That Place We Abide

That Place We Abide

Its been a lot of pretty pictures around here lately.  Lots of styled and professionally photographed ones.  If you’ve been reading since the beginning you know I start to get antsy when that happens.  I know that you are not coming to this blog to see perfectly styled photographs.  I’m kidding myself if I think that’s why you’d come.  You can find those photos anywhere- they are a dime a dozen on Pinterest. I could pull up 50 swoon worthy photos right now that would put my photos to shame any day.  It is my hope that the reason you come is somewhat for those, maybe to see some real life pictures of my own home, some of my ideas and tips for your own home, as well as some inspiration and purpose for it all. To know that you don’t have to make big changes or have a professional stylist to find your home beautiful.  To feel inspired to do what works for your family and then look for the beauty that’s already there.  Its part of my tagline- beauty and purpose.


Today I want to focus on the purpose part.  I’m thinking about the line that I walk, that we all walk, especially those of us who believe in Jesus and live in a first world country.  We have all these “blessings.”  My husband has a great job that he loves and is good at. I have this home, this closet full of too many clothes, (though my friend Alexis over at Alexis Atarian is making me rethink that and consider a minimalist wardrobe) a pantry full of food, etc.  You get the picture!  I’m so grateful for everything I have, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I wonder if these “blessings” can become more of stumbling blocks in my faith than anything else.  Its this sort of “Americanized” version of Christianity that says I’m so blessed because I have all these things.  Though I am thankful for them, and I know they are gifts from God!  But the truth is, I am blessed because Jesus died for my sins and forgave me, loved me, and redeemed me at my very very worst.  He knows the true me, the deepest darkest me, and loves me anyway. He defeated death and gives me hope for eternity with him forever.  Because of that, I don’t have to struggle with fear and hopelessness anymore.  And even when I still do struggle with those things, He walks with me and fights for me. Those are my blessings.

Do you ever struggle with those thoughts?  Maybe a little bit of feeling guilty with how much you have?

I was discussing this all with a dear friend the other day and it all of a sudden became so clear.  It isn’t about what’s a blessing and what’s not.  We could argue that for days.  Its not about how much money you have, how big your house is, how much money you make and how much of it you’re giving to charity, etc.  We could drive ourselves crazy with those lines and demarcations and isn’t that something we’re not supposed to do?  A little something called legalism?  Legalism is not the answer. Its about where we abide.  Am I abiding in Christ?

abideinhim

picture source

In this business of homes and decorating, I can feel it so clearly.  Maybe you can feel it too, in whatever your job is? When I am not abiding in Christ, I can swing so far to one side- materialism, comparison, greed.  I get so lost in fabrics, dollar signs, designer labels, beautiful pictures on Pinterest.  For a while its fun and worldly and exciting.  But gradually it starts to feel empty and void.  Then I start to swing to the other side.  I start to feel judgmental, like “I can’t believe they spent that much money on a house, chair, couch, whatever.”  And then comes the guilt for being involved in a business that seems so focused on the material and temporary.  I judge myself too.

But then I take a look back at where I have been abiding.  Have I been staying close to Jesus?  Listening to his Word?  Or have I been lost in the world of design blogs, Instagram followers, Pinterest pictures, and Anthropologie catalogs?

I take a deep breath.  I whisper a prayer asking forgiveness.  I want to abide in Him.  He makes the only difference.  He created me with this passion, He gave me any gift that I have.  I feel like this is who I was created to be, and this is my calling.  I am thankful.  This changes everything.

“Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4

Thanks for reading, I know this was different today. Would love to hear your thoughts.

xoxo

Bethany

Advertisements
Thoughts on Beauty & Purpose

Thoughts on Beauty & Purpose

“All beauty is only reflection.  And whether I am conscious of it or not, any created thing of which I am amazed, it is the glimpse of His face to which I bow down.  Do I have eyes to see it’s Him and not the thing?”  Ann Voskamp.

With all my talk of beauty here lately, my search for beauty, my eyes scanning the images of Instagram, Pinterest, and the big wide world of blogs, this quote from Ann has lodged itself in my brain.  Am I remembering the purpose of it all?  He created beauty.  It all came from Him.  Why does a room with a few glowing lamps feel so inviting?  What is it about symmetry?  Bringing the outdoors in?  Texture, color, contrast?  I know that styles and trends change but there is something universal about it all, isn’t there?

Everything here is a shadow, a foretaste, a glimpse in a hazy mirror.  A reflection, like Ann said. When we experience joy, relish in gratitude, happen upon beauty that is so overwhelming, is it not just a reflection of a greater and more fulfilling Beauty?

Another inspiration of mine, Christy Nockels, wrote on her website shortly after her home was featured in Better Homes & Gardens, “What a gift to share my home, all to the glory of Jesus. My prayer was that every dot would be connected back to Him…the conversation, the sense of rest, the music I played, the food I served, the laughter, and even our dogs roaming around bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. All of it somehow reflecting the creativity of my Creator.”

That’s it, that’s the purpose… “every dot connected back to Jesus.”  Lord, may it be so, from the Ikea curtains, to the laundry piles, the gallery walls, and the Saturday morning pancakes.  Every dot.

Thanks for reading, Happy Monday.

Trying to Frame a Horse

Trying to Frame a Horse

The week that I started this blog, I had a very vivid dream.  I dreamed we were living in a beautiful, pristine, glossy-magazine worthy home.  And we had this beautiful chestnut horse.  The horse was wild and free and absolutely stunning.  Rippling muscles, shiny black hair.  I know absolutely nothing about horses in my real life, but in my dream, this horse was just the most beautiful thing.  I just knew this horse would be the perfect thing to frame behind glass in my perfect home.  Now this is dream world, so I framed the horse as though it were actually possible.  After a few days of looking at the horse behind the glass, I watched it burst out to be wild and free again. But instead of running through the house to show off it’s beautiful muscles and shiny hair, it was moping and whimpering, hanging its head, barely walking.  In my dream, we had to call a vet and the beautiful horse had to be put down.  All because I had tried to frame the horse.

Maybe it sounds silly, I don’t know, but I still get chills thinking about this dream. It has really stuck with me. I’m no dream expert but it just seems like the horse has to do with creativity, art, or passion.

The minute I started this blog, I felt the weight, the glass, pressing in around me. I put it there myself: the incessant checking of stats, the self comparison, the sinking realization that there are a million other house bloggers out there doing this too. They do it better, have more followers, have better pictures, have a better website, and on and on and on.  The self-doubt, the anxiety, all of it, choking, pressing, stifling. It doesn’t take long for my breath to fog up the glass of this frame I put around myself and all of a sudden, I can’t see or remember what I’m doing here anymore.

That’s not to say a horse running wild in my house would be a good thing either.  I came across this by the wise Ann Voskamp in her book One Thousand Gifts the other day:

“Stress and anxiety seem easier.  Easier to let a mind run wild with the worry than to exercise discipline, to reign her in, slip the blinders on and train her to walk steady in certain assurance, not spooked by the specters looming ahead.”

I’ve been tuned in to horse metaphors since having that dream, as you can see.  I’ve let the stress run wild. I’ve put the passion in a frame. I want this site, this little place I’ve dreamed about for a while now, to live up to my tag line and be what I started it to be: a place of beauty & purpose. I guess I’m not exactly sure what that purpose is just yet but I do know that I need to focus on what’s in front of me now, what God’s given me to do. I don’t have to strive and worry about having the best or newest ideas to show you. I just want to be who God created me to be. No pretenses. No frames.

Lewisquote

source

Thanks for reading.