Before Christmas, we rearranged most of our house. The only untouched rooms were the kids’ bedrooms. Yes, we are crazy, I know. But we love to rearrange! Doug and I have moved so much in our lives that we need some change on a regular basis. We have no desire to move again, so instead we make the house seem like new in some way.
This most recent rearranging was inspired by the arrival of a new-to-me sewing table. It would not fit in the closet where my old sewing table had been. So, we began brainstorming where to put it, and that brainstorm led to a domino effect of moving this here and that there.
Ultimately, though, the arrival of the sewing table simply motivated me to take action on something that I had wanted to do for a while – open up space. You see, I do not like every nook and cranny filled. I want to see some wall, even down to the baseboards. I want room to move around. I want access to windows. I want it to be easy to move the vacuum cleaner across the floors. Our long-standing arrangement no longer seemed to allow for that. But, just a little change (okay, so maybe a lot of change!) made such a difference. I would still love to open it up even more, and I know that other people would find my house still very cluttered! But I like what we have accomplished so far.
Even as I ponder my love for space, I cannot help but think about my grandmother. Her house was always so full. She loved to fill every nook, cranny, and open space. Over the weekend we visited with my husband’s parents, and I smiled as I looked around and noticed how much my mother-in-law’s decorating reminds me of Grandma’s. Furniture everywhere, walls full of decoration. That’s how she likes it, and it works for her, just like it did for Grandma.
The differences in our homes remind me of our differences in general life. Everyone learns and grows differently. Everyone thrives differently. My husband and children differ from me. So do the youth I teach at church, as do the other church members. Too often, though, I forget that the things that make life run more smoothly for me might just distract someone else. Grandma would have felt lost and bare in a house with unfilled space. I would have felt suffocated and maybe even claustrophobic living in her home. The same is true spiritually, emotionally, and even mentally. We all differ.
The challenge is to learn when the differences are good and when they are harmful. Sometimes we need to simply accept someone else’s different approach to life. Other times we need to challenge them to change, breaking the bondage of certain preferences that keep them tied down. Ultimately, though, we have to recognize that we all differ in so many ways. We will never grow in the same ways.
So, I’m going to delight in my space. I am going to delight in the differences that separate me from others. And I am going to rejoice that God can use, grow, and strengthen us all through the preferences He created us to have!