I love the magazine House Beautiful. I love being in beautiful homes. I love studying beautiful homes and I love browsing in stores that sell stuff for beautiful homes. Ask my husband. Just yesterday I was at the mall gazing into the store windows of more than one home decor store studying, observing and taking mental notes on their styles and arrangements.
Beautiful homes are an important and valuable gift that many wonderful people use to bless others. I love that and am thankful for people who have the gift and passion for hospitality.
But when I keep thinking past my own home, past my neighborhood, and past my friends, my heart begins to sink with the reminder of what is the reality for so many around the world. Suddenly, my perspective changes and the glow that I felt from looking at the perfect displays in West Elm, Anthropologie, Southern Living, House Beautiful is dimmed. My warm and fuzzy feelings about my dream home are changed to a concern, empathy, and desire to somehow change this broken picture.
How do we deal with this?
Yesterday, I posted a blog about the statistics of global poverty, in particular the housing crisis. Click here to get the back story:
I hope you were able to click back and see the stats of the world-wide housing crisis. Reading them can seem difficult. It can seem overwhelming and like we are helpless, yet want to change the world. I want to continue this conversation with you, because I think talking about these issues is where changing the world can start.
Change begins as we are able to talk about these issues with each other and with God, raise awareness, and change our consumption habits. As we offer our prayers, time, energy and resources I believe we can make a difference: one day at a time, one life at a time.
So let’s start talking about it:
What about their House Beautiful? Are we all entitled to our “House Beautiful”, or will such images of materialism and “keeping up with the Joneses’” continue enslaving us to the idea that we will never be happy until we have this, or update that, or get the latest….whatever, and all the while turning a blind eye to the plight of our world’s majority who do not have their BASIC needs met?
When I look at life, the world, my house from this perspective the ugly wall paper in my kitchen and bathrooms are not so ugly. The out-dated dishwasher does not bother me so badly. The juice stains on my furniture don’t make me cringe as much as they sometimes do. My kids rooms that are not pottery-barn perfect don’t have such an urgent grip on my heart or wallet.
I am not saying updating our stuff is bad- I am saying that we MUST MUST MUST live with a global perspective and understand that we are, no matter how wealthy – upper, middle or lower class, the MOST wealthy people in the world, and such blessings come with responsibilities.
I will be the first to admit that it is difficult to live in our culture of consumption, and keep a global perspective that seriously seeks justice and care for the poor. I find that I have to feed myself with stories, news, stats, and relationships with the poor in order not to forget about them and in order not to be consumed with comparison, materialism and desire for MORE MORE MORE stuff.
“My house is beautiful”…I want every person to be able to say that, to have the joy of living in an aesthetically pleasing environment. More than that, however, I want to spend my time, money and energy in ways that allow hope to become a reality for the billions around the world who don’t have a house, much less a “House Beautiful”.
Next time you go to Home Goods, Target or Bloomingdale’s to update the look of your house, (especially if that update is driven by what the Joneses have or imply that you must have in order to keep up with them) think about what it really means to be GRATEFUL for our homes and what our homes do for us (see the stats from pt. 1 blog to gain perspective on all that is provided when a family has adequate shelter). Get online, read, learn, explore how you can invest a little extra time, money, prayer into the housing crisis around the world.
Where can we start?
How about Haiti? Last year over 1.5 million were made homeless by the earthquake in Haiti, and most of those victims are still living in slum-like conditions and under the shelter of tents. If you are interested in helping some people who have lost everything regain a sense of hope and dignity, check out a project being administered by our previous church: Haiti Transformed. We have loved supporting this group, and I think its a great place to start if you don’t have another charity that you support to help the least of these find a roof and the love of a compassionate God who cares for them.
A great article on their work :
May God radically reform all of our hearts with His deep concern and affection for the WHOLE WORLD. Let it be done in my heart first, Lord.
May my mouth overflow with gratefulness that I have a house that provides a place of shelter from the elements, protection from disease, and safety from people who would seek to abduct my children or myself to be trafficked and sold into slavery. I never worry about these things, but apparently, millions of my fellow humans do. I know that grieves Your heart. Lord, have mercy on our world, and give me Your heart of mercy, that my choices, priorities and lifestyle would reflect the love, mercy and compassion that You have, God, for all of Your people, whom You cherish and love.
~ Wrapped in His Affection ~