When we think of building a house, or an environment, for ourselves and our families, there are a few levels to which we can extend this metaphor.
Our first home is our self: body and mind. These work in harmony; when one is negatively affected, the other often suffers too. Many of us are learning how to care for our bodies, or battling depression and anxiety. Your body is your “house” — build it up and cherish it. When your own well-being is put off in favor of more urgent needs, your body suffers and this will affect those you care for. Making real self-care a priority builds your physical and emotional home.
Next, we can think of “building our house” as the home where our family or roommates live with us. Often, for better or for worse, it falls to the woman of the house to create a warm and welcoming environment for the family. We can take advantage of this and use it as a way to love those we live with, using our own tastes and personality to infuse the space with beauty and comfort through our furnishings, meals, and celebrations. When our home is pleasant, comfortable and filled with joy, we thrive, and our families do too.
Once we have taken care of ourselves and our families, it’s time to think of the wider community. We may think of “church” as a building where we go to hear a preacher on Sunday morning, but church is really the outreach of the home and family to their local community. This is how we serve the world — we start at our own front door. We’re corporately accountable to “go and make disciples,” which we can understand as taking responsibility for our influence over the lives of everyone we encounter. It’s easy to complain about the communities we live in and the local policies we can’t change, rather than using our actions and influence to build better lives for those in our midst.
Building a house is about taking responsibility to foster a positive environment, not only for our own wellbeing, but also for the benefit of those whose lives we touch. It’s an initiative to bring truth, meaning and beauty to the world, starting with our own little corner. How different everyone’s houses will look once completed! How beautiful that we each pursue different ideals, but together we form a mosaic — the body of Christ. Encouraging each other, cheering each other on to our different responsibilities, bearing each other’s burdens, and together bringing the Kingdom of God here to earth.