Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hiding Behind Stuff

I met two friends today. For the first time! These are fellow bloggers that I have "known" for close to three years and finally our paths converged in real time here at my home! It was so wonderful to have them here for a few hours of talking, discussing, sharing...time just went by way too fast. We barely scratched the surface!

In the days leading up to their coming, I sensed a gnawing frustration. I really wanted to go to Lowe's to buy new ferns for the front porch, pretty flowers for my pots, fresh herbs, and paint for my porches. A trip to World Market for new rugs...and maybe a fresh tablecloth. Oh yeah, it's Buy Nothing time.

This was the first time that my Buy Nothing experiment started to bother me. And I kept asking myself why? And after some soul-searching I realized that it's just so desirable to hide behind stuff. I'll buy some pretty things so you'll think I'm pretty. I'll make the porch look perfect so that you think I have my act together. I'll buy fresh rugs so you don't see how tattered I really am.

Usually I would have just gone and bought these new items without much thought. Or said "I am just trying to be hospitable!" But for me, I don't think that deep down it is as much about hospitality as it is about insecurity. I want them to like me. Or maybe I just want them to be distracted by my stuff so they never get the chance to see the real me. We complain that "we want to be known and understood" but do we really? Or do we just want our friends to know a false representation of ourselves?

So today I invited these generous ladies into my home as-is. No frills. No fuss. Just naked-in-soul, feeling-as-if-I-have-nothing-to-offer but myself. An odd vulnerability that says "please just receive me as I am". I felt such a deep freedom by approaching this visit this was scary-wonderful and with no regrets!

And isn't that what we each ultimately really want in our heart of hearts? Unconditional acceptance? And to think that Jesus accepts me this way: without my spiritual posturing and, no frills, no fuss.

Just as I am

photo credit


laurel said...

Aimee, I absolutely loved being in your home today. It was such a happy, cheerful, colorful, lived in (in the most wonderful way), family home. I enjoyed every moment there and felt so comfortable and WELCOMED. You were as wonderful in person as you are here and I am so HAPPY to call you a friend.

donna rae said...

WOW! Your honesty amazes me... and mirrors some of my own feelings. Thank you for being open on your "Buy Nothing" journey and sharing the lessons God is teaching along the way.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

I LOVED READING THIS!!! Hooray! Your honesty about insecurity rang so clearly to me. I always had the same whispers in my ear when somebody planned to visit -- "pretty this, new that, freshened that . . ." and on it droned. One day I just couldn't/wouldn't do it anymore. I set out what I had on a moment's notice and it was fabulous. Such freedom! Pride bathed in insecurity was my problem, not frayed napkins. ; D

Keep up the good work, sweet girl! You're an inspiration.

(From a reader who stops in for a sweet read now and again, but shyly slips out without a word most of the time.)

Aimee said...

Awwww, Laurel, thank you for your wonderful, encouraging words. It was really truly delightful having you all here and "hearing" you all instead of "reading" you all! :)
Donna Rae and Debbie, as I wrote this I thought that there must be other women who can relate to this and I am so glad that you spoke up and shared! I didn't realize what a trap I was in until it was exposed by this Buy Nothing time. Amazing what these little life experiments can reveal :)

Pom Pom said...

Such truth here. I guess sometimes we don't want to risk being misunderstood but when we aren't real than we guarantee that we WILL be misunderstood. I've told many people about your journey around de-stuffing and it is so interesting to me when some people just can't grasp the "why" of it. It's as if we are so afraid of shedding our protective covering, so afraid that our realness will not be accepted. We so want to control and this need to control works against the ultimate surrender Jesus calls us to. Thank you for sharing the ups and the downs.

Andrea said...

aimee, this is brilliant.i love everything you said. and i do all the things you've said too. i love that you experienced FREEDOM during this experience.
I agree with Laurel, and as I was looking at pictures of us in your home, I was thinking how cozy, calm and peaceful your home was. you've created a beautiful place for your family. and that is a lot of work. i love your willingness to be open hearted and let it all out there! i love you and am happy to call you a in life friend too.

Bonita said...

I love this post and this message! I can so identify with everything you said about wanting to hide behind things or put on a false front. I didn't even realize I do that until recently and then your post just made it all the more clear. Wow!

Like you, I had people to my house this week, a whole living room full and right now the house looks like a yard sale where a bomb went off. They were here for a business meeting and I became so engrossed in what transpired and the fellowship that it wasn't until after they left that I realized I'd forgotten to be insecure about my house. What a glorious freedom and one that I've rarely experienced in the past.

I'm so proud of you for having new friends over right in the middle of your buy nothing time. That takes real courage!

Joey Feltz said...

you have inspired me to have April be my 'No Spend Month', even my husband is on board with the idea...hooray...I really don't need anything but food! Thanks for the idea!
from the Adirondack Mountains of NY

The Mangerchine's said...

This is such a deep, honest post... I love it! Thank you for your vulnerability!!!! I can totally relate, although for me it goes so much further than our decorations and buying nothing, I want to fix a great meal, from scratch, that is elaborate and pefect, I want my home to be clean and emmaculate, and then I want to look put together, and then I want to have just the right thing to say to ecourage and challenge others, and it all goes on... it all hinges upon not finding my security in Christ first and foremost, and on wanting to put on a facade for my guests, rather than feeling comfortable being myself, and being exposed as is.

Tonya said...

Aimee! LOVE this and your honesty. I can so completely relate to what you've said here. It's like our homes are a little window into our true selves and it sometimes feels so vulnerable to invite people in. I find myself strangely hesitating to invite people into my home until I've reached a certain level of safety and comfort in the friendship. I've felt convicted about this...the Lord has blessed me with a wonderful (yet imperfect) home and I want to open it to bless others. Even as I type those words I sense the same could be true for giving of myself!! So many things involved in this for me...insecurity, perfectionism, fear of what people think of me, etc. Nonetheless, THANK you for giving of YOURself to bless others. What an encouragement you are!

The Homesteading Apartment said...

You know...this has got me to thinking. I tend to do this...want everything just so when company comes and to have everything perfect. So I began to peel back the layers on this one. For me it wasn't about people liking me or thinking I have my act together, it was more about wanting people to see my see me. "Wow! You designed that? You did that yourself? How creative you are!"

Oh, yuck! So instead of just honoring myself, being pleased with the gal I am and being thankful for a Father who sees me because He created me, I was seeking validation in others. Oh my! Never thought to look at it in that way. Thank you so much for the honesty and thought provoking post (: