It’s no secret around here that I love to read. I found that recently my attention was being pulled away from books and I really missed it, so I got out one of my old favorites- and it has been so refreshing to reread (usually while curled up at night before bed). The book is called Interior Wisdom by Leah Richardson. (She has a blog too).
I originally happened upon the book one day while browsing the interior decorating aisles at Barnes & Noble, and was immediately intrigued by the serene picture on the cover and the subtitle: Designing Your Home and Heart for the Lord. Hmmm, sounds interesting.
When I got the book home that night, I was drawn in – by both the beautiful, peaceful designs that Leah created, but also by the parallels she drew with the interior design of our home in the natural realm and the interior design work God does in the spiritual realm. The book is filled with gorgeous photographs of interiors and scriptures and prayers worth meditating on.
The first chapter logically starts with “emptying the room”. That is, literally emptying the contents of the room you are working with and figuratively emptying ourselves to give God the “time, space, preference and creative license to accomplish something beautiful.” Then comes “removing the draperies” to “let the light/Light in” and of course, “cleaning up our mess.”
I especially love when I get to the part where Leah talks about hospitality in our homes. When I feel myself getting too worked up, anxious, or just a little crazed over my house or decor or the house is a mess, reading her thoughts about hospitality help center me:
“When we look at practicing hospitality as a way to bless others, our focus automatically changes. There is absolutely no reason to stress out and think everything must be perfect before you practice hospitality. After all, it is not about us. It is abut being a blessing to others. Jesus said to his disciples, “Freely you have received, freely give.” Out of our relationship and fellowship with Jesus we find ourselves hungering to share the good gifts we have generously received. We do not need to isolate ourselves in our home, believing it is not decorated enough or perfect enough to invite friends over. We do not need to wear ourselves out so we have nothing to give out! Jesus tells us whenever two or more are gathered in His name, He is there. You are not alone. You can keep it simple. You can be a blessing. You can practice Hospitality.”
Reading those words help remind me what having a home is all about anyway- having a place to share with family and friends. When people enter our home, don’t we all just want them to feel welcome and loved??
Towards the end of the book, Leah writes about Personal Style and says, “Authenticity trumps appearance when it comes to our personal style and the way we live.” I love that.
And her approach to design, based on the serene photos, makes me really take stock of what I love and causes me to slow way down and just relax, not trying to just “quickly fill up my home” with things that I don’t love or need in order to have a decorated home. I can just breathe and chill and . . . . wait. When I see how deliberate Leah is about designing every aspect of the room, taking into consideration even how the light falls or the view from one room to the next, and choosing the “just right” piece of furniture, it makes me want to wait for what’s “just right” for my home too. And be thankful for what we have now. I think God is working on patience in me right now.
Leah reminds us to “Fill your home with the things you love, and love the One who has provided all those things for your enjoyment.”
I’d love to hear what your favorite design book or spiritual book is. Those are two of my favorite topics to read about:) If you’re curious, one of my favorite spiritual books is Girl Meets God and really all the books by Lauren Winner. I also like Beth Moore’s books, but she’s even better in person!