rising at the rate my friends' was back then. Plus the thought of prepping the house, showing the house, packing everything up, unpacking everything, and getting a new space suited to us sounded like something I didn't have time for. (But truth be told, if I had the funds to swing a really swanky big home at the beach, I could find the time to move there.)

So we kept our current address. I'd visit my friends' spacious places with shiny hardwoods, scuff free walls, vaulted ceilings and new appliances. And then, when I went back home, all I could see were the imperfections. ... The fingerprints leading up the stairwell, the toilet that sometimes runs and you have to jiggle the handle to make it stop, and the light fixtures over the breakfast bar that are slightly off center because my brother called while the electrician was here.

He called to tell me he and his ex-wife were remarrying. It was tremendous news but that meant I wasn't really paying attention when the electrician asked me, mid phone call, if the lights were evenly spaced before he drilled the ceiling holes. 

And my closet space is seriously lacking. My coat closet, kitchen pantry, and linen closet are all 2 ft x 2 ft - tiny by modern standards. And that's how my house made me feel: sub-par to modern standards. Like I'm falling behind. In what race I'm not exactly sure. I don't recall signing up for a marathon, but I find myself running the race all the same. I can't ever really see the finish line. It seems to stay just out of sight - and I wonder if it keeps moving like a carrot on a stick.

I'm that way with many areas of my life, not just my home. I want to be shiny, new, flawless. I want to stylishly function without fail. But I can't quite get there 100%. I'm too much like my house - lived in. This life, this body and this mind are all lived in. They bare the evidence of where I've been, what I've touched, what my real priorities are, and how long I've been walking around here.

I did do some remodeling in my kitchen and master suite in recent years. It turned out well and makes me smile. But there are currently scuff marks on many of my baseboards. I need to replace a window screen in my bathroom. And I still have to jiggle that toilet handle about once a week. Not to mention, the roots from a nearby oak tree are starting to crack our driveway.

Plus, my closets are still 2 feet wide. But that keeps me from hoarding. It stops me from indulging my impulse to buy new comforters sets every other year - I use one down comforter and rotate through two duvet covers instead. And it keeps me from wastefully throwing out four year-old cans of soup that got buried at the back of a large pantry. Or, from falling prey to Williams & Sonoma's many kitchen gadgets as I don't have the storage space for them.

So I'm grateful for my tiny, fresh ingredient-filled pantry that helps keep my spending habits under control. And for my lights, which are slightly off center but plenty bright, which remind me of God's power to restore broken relationships. And I thank God for the two children who can't seem to walk upstairs without dragging their hands along the walls - because clean wallboard will never hug me tight, make me laugh, or pray for me when I feel down the way my children do.

Jesus said, "“Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own” (Luke 12:15 NLT). I'm getting better at reigning in my house-envy and taking those thoughts captive so I can refocus them on the truth of my blessings. And the great thing is, as I learn to do this with my house, I start bringing that same kind of grace and truth to the other areas of my life.

And there is no more spacious place to live than in the grace and truth of Christ.


  1. Awesome... and beautifully written! Praise God for hands on walls... and let me tell you...that is very huge for this Mom to say. What a beautiful posting...Thank you so much for sharing what God has inspired you to write.
    Heather Lapierre
    Northern California

  2. Rachel I have read your blog for a couple of years now and you always speak to me!

    It's so easy to see what others have and want. SO EASY!

    The last year or so I have become content. I see what "The Jones's" have. I don't know how in debt "The Jones's" are.

    That doesn't mean sometimes I look at how I'm dressed compared to others and feel "little", but in the end all that stuff doesn't matter! Ya know?

    So I try really hard to remember that when I start wanting.

    Thanks for writing! I have soooooo enjoyed every last word!

  3. Your posts are always so enlightening. A few years ago my husband and I started looking for a house (we live in an apartment) because of the noisy neighbors that kept moving in and out across from us. Of course we could not find anything we could afford or that we both liked. Besides we finally got good neighbors and realized that this had become home to us (it will be 20 years in November). We're getting older and set in our ways I guess but I feel secure and safe. I'm just looking for to the mansion Jesus is preparing. Won't that be great and nothing to compare with anything in this world I'm sure?
    Blessings, AE

  4. Something tells me your rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures!!!!!!! :)

    Proverbs 24:3-4
    "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."

  5. Beautiful, beautiful devo this morning, Rach. It will be the truly shiny thought that I carry around today.


  6. Rachel, I just had to smile as I read your P31 devotional today. It's such freedom to get to that point in life....and to care more about how God sees me than how those around me see me.

    Taking thoughts captive is always a struggle for those of us whose mind tends to wander...I even have to pray out loud when I take a walk every morning so I can stay focused!

    Thanks again for the reminder. Now to go tie that string around my wrist...

  7. Thank you for your devotion from Prov.31 ministry. I struggle with that on a daily basis. Thank you for the reminder :)

  8. Rachel,
    I woke early to spend time with the Lord today, something I love to do but a struggle at times bc I am not a morning person. I prayed about this issue and then the next thing I read was your devotional and then blog.
    Thank you for your honesty. God spoke to me today through you!!
    In Him,

  9. Beautifully put, Rachel. At this time, I'm feeling the need to update and redo because I see the scuff marks on the baseboards and handprints up the stairway (though precious as they are). Frustration sets in when the checkbook doesn't line up with my ideas. Thanks for the reminder to look at and focus on what I do have ~ a precious family to love, nurture, and have fun with. Treasures of which the material things of this world cannot compare.

  10. I can very much relate to this- especially when I go into places like the Ivy Cottage and get the desire to redecorate pumping through my veins. But the fact that we don't have excessive square footage means I don't have much room for new furniture. So it helps me keep things in perspective. That and reminding myself that some day, all that beautiful stuff I would love to buy will just be dust.

  11. Ditto! Sometimes a part of me (my fleshly side) feels incomplete when my mind and heart chase after the things of this world. However, I do know my worth and identity is in Christ, but sometimes living humbly is opposite of where I want to be.

    My hubby and I have been teaching missions lessons to kids for many, many years. The Holy Spirit always brings conviction and truths about how blessed are the poor and how blessed are the humble as we prepare lessons about trials and tribulations people face in places that I've never been to. There are more qualified teachers to share these lessons with the kids, but I know the Lord has picked us to help us realize how truly blessed we are and that He didn't call us to be the "Jones's".

    I am so very grateful for your post today!


    an east coast gal

  12. I loved your transparency about the shiny suit people. Made me laugh, but oh, how true. I often find myself comparing my appearance and success to my perception of others when the truth is...there's only one man who radiates with divine shine.

  13. Rachel, I loved your devotional and appreciate your honesty in your post. Just yesterday I struggled with thoughts that I tried to capture before they controlled me. I did take them to the Lord, but I really need a strategy for this. A way to control my thoughts to make them and myself obedient to what Christ desires for me in my life, so that I may follow His will and not my own. Thank you for the food for thought. I will be "chewing" on this all day!

  14. Rachel, you wrote this devotional so well! It's definitley true that its not what we have, it's who is in us that matters. So many times we get caught up in the temporal things that we forget who is really important- Jesus. Thanks for the reminder.

  15. Thank you Rachel for your devotional today! It spoke to my heart today. :D

  16. Reading this just helps me keep things in perspective. That this place is not my home, so why am I trying to hold on to things or "get greedy for things I don't have." I like the way Jesus said that!

  17. That was lovely. I really enjoyed your devotion today and your follow up with your home. After living so many years in an attic apartment in a 100+ year-old home in New England, I am really appreciative of the home I have now...even if it does only have one bathroom. Though I must admit, I truly miss my old clawfoot tub.

    Thank you for keeping my mind on my thoughts today. :)

  18. LOVED your devo and the way youput words to so many of our thoughts and struggles here in your post. Beautifully written my friend. Taking my thoughts captive to HIM today! Love you!

  19. Rachel, this is the first time I have read your blog, or any other for that matter. I was really touched by your words. Life can seem so busy that we forget to appreciate things. I, too, had the same thoughts about the fingerprints on the walls and the dog food on the mop boards, but after the dog and the children are gone, so will be the reminders of them. It will be a sad day for this mom. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Jaynie Manier

  20. Rachel, you have such a way with words - both in your devo and blog post! Thanks for the beautiful reminder to take all our thoughts "captive to Christ," and remain focused on Him, and His working in our lives.

    Love, Andrea

  21. Wonderful post and I really could relate. I have a beautiful home on 3 acres and a pond stocked with fish, but I decided about a year ago I wanted a newer home, bigger closets, granite countertops, prettier hardwood floors, etc. I started looking and found several homes I liked, but for some reason my husband and I stalled around and never made any big decision on what we should do. May of last year, my husband lost his job and after going through every dime we had in savings, selling our Harley and trailer, and anything else we could, I truly understand that material things mean nothing! I have it all! I have the Lord!

  22. Thank you so much! This was totally perfect for me today. Went over to an acquaintance's and was overwhelmed by house envy. Learning to be content with what we have is a struggle. I know in my heart to be content with what I have, and to count my blessings but it is so easy to be caught "looking" - lust of the eyes.

    Thank you for this encouragement!

  23. I have to say that I've never thought myself to be one to really care about "keeping up with the Jones" or wanting to be a shiny person, but the truth is I do find myself with those same thoughts. Your description of watching those people in the bookstore is exactly how I have felt before. You see pretty, classy people and you admire them and before you know it you envy them because you find your insecure about who you are. Which is doubting God and his design of you. I have to admit, since my separation from my husband I've been doing more of that. Feeling insecure and looking on other people wondering why I'm not the one walking around looking so happy holding my husband's hand or looking so put together in a new outfit. But I think one lesson through all of this that God is teaching me is that I have security in him. He created me so I wasn't a mistake and I'm beautifully and wonderfully made. And God will never reject me! I don't want to be a shiny person, because God already made me shiny. I'm shiny through Him and we all are!! Thank you for your wonderfully written devotional and the reminder to check our thoughts! It's important not to doubt God and His abilities and His creation because you are apart of it. You are that shiny person that God made! And just for a twist, ever thought that maybe you were that shiny person in someone else's mind? We all look on other people and have thoughts, never thinking that someone might actually be looking at us. So lets shine to others threw God's love!!
    With Love.

  24. I really enjoyed your writing today and look forward to following your blog! Thanks!
    Amber, Alaska

  25. Hi Rachael,
    I have been the same way and I always wondered if anyone else thinks this way too. I don't like living in a trailer home-but it's all we got due to my disability. And we have a hard time paying bills,etc and even buying clothes for our kids,etc.. I wish I were in your shoes more than my own due to you seem to have a wonderful life while mine is full of pain due to childhood trauma till I was 20 years old and my finances matches it along with my home-But, thanks for the reminder to take every thought captive-which sometimes I don't know how to do just that: I suffer from PTSD and I am trying to gain control over my thoughts. Again, thank you for your wonderful reminder!

  26. Touching post for my heart today. We have a farmhouse that is very old and yet it is home. Home is where the heart is and size doesn't matter.

  27. Rachel,
    Great Devo and post. Thanks. As my husband as I look at retirement homes for our near future, we see the glamour and get enticed, but remind ourselves we don't want to be tied to the house, we want to be able to go play, travel have fun. But I admit when you look the lesser house I sometimes feel a tinge of missing out. Thanks for a reminder of our purpose in the home.
    Also as I struggle to loose weight and look around at others that are more in shape (or appear to be) I want to feel inadequate but this is such a reminder for me that I am on my own fitness schedule and I am doing this to be healthy not compete with the worlds standards of super model.
    Your words have opened a whole new perspective in the way I'm looking at things.

    Lynn - OR

  28. I really needed to hear this. I feel as if you opened up my brain and read my thoughts in this area! What a blessing to my afternoon!
    Kelli Brooks
    Conyers, GA

  29. If you ever do find yourself moving you can give me a call to help you. I LOVE the entire process of packing up, moving and unpacking! I think it is the concept of fresh beginnings and a new start that just jazzes me up. But seriously, your thoughts were well said and so true. The devotional feeds into the book by Beth Moore on insecurity that I am reading now with a small group of women. Thank you.

  30. Thank you so much for sharing what God has inspired you to write.
    home jobs india


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