Contentment & Craigslist: A Home Tour

In my head, I am always ten steps ahead from where I actually am. Anyone else?

Perhaps it's the millennial reality interrupting my perspective. I expect to have now what my parents have been working hard for their entire lives. The new car. The perfect apartment. The right wardrobe. ALL THE LE CREUSET THINGS. Because those things mean I'm one step closer to being Martha Stewart, which means I'm one step closer to having it all together. Right?

The futuristic thinker in me can get ahead of herself, thinking she's not where she's supposed to be based on what she doesn't have. But when did belongings equal success? When did bigger, more, and better equate to a more meaningful life? They don't. Yet, when I first got married, this is the whirlwind I got caught up in. What I had was a reflection of me, and I felt that I didn't have the right things. Pinterest made me want more stuff. My instagram feed made my creative attempts feel childish. I struggled to stay in my own lane.

At the root, lived a pure love for creating atmospheres for people to feel at home in - places for people to rest. This is a core value my parents instilled in me at a very young age: what's happening in your home is often a reflection of what's happening in you. I've always felt more relaxed and inspired when my home is clean and organized. Yet, my perception of "home" had become skewed. This wasn't a matter of keeping things organized. I had a contentment problem. 

My dad has always said, "Contentment isn't having what you want, it's wanting what you have."

How had I forgotten this? During our move, I spent time with Jesus and it was all too often a one-sided conversation. I knew that some ugly discontent was living in my heart, but I only spoke to Him about surface things: "Help our move to go smoothly." "Help us to find an apartment that we like."

All the while, Jesus was trying to get to the heart of it. This wasn't about getting the perfect apartment, and filling it with perfect things. It was about trusting God with my desires and taking care of what I've been given. This principle of contentment was something he wanted me to get, because it's something I'll always have to choose.

In stark contrast to our culture of comparison, material obsession and consumerism, God's ways are contentment, generosity, and hospitality.

These are the purposes that our homes and belongings give life to - not selfish ends. Over time, I began seeing the things I've been given, used, borrowed, and Craiglisted, as gifts. The things I have I don't deserve, and knowing what I know about eternity - earthly possessions just shouldn't be the goal.

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.
— Acts 4:32-34

As a woman, I want to set an example for those alongside and behind me for simple living, contentment, and joy apart from circumstance. These are the real "things" that matter and last.  I hope this is a good reminder for wherever you find yourself. Worth and impact have nothing to do with what you own, but with who Jesus is in you. Be grateful for the unique home, life, body, relationships, and story you carry. None of it is an "oops", it was all meant for you.

Reed and I have the cutest home. Truly. It's our first little apartment in the Bay Area, and almost everything in it is from Craigslist or people's storage units. I love every inch. We fill it with high schoolers, dance parties, and movie marathons. We make delicious meals, and we eat too much popcorn. I thought it would be fun to show you the home we've been blessed with. Perhaps it will inspire you to go dust off that cabinet, sit in that chair, or cook in that kitchen. 

But first, a manifesto.

Contentment Manifesto:
May we love the life and stuff we have. May we wash our old cars and put our mismatched dishes out for dinner parties. May we become collectors of memories and moments, embracing the unique life we've been given. I want what I have. I am content. 

Please comment below if you want to know where any of the above items are from.

Go out and love your life.