Lately, I’ve been staring at a lot of blank wall space.
My husband and I recently moved into a house that has been being renovated for what seems like years but, in reality, has only been 8 months. Eight long months of stopping by each day to see the progress, decision-making, and Pinterest-ing. Needless to say, it needed a lot of work.
As the boxes begin to clear out and make the long trek from the basement to the fire pit, empty spaces are opening up right and left. I find myself stopping with my arms full of dirty laundry to look at each one, thinking, “Gotta fill that with something.”
I’m not an interior designer, and my taste tends toward minimalism in some ways – meaning that I don’t really do knick-knacks. Add to that I’ve never had my own house to fill, so I was researching big time while our house was getting a face-lift. I just didn’t want to do it wrong. I felt like our house needed to look put together and complete the day after we moved in; otherwise, I had failed.
Who else do you go to for interior design than Joanna Gaines, right? She’s got it all together when it comes to home design and décor. She’ll know what to do. And she did, but it wasn’t what I expected. After reading through her book Home Body that my husband had gotten me for Christmas, I sat back with one singular take-away. Just one.
This is a thick book. Granted, there are a lot of beautiful photos, but there’s a lot to be gleaned from this coffee-table-centerpiece-brick-of-literature, from entryway design to full-house design. Ours was definitely a full-house design candidate, but I sat back, took a sip of my hot tea, and let one word of wisdom seep in:
Don’t rush to fill your house. Take your time and find items that mean something to your family.
I’ve started to ask myself a question as I clutch that pile of dirty laundry to my chest: When I look at this empty wall, what do I see?
Merriam-Webster defines the word empty as “lacking reality, substance, meaning, or value.” But, maybe what I need here is a perspective change. Just shift empty to blank, and the definition changes. One of the definitions of blank is “a piece of material prepared to be made into something.”
When I see one of my freshly painted white, blank walls, I see potential, not failure or emptiness. I see the memories that will be made within those walls, and I wait with expectancy for just the right piece that will hang there, reminding us of where we’ve been and who we are as a family. Those white walls may get a few small, dirty handprints, too, but that’s just character.
In our lives, how often do we seek to fill blank spaces as soon as we can to avoid the implications of the word empty.
A life change results in more free time, and we see the emptiness in that instead of the potential for new endeavors. Distance puts strain on a relationship, and we feel the empty space in our hearts, instead of seeing the potential of being more intentional. We mourn what was, and often, we rush to fill the emptiness.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I love that. Be still. Stop striving, and simply be still.
Recently, God slowed me down, and in those moments of stillness, He whispered, “Can’t you hear my voice a little better now?” Instead of rushing to fill the stillness, I waited and listened. Suddenly, my time was not empty but a blank canvas for God to do something new.
Today, if you are staring at a blank wall, too, don’t let the emptiness discourage you, but look beyond to the potential of what God will do.