Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s House.

Exodus 20:17.

These words written almost 3500 years ago by a painfully shy and not-so-well-spoken servant of God have been ringing in my ears recently.

Let me explain.

When my husband and I decided to move from our last rental house so we would have room for a baby Madeline, we looked into both renting and buying options.  We hadn’t been married very long and were still (and are still :-/) paying off some student loans, so we really didn’t have any down payment saved up.

Being my traditional, we-need-to-do-things-the-“right”-way self, I spoke up and said we should just rent for a while longer.  Ryan, on the other hand, had heard that in rural areas, one could buy a home with little to no money down; this, he told me, would be a better option.  He reasoned that at least the money we spent on housing each month would actually be going towards a purchase, rather than just rent.

And now I can see that he was right, but at the time, I fought his decision a bit.  Mainly because without a down payment, our price range for a home was fairly small.  Sure we could buy something liveable and with enough room for us and a little one, but I had grand plans.  I wanted a family room and a living room, a fireplace (or two!), multiple bathrooms, and a classy looking porch.  And even more.

Our home, is not so grand.  It is modest at a little over 1000 sq feet, and it has a very simple layout.  There are no fireplaces, and there really isn’t too much quirkiness or character to the home at all.

Friends and family members around our age/life stage are beginning to buy homes, and it has seemed that everyone’s house has so much quirk and character.  I’ll admit, I have been very jealous.

Not to mention that it seems as though when our friends have bought homes, they have quickly painted and decorated, making their houses homes almost immediately after buying them.

We have been in our house over a year and a half now, and I still haven’t even finished painting our hallway.  In fact, I finished a can of paint about 3/4 of the way down the hallway.  So it just looks a bit ghetto.

And it has looked ghetto for the last, oh, 8 months.

Since the new year, I have gotten very annoyed with myself over the state of our home.

Please don’t misinterpret me, here.  Our house is fairly neat-ish, most of the time, and it is usually clean.  I just really haven’t been able to make it very homey.  Each time I went to a friend’s house and they had decorated nicely I would feel down about my own skills

These feelings culminated a few weeks ago.  We were driving home from a very artsy friend’s house, and I honestly broke into tears explaining to my husband how inadequate I felt that I couldn’t create a home like my friend could.  He tried to comfort me as best he could, but I knew my husband just couldn’t understand my distress.  What he kept reminding me was that there were so many other things I excel at, and so what this wasn’t one of them?

And then it really hit me.  Although I thought I had been coveting other women’s homes, I wasn’t.  Instead I was coveting their skills.  I coveted their eye for color or their ability to pick out and coordinate fabrics and furniture in their home.  I coveted their ability to work within a budget to make their home a comfortable place for their family.

I simply don’t excel at those things.  But like Ryan said, so what?  God has given me other gifts.  I can bake a mean loaf of bread, and I can memorize almost any number I see, including license plates and social security numbers.

I am essentially my own Rolodex. 😉

So, readers, I wrote this long post just to say that I have surrendered to that fact.  I simply don’t have the artistic ability to make my home look like a picture-perfect magazine house.  Instead, I am striving to not only discover what it is I like, but how to incorporate it in our home within a budget.

No longer will I worry and fret over what other people think when they walk into my living room.  Will they judge my color choices?  Will they think I hang weird pictures?

Who cares?

It’s our home, not theirs.  And it may be a plain Jane kind of house, but it’s my plain Jane kind of house to put my mark on.

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