I have heard it said that the way a person decorates their home is a reflection of the things that are most important to them. For the past year my walls have been bare except for some sports memorabilia and a few crosses hung in my office area. The only thing I hung in my bedroom was a gift from a friend who lives on the other side of the world. Our furnishings too have been sparse. My home has been a true reflection of the empty slate of my life. It is a reflection of the somewhat aimlessness state of my being as I have prayed and sought God’s desires for my life in these post-retirement years.
This time last year I was homeless. I had packed up the belongings I felt I needed or those few things that I wanted to hold onto out of sentiment. I had given family, friends and neighbors who were in the process of resettling some of the things they needed for their homes. I threw away gobs of unnecessary clutter. And I gave everything else to charity. And then I packed my bag and left for the sunny skies of California to contemplate my future. I had no idea if I would return home to Virginia and even if I did, I wasn’t sure I would find a place to live that I could afford. It was unsettling to have no place to call home and no idea what I was going to do with my life.
The month away proved to be one of the best times in my life. I had few pressures. Just as when I spent five weeks at The Meadows in the desert of Arizona, I was given a gift of time to pray and process what direction God would take my life. It was a time of minimal distraction and simple comforts as I lived without the trappings of all the “things” I thought were important for me to be happy. It was a time to test my faith and my willingness to trust God to light a pathway ahead for me. It was a time to relinquish self and to consider turning the next phase of my life into giving more.
Little by little I remembered that the best times in my life were when I focused less on having and more on being and doing. I began to understand the old adage of “less is more.” I came to appreciate that I would need to say “no” to somethings if I was to say “yes” to what God asks of me. As unsettling as it was to be without a place to call home, it was reassuring to know that with God, I always have a place I belong. It was time to embrace the things that matter most in my life: my faith, my family, my friends, and a ministry to help others who seek to know God’s will in their lives.
Even though I have been extremely happy in the residence that God provided for us, it was only this past month that I really began to settle into our home. It is the kind of place I always wanted. It is a simple two-bedroom apartment/condominium with a well-lit room to write and most importantly, a place within my budget. I finally went back to the storage unit and began to bring some of my boxes of ‘stuff’ home. And this morning as I sit on the sofa (that a friend gave us) I look up at the wall of pictures of the many places my daughter, her father, my sister, and I have travelled together. I have hung the family keepsakes that show a rich heritage of Christian faith in our family. My home now reflects the most important things in my life—from the cross in the entryway of the apartment to the pictures of time well spent with what is left of my family.
My daughter and I are often amazed at how right this little place is that God led us to us. After a year of pondering my future, I can say that today I am finally settled in my spirit and in my home. I don’t know how long I will remain here, but for today, I have a newfound peace that if I am patient and if I keep my eyes on what God asks of me rather than my desires; my restless spirit will remain calmed and my life settled. Settled first in the Word of God, the blessing of family and friends, and the hope for a future well lived.
Maybe you are at the stage of your life where you are evaluating where and how you live. You may not have to take as drastic a step as I did, however, I would encourage you to look at what you should let go of so that you can have more in your life. You might ask God to reveal the areas of your life that are holding you back from serving him more fully. You might take some quiet unplugged time to sit with the Lord and ask that you can see the next right step for you to take on your life journey.
Become willing to make the changes you need to make to have an even fuller life than the one you have today. Take that first step in faith and trust that God will do the rest!