So I started watching shows about staging and fixing up properties. Because we don't have cable and I only have access to shows through our Roku, the offerings were somewhat limited. Mostly, I watched "Sell This House" on A&E. Then Netflix starting offering HGTV shows like "Property Brothers" and "Fixer Upper." I enjoyed these shows, and others...at first.
Then I started to find myself feeling discontented with our home...and I had grand plans - too grand - for our next one. Finally, someone told me our house was a good "starter home" - and I, not easily offended, was offended. After all, my parents were successful, middle class people, and nearly every house they ever lived in was about the same level of quality as the one my husband and I currently live in. Growing up, we always felt our homes were nice. Certainly nobody ever called them "starter homes," as if they were something we should strive to outgrow.
When my husband and I moved into our house 15 years ago, I was delighted with it. No, it didn't have granite, marble, or quartz counters - they were practical Formica. No, it didn't have a custom kitchen - it had "builder's grade" cabinets that we thought were quite attractive. Nope, there was no tile in the bathrooms and no engineered hardwood flooring throughout the house; there was fresh carpet and vinyl throughout. But it was still a beautiful home.
So why suddenly do home buyers insist properties should be filled with luxury finishes? (And, no doubt about it, they are luxury.) Why do modern magazines showcase the homes of the rich when they used to feature the homes of the solidly middle class? Why do HGTV shows take (sometimes) perfectly acceptable homes and turn their interiors into mansions? Why do we feel the need to put marble in our homes when other, less expensive materials are actually more practical?
It all leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth. And as I see middle class people going into great debt to buy luxury homes, my heart asks: How can you fill your home with luxuries when the world is in such need? If Jesus were with you as you picked out those granite counter tops, high end appliances, and rainfall shower heads, how would he feel?
Now, none of this is to say that Proverbs 31 Women shouldn't strive to make their homes as relaxing, peaceful, and beautiful as possible. We definitely should - because our homes should be havens from the world. The problem is the world's idea of a "comfortable home" has gone haywire in the last few decades. HGTV and Pinterest have so many of us thinking we must always be "upgrading" our homes that we've forgotten that what we really need to do is upgrade our hearts. Because a loving heart doesn't splurge on itself. Instead, it gives to others.
How many Americans have bought homes they couldn't afford, which therefore kept them from giving to those in need? How many are so "house rich and pocket poor" they feel they are the ones in need? How many are so in debt from buying things they "deserve," that they completely ignore those who deserve enough food to eat and a warm place to sleep?
Now when I watch a show like "Property Brothers," I'm uncomfortable. The couples always spend their max budget, and usually get pretty demanding about what luxuries their "dream home" must have. I always wonder if they managed to hang on to their homes, or were foreclosed on due to the downward economy. And I wonder, if their tastes had been more practical, how could they have helped change the world?
|Kitchen, 2015, Houzz.|
As for me, I'm happy with my Formica counter tops and builder's grade cabinets. I'm glad my children are living in a home that's not luxurious, that will make them expect their grown up homes should look like something out of a slick magazine. And I'm glad that because we aren't always striving for more, better, richer, more luxurious, we have a little more to give.
"I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing...In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:33-35
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" Hebrews 13:5