I must confess, I have felt unsettled in my living arrangements for the past few months. While I am trying not to complain and learning to find joy in God, home is where I spend most of my time and if I don’t feel comfortable there, it affects me deeply.
There are numerous reasons I feel this twinge of discontentment. If you didn’t know, I share a house with a flatmate, and have done so for the past two years. When I first moved out of my parents’ home it was a large blessing and provision, and while I still believe that, nothing on this earth is perfect, and what works for one season will not work for your entire life.
Firstly, I believe I have been spiritually journeying through the wilderness, a parallel to the Israelites who wandered for forty years. While I won’t disclose all the details surrounding this season of my life, my living arrangements are part of the lack-of-abundance I’m currently facing . (In saying this, I am still appreciative and aware of my provision.)
The second reason is, at 24, I think it is natural to want to invest in one’s own space! While I take great care of where I live, I am aware that every hour I put into the garden and house is investing into someone else’s property and home. I think it is normal to be an adult who wants to make the main decisions of furnishings, decorations, and organisation of a house. While my room is entirely as I see fit, I have a great longing to care for my own space.
Over Christmas I stayed with my family for two weeks, and upon returning to my abode I felt the discontent even more strongly as I viewed the house with fresh eyes. I felt uncomfortable and unsatisfied, and even though I am trying to keep my eyes set on Jesus, the difficulties did not ease. While I am aware of this wilderness season in my life and that not everything will be perfect – well, nothing ever will be on this earth! – there are still things I can do to help the situation.
After a few days of feeling lost and overwhelmed after Christmas, I rolled up my sleeves and thoroughly cleaned the kitchen. This included the kettle and sink, which had been neglected. Even though these do not belong to me, I use them daily, and seeing them shine after spending time on them made me feel much more at home in the space. It brought peace. Admittedly, I do still have moments when I feel upset about caring for a home that is not my own, but there is something to be said for taking pride in your environment and tending to what is around you.
While I do dream of a time when I move on from this place, I also do not want to throw this stage of my life away by wishing instead of living. This house has served me well, and I will never forget how God orchestrated my move and living arrangements. While I do struggle with discontentment (I have talked about this before), looking after my environment reminded my mind and soul that this is good work, regardless of whether it is mine.
Something else I have done for myself is buying an apron! While I don’t affirm shopping as a means to ease the pain of a situation, it is something I have wanted for a while, and as I am someone who wears “nice” things daily (what you see me wearing to brunch with friends is what I wear when I am home alone, popping to the store, or even sometimes going for a walk!), I wanted an apron to protect my skirts and dresses from the mess I make when I cook. Which is frequent. (Tinned tomato gets everywhere, okay? I don’t make the rules.)
With an apron, I’m sure I could have sewn one myself but I wanted something right away (I am a product of my generation lol!) that made me feel like a homemaking mouse in a Beatrix Potter story. So I bought an apron fit for a mouse, and on the days I feel unsettled in my environment, I can step into the kitchen and find joy in the small things around me: the smell of fresh bread, a sparkling sink, and a frilly apron covered in roses.