Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life

A weekly column that is short, pithy and relevant. It deals with Pastor Sylvia's encounters with God in the midst of everyday life. 

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Home Improvement Time

I’ve spent a little time sitting in doctors’ offices this week and there seems to be a conspiracy.  Every waiting room has a television set. And every one of them is on a house improvement channel. Walls come down, new ceilings go in, and I’ve watched every conceivable color of paint applied to projects both inside and outside houses I don’t care about… with one unfortunate consequence. Now I have a desire to remodel our house.

Husband and I now spend time every day walking around finalizing our home improvement plan. So far one wall is coming down. We’re creating a library in our guest bedroom. And ripping out the kitchen and living room flooring. Don’t get me started on the big paint color debate. Believe me, you don’t have enough time and I don’t have enough space.

Either we’ve lost our minds or this is part of some conspiratorial alliance between clinic waiting rooms and the hardware stores.

Gary Chapman (“The Five Love Languages”) has a new book coming out that takes home improvement in an entirely different direction. What if we spent time on the relationships inside our house rather than on the house itself? Let’s face it, who couldn’t benefit from a “do-over” this summer? He says that “if you are a home improvement buff or a fan of home improvement shows, you’re going to love this book.” “The DIY Guide to Building a Family That Lasts” will be out June 4th. I’ve got my copy on preorder.

Every chapter includes a “Sweat Equity” section that includes a snapshot of the “home improvement process.” For instance, if you want to improve the gratitude in your family (and who doesn’t?) Chapman suggests five things:

  • Appreciate your spouse and children. Keep a “Gratitude List” for each family member and review it regularly. Seek to specifically verbalize appreciation at least twice a week to each person.

  • Practice gentleness. Even with our best efforts, disrespect is apt to happen occasionally because we’re all imperfect. Families can learn to be assertive and gentle at the same time.  We don’t have to make things worse with criticism, belittling, and dismissive words. 

  • Own your failings. Don’t do a better job blaming others than taking responsibility for your mistakes. When we admit our part in conflict, it frees us to see the good in others and helps them to see it in us.

  • Walk all over floors, not your family. Repeated disrespect can wear down the flooring of our relationships. Protect and preserve your important relationships by caring for them like you would new (and expensive) flooring.

  • And finally, build a sense of belonging. You and the people you share the house with want to trust that together you are a solid, loyal family. Treating each other with gratitude and respect is an important way of saying, “We belong together. You are mine and I will always have your back. Count on it!”

Driving down the street to our house I realized that most of our neighbors are outside working on some form of house/garden improvement. Increased beauty and functionality are important to keep property values up, but also to let the people who live there know that they are valued.

So what would happen if we spent that same amount of time, money, and energy working on the relationships that reside inside our houses? I think Husband and I would put down our cell phones/notebooks and read more books together. We’d eat more dinners on the patio and talk about things that really matter.  

How would you improve your home?


Spring Beachcombing in Oregon

Confessions of a Lostologist

Find My Friends

Broken and Beautiful

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

No Accidental Death

Growing Spiritual Fruit

Gluten-Free Christianity

Looking For God

Can You Hear Me Now?

A Lesson in Pride

Updating Our Spiritual Software

Your Rod and Your Staff They Comfort Me

We Lie Down In Green Pastures

Our Response to Anger

Complaining Reveals Entitlement Mentality

Can We Un-Teach Entitlement?

Breaking the Diet Cycle


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