Broad Places

My husband and I love to explore, to adventure, to pick up and go. The many opportunities we have had to travel have been beautiful gifts from the Lord, where thinking about the many stresses that typically go with wandering have not been an issue. We also have made it this fun treat, a little tradition, that we pick out one specific thing from wherever new we have been to bring back as decor in our home, so when we look around, we get little glimpses and memories from those times away.

It was our last day in Greece. I had been AWOL when it comes to everything on social media, which was a refreshing burst of freedom. James and I were really struggling to figure out what to purchase next for our home, finding ourselves caught between really awkward statues and really expensive and nonsensical items. On a whim, we found a small tourist store right across from our hotel where we parted with a small cream vase, matching our home and adding that element of nostalgia we love.

We got back to our hotel, and I connected to the wi-fi just for a few quick minutes before dinnertime. I did my usual scrolling session through twitter, and it was as if my throat was about to close up. After being so long unplugged, I found myself totally overwhelmed by the amount of information, and the gratuitous amount of opinions that we find ourselves banking our lives on. One of those topics was homemaking, especially the very trendy minimalistic lifestyle.

As I tumbled down the steady stream of attempting to perfect my life through the gathering up of knowledge, this opinion on what it means to decorate a home meant to stop collecting things that have no practical use. Of course, upon seeing how much it works for them, I immediately wanted to throw out the vase we had just bought in joy and excitement over remembering our sweet time here in Greece.

It was that night, tossing, turning, and beaten up by jet-lag, I found myself hearing words I heard years before from a professor and friend of mine. I remember asking for his wisdom between two good choices, needing to know which one was more holy.

What he did then was not make a decision for me, or show me a gamut of articles that taught me what scientifically will give me more happiness, but he pointed me to the Psalms.

He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
— Psalm 18:19

So again I heard the Psalm, torn between whether or not I had to be the same exact person as this one I look up to. The comfort of God’s words were sweet salve to my conflicted heart. Freedom lies in knowing where you are at. What I have because of Christ’s blood shed for me is grace upon grace, a new identity; a God that looks not at the decor of the home or the glittering instagram account in order for a song to be sung over me. I do not live on the terrifying ledge of a balance beam, hoping with every step that it is not a misstep to fall off, but in a broad place where I can trip and He is there to lift my head.

This great grace of a place where my feet can run and dance doesn’t mean that I become thoughtless, going crazy with the lot of vases to scatter all over the house and office. It means that everything has thought, meaning, and purpose. As the gospel applies to even the things we don’t think it would, it colors every single minute detail of our days, in different yet similar ways within our body. There feels a tension, living in the grey, as I read of many sisters who would see the vase as totally unnecessary, and yet, many friends who see such glory and happiness in the curated clutter around them. Yet, there is a joy that through the cacophony of women’s blogs, we can always find that there is a steady gospel of Jesus Christ that reigns over all of it, and will remain forever even though the trends of hygge will change tomorrow.

A few months ago if you told me I would write a post about the freedom of the gospel in buying a vase, I would have probably been upset at how low I thought I had stooped. God is a gracious God in bringing us low, and for that, I thank Him.

Just recently, this article by Laura Turner came out that spoke volumes about the anxiety I feel on a regular basis on twitter. I hope it serves you as it did for me.