This week, I invited one of my in-laws over because my husband told me that she is an interior designer. I thought that she could help me choose paint colors for our walls and help me choose window treatments. Before she arrived, I thought I did a pretty good job decorating our house. Our house is warm and inviting. The pictures on our walls tell our love story and it’s just a comfortable place to be—at least for us. We don’t live in a huge, expensive house, but it suits us.
Well, after she arrived and went through every room, I had a laundry list of things I was doing wrong according to interior design standards. First, I placed pictures too high on the wall. I also chose the wrong style of frames. I put too many small family pictures in too many different places. And let’s not even get started on my existing window treatments. I installed all of the blinds on the basement windows wrong and my curtains are a design don’t! After she left, I felt pretty bad about my house and overwhelmed with the money that it was going to cost to bring my house up to “design code.”
As I reflected on the experience and looked over our house again, I realized that our relative completely changed my perspective. Her criticism made me feel bad about our home and even embarrassed. Whereas prior to her coming, I was proud of our home. She also briefly influenced our priorities. She convinced me that the proper draperies and perfect positioning of pictures are top priorities. For about 30 minutes, she sucked me into the idea of transforming our house into a show house. I was completely drawn away from our family’s mission statement. When we moved into the house, we decided that we want our home to be a place where people are moved by the peace and presence of God, not by cost or design of our material things. Cultivating our marriage and relationship with our son is the top priority. Decorating and design take a back seat. We may not live in the most expensive house and we may not have a lot of fancy things, but we have the peace and love of God in our home. Our home is place where we all want to be.
This experience reminds me of Matthew 23:25-28 when Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus rebukes them because he says they clean the outside of the cup while neglecting the inside. They dressed up to appear righteous and holy, but on the inside they were full of greed and self-indulgence. Jesus goes on to call them whitewashed tombs. When I think of our home, I don’t want our home to be a whitewashed tomb. It’s beautiful in appearance, but full of contention and strife when the doors are closed. I don’t want our home to be filled with fancy things, but my family is spiritually bankrupt. I guess it’s nice to have a professionally designed home, but if the presence of God is not there, I don’t want to be there.