Tension. No wait, TENSION.

See this?

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I picked those leaves from my parents’ yard in northern Illinois.

Once back in the dusty desert I got out my Tub-o-Mod Podge and made my very own candle holder with those beautiful red leaves.

Then I made another one with some burlap.

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I had a problem, obviously, and just couldn’t stop.  I bought a pumpkin and some ears of corn and re-purposed a mirror that was in our bedroom and POOF!

Kirsten had decorated for autumn.

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This is big people

HUGE, actually.

There was a time in my life, not too long ago (like, last week) during which I was convinced that decorating for seasons (other than Christmas, duh.) was for a certain kind of person that involved wearing mom jeans and reading Good Housekeeping and being boring.

Well, I guess I have arrived because this fall my house smells like  spiced apple cider and my fire place mantle looks AHHHMAZING.

And I love it.  It truly brings me joy to sit here enjoying a bit of autumn (while the a/c is on, obviously, because you know it is like 93 degrees out right now…).  So maybe not like ‘profound spiritual’ joy but certainly ‘life is good‘ joy.

Bit by bit I have found myself doing strange things like this.

For example, last Christmas I paid like $20 for a wreath from Micheal’s that had gold spray-painted pine cones plastered to it. (It’s tacky, not gonna lie)

You can kinda see it in this picture…

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Now that I have figured out how to use Pinterest it is getting even worse and I am absolutely stuck in the TENSION of it all.

You might be surprised that there can be TENSION in Mod Podge and fall foliage, but there is in my life.

Actually, I am a firm believer that for all the Peace we get in Jesus, the actual day to day of following Him is full of this TENSION.

For example, I want to celebrate the beautiful gift of changing seasons and create a warm and loving home for my family and drink gallons of pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING and visit and plan and host and bake and apple pick and craft and decorate because it is FALL and YAY!

But – people are literally starving.  Here in Tucson. People don’t give a you-know-what that I have glued some leaves to an old jar because they can’t afford pumpkins or pumpkin spiced lattes and they are drowning in sorrows and bills and family drama and drug abuse and lies and abuse and unemployment so what the you-know-what am I doing spending time and money decorating my mantle and buying gaudy wreathes?

And, am I less of a good Christian woman if I can’t afford to, or choose not to, have a home strait out of a magazine?  (Alright, let’s be clear – for all my mocking, I am quite certain my mantle wouldn’t make the cut to appear in Good Housekeeping in a million years…)

Am I less of a good Christian woman if I can afford to, and I do choose to?

TENSION.

It’s all over the place in my life.

I am so, so, so pleased that my children have a mommy who teaches and leads and works and serves yet I want to prioritize raising them well – so how much is too much time away from them?

I value deep scripture study and prayer and spiritual care and fellowship and I value outreach and service- how does this all fit into an hour and a half small group meeting I lead?

I value being wise with my finances and future, but I also take Jesus seriously when he says not to build storehouses of wealth here on earth and give away my possessions.

I am constantly resisting with every fiber of my being against the pulls of materialism and ‘fat and happy’ Christianity in my life, yet I also value celebration and thankfulness and joy in my home – so exactly how much time and money should I put into making my house adorable?

Is abundance found in pumpkin spiced lattes and beautifully decorated homes, or is abundance found in giving sacrificially of my resources?

Or, is it found in both?

I think it is both, but it feels tricky to navigate sometimes.

I believe joy and abundance are found in a mommy who serves inside the home and outside of the home.

I believe joy and abundance are found on my knees and reaching out to my co-workers.

I believe joy and abundance are found filling myself full at God’s table and letting dinner get a bit cold while I find someone to share it with.

So there is TENSION.

Questions of how much and how often come up daily.

Calls to be radical and extreme encounter and sometimes clash with calls to rest and feast. 

I wish I could neatly tie this blog post with an answer.  An answer of what percentage is okay to spend on seasonal decor.  An answer of when I need to say ‘no’ to others and just get on the floor and play with my kids.  An answer of which nights it is perfectly acceptable to veg in front of the TV and which nights I need to open up my bible (I will probably decide that one based on Gray’s Anatomy…).

Sometimes a gold Christmas wreath is just what I need to celebrate the season, and sometimes I need to JUST STOP FOR THE LOVE after decorating the mantle and quit before the centerpiece because my time is better spent elsewhere.

Jesus is not about guilt and shame and I don’t have time for that.  So when He says care for others I try to do that.  When He says chill out and rest and get out that glue gun to rejoice in the beauty of autumn I try to do that, too.

Being firmly passionate in God’s purposes for the world, and allowing HIS story to be the foundation to my life, actually allows me freedom in making these choices, but no matter how you slice it, self-reflection, accountability and self-control just aren’t always easy.

What TENSIONS of the Christian life do you deal with?

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7 thoughts on “Tension. No wait, TENSION.

  1. Elizabeth V

    woah. I don’t think I have ever thought about home decorating like that before. I don’t feel like I go overboard with the seasonal stuff, but, here we are in a brand new house, starting over from scratch, and all I want to do is get everything decorated RIGHT. The way I want to. Perfect. I have gotten carried away with it, and I didn’t even realize it.

    Like

    1. Kirsten

      Haha – we might have different convictions 🙂 I think finding the ways God wants me “to get carried away’ is key. Sometimes that looks different than how I think it should!

      Like

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