Does your home bring you joy?
I’m curious about the aspects of our home life that satisfy us. I take pleasure in decorating and bringing quirky, creative décor into my home. I know others delight in the kind of hospitality they can provide in their home, while others thrive on the outdoor beauty, such as beautiful yards, gardens, and landscaping.
A home is an emotional and personal thing, isn’t it? I experienced this tangibly a few years ago. I was hours away from finalizing a home purchase when the transaction started to go south. Before I knew it, the home I’d fallen absolutely in love with–the one that I had pictured myself sleeping, cooking, living in, Christmas decorating, and whose backyard I planned as my perfect morning coffee spot—had slipped entirely out of my fingers.
I was heartbroken and in tears. I felt like I had lost something that was special and already part of me.
And I was surprised, surprised at what a toll the disappointment took on me. It was just a house, after all. Just a place where I’d spend my time and the normalcy of everyday life. So why the meltdown?
That memory taught me a little more about how important our personal spaces are to us, and why we must pay attention to them. The walls that shelter us in might not seem significant, but when we consider the memories they store, the stages in life they carry us through, and who we encountered between them, we might reconsider what they mean for us.
We can both bring joy into and draw joy from our homes, like drawing water from a well.
And we do this in different ways. Our homes are multi-faceted and imbued with meaning. They house a variety of materials, scents, colors, themes, people, personalities, feelings, thoughts, plans, encounters, etc. And when we reflect on these, we can recognize and draw from the well of joy in our homes.
Creating a Theme and “Look and Feel” in Your Home
I like decorating my home and take pleasure in making it look colorful, fun, and creative. You might call my style quirky or eclectic, even. I don’t have one set theme throughout the house, but I do try to make rooms look different and inspiring with what I have. Doing this brings me joy.
I love that when I’m sitting on my couch with my morning coffee, I behold bold yellows, oranges, turquoises, and pinks. I enjoy that I don’t have one, consistent theme and that I’m sitting amidst my crazy colors and funkiness.
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
This line makes me chuckle. Both because it’s something I can hear female elders uttering in the back of my mind, and because keeping things tidy is a constant struggle. But, we all know having a clean house seems helpful for us and those we live with, and that it darn right feels better.
When my house is clean, I feel freer and less stressed. I take a lot of joy out of my home when it is tidy and clean!
Making an Outdoor Paradise
Many can draw much joy out of beautifying their yards. God created so many beautiful things, and in our yards and gardens, we have this wonderful opportunity to plant pieces of that creation right outside our doorstep.
I don’t have much of a green thumb, but as a nature lover, I appreciate beautiful gardens and landscaping. My grandmother recently invested in a lovely outdoor patio, and I can see her, and others, draw tons of joy out of it. Family members gather outside and enjoy being and sharing in this beautiful, relaxing outdoor space.
Home as a Gathering of Disciples
One of the best things our homes can do for us is to provide a space for us to gather with loved ones. We reunite, throw celebrations, and support each other through life in these places.
Have you every hosted people in your home, or attended a celebration in someone else’s home, where you left feeling a sense of joy, peace, and fulfillment? Here, too, we draw water (living water – John 7: 38-39) from the well spring of a home, from a gathering where love is shared among those present. These gatherings are innately good and have much to offer us: they enrich us in love from our brothers and sisters in Christ, empower us to stay the course of the Christian life, and inspire us to the mission to love and serve others as Christ did.
We also recall stories from biblical times when communities experienced life in strong unity. Though cultures have evolved with many becoming much more individualistic, as modern Christians we have the same responsibility to open our hearts and homes to each other just as the early Christians did:
“They devoted themselves to… the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers…All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to the breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their numbers those who were being saved.Acts 2: 42-47
Our Private Corners with God
We might have places in our home dedicated to prayer and meditation, the sacred corners where we go to meet our Creator. These might even become sentimental for us. There are spots in my home where I can recall deep spiritual inspirations and experiences. Fellow contributor, Lisa, shares about the significance of these “prayer spaces” here.
Our Refuge and Our Rest
Have you ever had the most miserable day where the only solace you could imagine was curling up at home? I have! I’m so thankful to have a home that I consider a place of refuge because I know not everyone feels this way. Our home is a place that shelters us from nature’s elements, shields us from threats, and offers us comfort and peace. It is where we can always run to when no other place soothes us.
The Love Shared and the Memories Made
Most of us have heard the expression, “home is where the heart is.” There is much truth to this. A home might feel more like a home, or more like a home that truly brings us joy, when we find those we love in it. This is likely where we draw the most joy out of our homes, from the people we love and live with.
I have a large, Hispanic family, and my cousins and I can recall years and years of always being at my grandparents’ home. Every Sunday after Mass, everyone would gather around their kitchen table to eat, share, and enjoy one another. My grandfather passed away a few years ago, and at one point, some of the elders questioned what would happen to the home in the future. When anyone introduced the idea of selling the house, many hastened to reject the idea. Why? Because of their sentimental attachment to those good times and memories, shared in the company of those we love and hold dear, and especially those loved ones who are no longer with us.
When we stop to think about it, our homes, and all they hold for us, are great gifts. Gifts from God and the kinds of gifts we consider priceless. I hope to stay grateful for the home I have, and for those in it. And I plan on being a little more intentional about keeping my home a place where I can draw joy from, and bring joy to others.