Imagine your life is a room. Maybe, think of it as a living room. Each element of the room represents a part of your life. The sofa may represent your friends, complete with pretty pillows all fluffed and placed just so. The coffee table may be your marriage, the center of the room. The chairs could be your kids. The knick knacks could be your hobbies. The bookshelves and all their treasures may be your extended family - rich with history of love and loss. The fireplace and mantle, your work. It's all there. You can arrange it so that it is pretty, so that it is impressive. It is Pinterest-ready.
Ultimately, however, life breezes through the room. Friends betray, the sofa frays, or possibly we betray a friend tattering the once-lovely place of rest and joy. Kids take a path that seems wrought with hurts-to-come. The marriage gets dinged up from the business of busy-ness. The mantle/career may explode for reasons we cannot predict or control. The knick knacks on the bookshelves get on our nerves. Then, what happens? We might become consumed with fixing, repairing, polishing, painting these pieces of our life room. Surely if everyone on social media can have a perfect life, we can too. So we hone in on the eye-sore, hunker down with the worry and set our minds to get it right. Maybe we become simply exhausted by our room because no matter how hard we try to get it just-so, real life blows through and undoes it.
Think about your heart-life-room. All the pieces. All the gifts. All the hurts. All the hopes. All the questions.
Where is God in this picture? We are told that He stands at the door and knocks, and anyone who hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in eat with her/him. To me that sounds like Him hanging out in my room, like lingering a while, maybe with coffee. Jesus, Himself, says that He came so that we would have life and joy to the fullest, abundantly so, and in all kinds of circumstances. He said that in this life, this world, our room, we would indeed have troubles; but in the midst of them, we can have peace and joy because He is bigger than our troubles. This makes me pause, because I am a Christian. Sometime ago, I asked Jesus to come and live in my heart. But when I look at my life-room, I wonder if I invited Him into my heart with some caveats. "Please, come be a part of my life, but don't touch my stuff... I believe in You, but it's kind of awkward with you in my room. And I don't want my neighbors to think I am weird, so how about I visit YOU on Sundays at Your house?" Then I look at my room that seems absent of peace and joy and life, and I wonder... perhaps I need to give this Jesus more freedom to move around in here.
What if we all said, "Jesus, I believe you love me. I believe you have a plan for me and that You are good. I am going to trust You with my stuff. Come into this room and have Your way."? I wonder what might happen. Well, first we may have a panic attack. As my friend Donna said, "I don't like people moving my stuff around." But after a bit, I wonder if we may see things in a different light. That in-law on the bookshelf whom we cannot figure out how to love, what if she gets propped up by a book so that you see her in a new light? That chair-child that we thought was on the way to failure, what if the failure brings humbling which then leads to a beautiful and unexpected growth in character? What if our trying to avoid the failure was actually keeping him from the gift of growth? What if the marriage needed some polishing, some TLC from a source other than you? What if we simply allowed the God of peace and love and forgiveness and healing and comfort and justice and hope to touch all our stuff?
A funny thing happens when a room is rearranged. It feels news. The light hits old things in new ways, and they start to glisten. New arrangements of furniture allow us to travel more freely in a space that once felt small and claustrophobic. People come into the space and see something is different here. The room/the life - it's the same but different. One day, we are told, when we go to the Home beyond the clouds, all things will be new. The old hurts will be gone. Tears wiped by the One who loves. And all will be better than our greatest imagination. But until then, my heart wonders... could Him dwelling in my room, arranging and tending to all my life pieces, and loving me in my real-life broken spaces be a bit of that kingdom coming now, that glory glistening here, that joy springing forth abundantly in this moment, in my room and in your room on earth as it does in Heaven?