First published in the B.C. Catholic Newspaper on January 19, 2021 – https://bccatholic.ca/voices/lisa-rumpel/redesign-your-living-space-and-unclutter-your-mind-for-jesus
“Let’s move our little blue couch over there!” My sister pointed to the wall close to the kitchen.
I nodded. “That could work.”
After watching a few episodes of the Design Doctors on Amazon Prime we drew a new floor plan for our sitting room. We tired of the layout of our room that we spend more of our time in since the start of the pandemic. We looked at each of the five points of focus in interior design: light, space, colour, flow, and storage.
The piano now had pride of place with plants and lighting around it. We moved our dark furniture to be next to each other creating warmth. Our light armchairs had their own decorative pillows and a blanket draped over it for each of us to curl up in. We rearranged what was on our bookshelves, donating items that we no longer use.
Using creative design in the home helped me to have new perspective on my personal projects. I felt like the rearranging, culling, and cleaning uncluttered my head space as well. I no longer felt stuck. I have options. I can restart, reformat, and redo what doesn’t work in writing. And I can refresh, renew, and restore relationships.
When my prayer life seemed to dry up, I remembered that Jesus takes pride of place in my heart. I needed to toss and tether all the useless junk and sin that clutters up my soul.
“We need to be reminded that every second of our survival does really mean that we are new from God’s fingers, so that it requires no more than the miracle which we never notice to restore to us our virgin-heart at any moment we like to choose,” wrote Caryll Houselander in The Reed of God.
I opened up the window to let the cold winter air in. We admired our work and I danced in the wide-open space in the centre of the room. This room was now hygge – the Danish word for coziness, comfort, and contentment. Candlelight really makes the home hyggelig (hygge-like).
We can open our hearts for Jesus to find an inviting sitting room. Oh, how I want him to be with me during the sometimes-dreary season of winter.
January can be a very blue month for me. The dark days a struggle. With a fresh look in my home, I have a gift of change and eagerness for what the new year will bring. When I have hopes, dreams, and goals that I am anticipating, my life has purpose.
I like to pray the CCO missionary prayer. It goes like this: “… Lord, I will go anywhere you want me to go, I will do anything you want me to do, and I will say anything you want me to say …”
And then I step out in faith. Loving the people in my life, moving forward in writing my books, and showing up at work to serve. It is not that I can do it on my own. I know that the Lord loves a cheerful giver. Someone willing to be his instrument. He has a plan for me. It thrills me and worries me at the same time.
“What if I don’t measure up? What if I mess things up?”
Moses did not reach the promised land because he didn’t entrust himself to the Lord. It’s not an easy thing to do. Daily I need to choose to trust in my King and my God. I need to believe in his majesty and mercy. I can do nothing without him. I want him to be comfortable in the depths of my heart.
Receiving the sacrament of confession is like interior design for your soul. I have been seeking reconciliation to clean out my heart. Holding onto the promise of freedom from my sin, I begin again.
Writes Houselander, “The question which most people will ask is: “Can someone whose life is already cluttered up with trivial things get back to this virginal emptiness?” Of course he can; if a bird’s nest has been filled with broken glass and rubbish, it can be emptied.”
Jesus will see me through the winter blues. I may not always feel his presence. I trust that he is with me on the little blue couch in my heart.
Lisa Rumpel’s podcast with a new name, The Will to Thrive: Stories of Resilience, is available on popular streaming services. It is updated once a month on Wednesday.