I've mentioned before on my blog that I had given up the "pretty kitchen" idea to move onto things that mattered. But I've never given the backstory.
When my husband became the head pastor of a church, we bought a very little and affordable home. We were so happy about it because we never thought we could manage leaving the "renting world" and step into the "home owner world". This house was TINY and needed plenty of work. But it was about 1/2 the price of any other house in the area. My dad came and looked at it and declared it a "good, solid house." We were elated!
Then something happened...others came to see the house. To so many it was too small and not at all "up to par." Over the six years we lived in that house I was often reminded by others that it really wasn't where we should be, that it wasn't "good enough". My husband was asked how in the world he fit our 3 kids in it, a friend was told that we had no business putting our family in that house.
Then something terrible happened...I started to let myself be DEFINED by the house I lived in. It was no longer a shelter, it was a representation of me...of my status, of my "class", of whether or not I had succeeded.
This idea carried into our next home. When your house starts to define you and takes on the weight of showing the world how successful you are, you can start pouring inordinate amounts of money into it. Nothing is good enough and as soon as you finish the second room, the first one that had been completed starts screaming for attention again. It's a vicious, never ending cycle that keeps you from doing anything worthwhile.
I knew in my heart that I was chasing the wrong ideal. I knew the REAL problem was caring more about what PEOPLE thought of me than what GOD thought of me. When you care too much what PEOPLE think of you, you might actually start shutting people OUT of your life because you fear you won't measure up to THEIR standard. So you stop loving... You don't show hospitality because your house isn't big enough, comfortable enough, beautiful enough... But the real issue is your own fear that YOU are not enough. It's all about YOU. It was all about ME.
Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell everything he had and give it to the poor. I imagine he had fallen into a similar trap as I was in. His riches defined him to such a point that it seemed to him as more important than the things of God, than the riches of Christ. Jesus offered him all the riches of the Creator God, all the riches of Heaven, but he chose to keep his little earthly trinkets.
I've woken up...I see it now. I don't want my house to be a treasure. I want the LOVE of CHRIST to be my treasure, his love poured out to me, his love poured out to others THROUGH me. And it happened before we fixed up the fixer-upper kitchen.
Maybe someday it'll get "fixed up". Maybe God will provide it someday. Maybe not. But it's become a little symbol to me. While I work in it and see the holes in the linoleum and the cabinets that need help and so on, I am reminded that nothing I have or own defines me. It reminds me that I am not called to be successful in the world's eyes. I can use that kitchen to serve and love others still. Love has been poured into me and I can pour that Love into others.
It reminds me I want to stop getting sidetracked by things that don't matter and get working on things that do. Those "someday things" that you are going to do once you get your life where you want it...those things keep getting pushed back until they slip away. In the world and certainly in America, the unimportant doesn't just speak to us, it SCREAMS!!!! And woe to the one who stops to listen...
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:34