It happens every year about the time I should be brimming with a deep well of gratitude and nurturing an abiding, holy contentment – the William-Sonoma and Anthropologie catalogs pour into my mailbox. I am caught on my stoop momentarily fixated. I have a deep feminine desire for beauty and those ads can make me want to crawl right inside the first page. My dreamy gaze on the glossy image is interrupted by a menagerie of playmobil and legos strewn across the entirety of the living room as I re-enter my front door. The loud squabbling of little boys punctuates the ambiance of my little house. Without thinking, I can wonder when this life, or at least just our floors, will ever resonate the ideal presented within those catalogs. The pang of longing presses in seemingly uninvited, and I fume a bit silently.
I begin an internal dialogue with Jesus about my floors and my raucous, messy family. Luckily, I know him well enough to know that he cares about my cares. Somewhere small and still, I am aware of the real pivotal, underlying questions: what is this deep longing that calls out mid-morning? and, where do I go with it? I am reminded of the original struggle; Adam and Eve questioned God’s love for them by distrusting their provision and limitations. They relinquished the gift of authentic abundance to a false ideal and gave away their God-given identity. They walked away from the gift that had already been given – complete communion with God.
The grasping for ideal order or a quick beauty fix tethers me to a lie as old as the garden. Yet, the longing in my core is not itself the problem. How many times have I thought the gaping problem was the house (outward stuff), the kids (fleeting behaviors) or my own inability to just keep it together (my ineptitude)? The ache for eternal beauty is a desire that the Holy Spirit faithfully uses to draw me. It is a need met by Himself in the depths of my heart, not “out there” on my living room floor or ordered up from afar.
Only when I rightly attach my longings to the lover of my soul do I recover my straying heart and see my longing for what it is – an opportunity and call to commune more deeply with God. When I draw close to the reservoir of His love, His presence fills me, and I brim with gratitude to be His child, crowned with His loving-kindness, and held in His constant care. Do you need to pause with me and re-adjust your heart? I am with you, remembering who I already am and what I already have as I scoop up toys and squeeze little boys tightly