I’ll never forget the angst our youngest daughter carried many years ago when she overheard a puzzling conversation. My friend mentioned how much she loved gathering at our home, but she hoped we could replace our tacky floors soon. Yes, let’s all take a deep breath on my behalf because she actually verbalized the word “tacky” to me, the owner of those most impressive floors. While expressed in a larger discussion about our ripped linoleum flooring in an older kitchen, our daughter couldn’t shake what she heard, and quite frankly, neither could I. Her perspective changed in an instant and it impacted me too.
Let me backtrack a bit. For decades, the push and pull of our finances have rubbed against the vision I desire for our physical home. It doesn’t feel so long ago that our personal life felt hard, suffocating even when it came to money. A time when we went over a year without a paycheck and our five children looked to us for reassurance. Through all the challenges, Romans 15:13 reflected my desire:
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
I wanted them to see a mom whose simple faith embraced the life-giving fullness that God offers no matter the hard seasons. With both our home and our hospitality, I chose to love the home He gave us while taking great joy in using secondhand treasures to create a haven of welcome and peace.
With the kitchen as the heartbeat of our home, I engage the senses. Sweet aromas, flickering candlelight, and cut flowers (or dandelion weeds picked by our daughter) are all a precursor to the cornerstone of life found around the table. A place where people are drawn to linger and laugh, to share stories filled with hilarity and heartbreak. There’s really nothing like table fellowship in the Schmidt home . . . until that brief comment stirred something unexpected.
Our daughter never cared about the state of our unfinished kitchen before, and yet her once contented soul started hounding me about something which we had no financial resources to fix. “Mom, when are we replacing our floors? You heard her. They’re tacky. You know they are.”
In an unexpected instance, the enemy of our souls (disguised as comparison) snuck up to steal our joy.
John 10:10 says it clearly, “A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”
I reminisce on that past exchange because I’ve allowed the thief in once again. Discontent burrowing, I’m frustrated that years later I still have dingy kitchen cabinets and our refrigerator shelves are literally duct-taped together. All work on my nonprofit hospitality house has stopped and I’ve laid awake at night pondering the many things that would be easier with money. I am a champion and cheerleader for all things home, and yet I allowed the thief to steal sleepless moments while I wished and wanted what others had, wondering why it couldn’t be me.
I don’t know your current life circumstances, but we can be honest and admit that life is easier with money. That’s a reality, yet our financial circumstances, our jobs, and our homes do not dictate our peace. The world can neither give us peace nor take it away. It’s hard. I get it, but we fight to realign our perspective because contentment found in God alone brings absolute peace.
Paul affirms in Philippians 4:12, “For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous.”
One way I fight to realign my perspective with God’s is through journaling. Then revisiting that record of hope provides a swift kick to my off-kilter perspective. When I felt bent out of shape about my kitchen floors, I went back to the words that marked my remembrance of God’s goodness:
Those tacky floors welcomed guests from cities and countries around the world. Those tacky floors invited children to wrestle and giggle and build forts on top of them. Those tacky floors were where thousands of feet walked during hundreds of gatherings. Those tacky floors celebrated new life and supported the hearts of mourners. Those tacky floors witnessed so much grace in actions, all while refusing to disclose the secrets they heard. Those tacky floors told stories of a life well spent.
That’s contentment. Won’t you join me with a perspective shift of your own?
This morning my husband informed me that while I took my shower, water started leaking through the chandelier fixture below. I had to chuckle and choose gratitude. I’m thankful for running water because so many in the world don’t have it.
Now it’s your turn.
What are you struggling to be content with today?
How can you reframe the way you see your lack?