Sight is a wonderful sense. There is so much we can behold with our eyes that points to our Creator.
Hearts that find joy and complete satisfaction in God will see everything through wide eyes of amazement in God. I try to cultivate sights in our home that will enrich our amazed hearts. What we see with our eyes, can draw us closer to God and bring us to worship. The sights around us can also aid our hearts to be at rest and allow us to focus on God without distraction. What we see around us has great power to point us to be in wonder of our Heavenly Father.
The contrary is also true that various sights can cause our soul to be troubled. Certain sights can be a distraction from our focus on God. Some things we see with our eyes can give us fear, stress, and anger. There are even sights can be utterly dangerous to our souls if we succumb to temptation through what we see and choose to sin. I try to think through everything in my home…books, wall decor, entertainment, and even order. I want to evaluate the visual affect each room will have on the soul. I want to purpose to use what is seen in our home to draw our souls to Christ and keep us from distraction that would fix our eyes on anything but Christ.
As discussed in: Ministering Through Physical Senses in the Home, The culture of the home does determine a lot about how each person’s home looks. Not everyone is naturally neat and clean. Not everyone has the same taste in decor and style. Not everyone has an eye for beauty in the home. In fact, even if we are good at something, there is always someone who is better at it than we are. Since we are all different, we all have areas in our lives that we need to cultivate and grow, in order to better serve the Lord. Not to be discouraging, but like all areas in our lives, the path of growth in homemaking is endless. It is essential however, that we are on the path of continual learning and changing, and improving our home environment. I have found that the Lord does show me ways I need to grow in my ministry of homemaking. But it is most certainly very important that as makers of homes, we seek ways to purposefully cultivate the inside view of our homes to a place that enhances the light in our soul.
Neat and Clean: I know some people struggle with order more than others, but I cannot impress enough how crucial it is to maintain the home in an orderly way. The standard and ease of order will look different for a woman in her sixties compared to a young mother with three toddlers. But we should all do our best to have patterns of cleanliness and order in the home. If not for our own sake, we must strive for neatness for God and for others.
Sometimes people, I would be one, who get stressed just looking around a home in disarray. I see work to be done and my heart does not feel at peace. My husband also breaths easier when he looks about the house and it is in order. Somehow messes breed a sense of chaos in us. I do not want that feeling in my home, so the solution is to pick it up and teach my children how to pick up after themselves…certainly a work in progress. There are those, who are at peace with mess. That is a good thing, but that does not mean the mess should be left because one is at peace with it.
Our home is not about us, but about God. The home is a tool God has entrusted to our care. If everything was just about us, we could do as we please, but the point is that our lives are about God, as is our home. We need to treat it with respect for the One who placed the home under our care. We can minister to souls with our home in good order.
If I think of chaotic noise, for instance simultaneously a trumpet being practiced in one room, the stereo playing rock and roll playing loudly while children squeal and dance, and a blender on in the kitchen… the chaos of sound can be very disturbing to the soul and prevent the soul from being still and knowing God. Visual chaos has the same affect as visual sound on the soul. Just like we need audio quiet, we need visual quiet to aid in the stilling our souls. Order is primary, but so is simplicity. Too much going on visually can take place in a neat and clean room that simply is filled with too much stuff. Like five Mozart sonatas playing simultaneously. Only one is needed, too much of even a good thing is chaos. So, decreasing clutter is also vital in maintaining the visual peace in our homes. Note: Many books have been written on the subject, but I highly recommend Marie Kondo’s Book: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Although I do not embrace all of the concepts in her book, many of the principles in the book are truly life changing.
Scripture on the walls of every room: I absolutely love Scripture verses everywhere in my home. My mother always had Scripture posted on the walls of our home as we grew up, and I have found it invaluable. My mother would write out verses on 3×5 cards and tape them around light switches. I will paint verses on canvas, buy prints with Scripture, or yes, I do stick verses around on 3×5 cards as needed. My goal is to have Scripture in every room of our house. I see Scripture as of primary importance as seek to keep it close by. In Deuteronomy 6:6-9, God commands the Israelite’s to value it and keep it before them:
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Psalm 119 also emphasizes the importance of God’s Word over and over. As a home-maker who desires God above all, I like Scripture to be in every room. It is good to have it always in sight for pondering.
Reminders of God’s Goodness: Wedding pictures, family pictures, and sentimental keepsakes can be helpful to remind us of how blessed we are. I also have enjoyed keeping a chalkboard on the wall in our kitchen to write down various things we are thankful for. It is so much easier to complain than to see the world through eyes of gratitude. And to keep our heart fixed on God and His goodness, I like to see and point out the sentimental reminders of the goodness of God in our lives…yearly photo books with images of what God did in a year, a clay vase my late Grandpa made, beautiful paintings of nature, and family photos on the walls…all point my heart to remember how good and gracious God is to me in my undeserving state. He has given me these temporal earthly blessings of family, material goods, and creation so that I might glorify Him. Putting those things on display in my home is a good thing.
Visual Calm: Although I do not embrace the new age belief of the energy of Feng Shui, I do love the concepts I have learned from books on the subject. Creating open, free spaces is truly an art I can utilize effectively in my home to give visual ease to the eyes. I am not naturally gifted in home decorating despite classes on the subject. I have to play around with a room for a while before settling on wall hangings, window treatments, and furniture arrangements. I do find having a flow of online and library resources is helpful in my quest to bring more visual harmony to each room of my home. It is very much an area I feel is important to press on in my learning. Simple touches like candles, a crackling fire. fresh flowers, open windows, natural light, and empty spaces are helpful creating an atmosphere that welcomes growth, fellowship, worship, rest, and healing for the soul.
Wholesome entertainment and books: Having wholesome viewing and reading material easily accessible is also a valuable asset in our home. My husband and I carefully consider the viewing material we allow our children and we are also careful to choose books that enhance, and do not degrade the work of God. Now this topic can be stretched into its own post. But in short synopses, we do our best to choose material that will draw our hearts closer to the Lord and do not cause our hearts to be tempted. Although sin is most certainly from the heart, I do believe that our eyes do play a first hand role in allowing our hearts to be tempted. It isn’t completely unavoidable, but, it is most certainly something I have more control to curb inside the walls of our home than anywhere else. I have notes to indulge in this topic further in the future.
For now, those five little concepts are my primary goals for visually preparing a space for Spiritual rest and growth as well as setting up guideposts that point to the Lord in our home. By thoughtfully arranging the sights of the home, it is possible to create an atmosphere that welcomes our soul to worship, rest, and focus on the Lord. I am absolutely learning more about how to do that best in our home. And always adapting as I learn. I welcome any further thoughts on this subject.