The title of this blog used to be Beka Stays. Which was fitting, and still is, since I'm aiming to stay daily committed to making the most of who I am. But I decided to change the title to A Beautiful Home for two reasons.
(Least Important): It makes me uncomfortable to have my name in the title of the blog. I mean, it makes me squirm at night just knowing that I now have a website with my name on it. I love the website (oh do I ever love it!) but I'm not so enthusiastic about generating attention, so having my name all over the place just makes me want to crawl under a table.
(Most Important): The other blogs I've written (and there have been many...thank you to those of you who have stuck around for this one, round FIVE) have primarily been about me because, well, that's what personal blogs usually entail: stories and anecdotes about the author. But I want to go in a new direction with this blog. I'll generate the content, but I want it to be less about me and more about helping ALL of us find out who we are in Christ and how to live authentically as that person, like we really mean it. If I call the blog Beka Stays, then where is the space for everyone else to stay? It's too limiting. So welcome, anyone and everyone! I'm so glad you're all here!
What can you expect from this blog? Just what the header says: a blog about staying daily committed to creating a beautiful home for the Holy Spirit.
And let's just call a spade a spade: "creating a beautiful home for the Holy Spirit" sounds like a whacked out idea. I totally get it. But bear with me while I explain it a bit further, and then you can make your own judgments from there.
You know when you're reading something - a book, magazine, blog, anything - and a certain theme or line just jumps off the page to you? It seems like it's speaking right to you? That's how it was with this idea. Every time I read about it in scripture, it jumps out at me full-force with exclamation points and big bold letters. I feel 10,000% convicted that this is an area I need to focus on when I read verses like this:
You realize, don't you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God's temple, you can be sure of that. God's temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.
1 Corinthians 3:15-17
Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God's holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way: "I'll live in them, move into them; I'll be their God and they'll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good," says God. "Don't link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself. I'll be a Father to you; you'll be sons and daughters to me."
2 Corinthians 6:13-15
With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let's make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let's make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1-3
And, oh my word, ESPECIALLY when I read these:
God is building a home. He's using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he's using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
Isn't that beautiful? Doesn't it set your heart on fire? Doesn't it make you want to be the best brick/stone you can be???
(If it sounds like I'm about to break into song...I probably am.)
As a Christian, I believe that when I committed my life to Christ by believing in His death, resurrection, and subsequent gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit came into my life as a result. Paul explains it in Ephesians 1 like this, "And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him."
So if the Holy Spirit is really living inside of me because of God's gift of salvation, and I wholeheartedly believe He is, then what kind of home am I building for Him? Is it a place that I would want to live in? Is it a place I would be proud of if I could see a physical replica of the environment? Am I making sure I'm staying true to my blueprint? Am I making the most of who I was created to be or am I just trying to be a socially acceptable 26 year old girl?
That's the crux of this whole beautiful home idea.
And so these traits that I set out to stick to at the beginning of 2012, they're still meaningful. I still want to stick to them. But for a bit of a different reason. It's not that I just want to learn how to stay anymore. It's that I understand that these traits are an overflow of who God created me to be and that by practicing them, I get a little bit closer to creating a beautiful home for the Holy Spirit. They aren't "good works" that bring me any sort of justification. They aren't even the most important part of living a Spirit-filled life. They are just benchmarks that help me keep a tangible grasp on my priorities.
Here's the full list...along with two new ones...because I just can't help myself:
Faithful : Read one chapter a day from the New Testament via Project 345, a really helpful daily reading plan offered online and through the app YouVersion. This one is the foundation for all of the other ones.
Relational : Make one meaningful, face-to-face connection with a friend or family member every week. This one reminds me that I'm not an island.
Compassionate : Volunteer regularly with the Better Day Buddies program at Strong; find a tangible way every day to show people that they matter. This one makes my heart swell.
Creative : Take one legit picture that I genuinely love every week, i.e. not just a picture of my dinner that I'm also using for a blog post. This one helps me really see the life I love.
Hungry : Make one new dinner recipe every week from the millions of magazines and billions of blogs I subscribe to. This one makes me happy (not to mention, well-fed).
Healthy : Challenge myself to work harder every day. Right now...that means P90x! This one makes me sweat and groan and rejoice and, as Tony would say, BRING IT.
Hospitable : Tackle one home project every month, and then invite one friend over a month for a fun night at my humble abode. This one completely surprises me...who knew I loved hospitality so much?!
Local : Visit one new place in Rochester every month. This one is never hard to complete. This one is also never not a restaurant.
Well-traveled : Travel outside of the greater Rochester area (and, if at all possible, the state of New York) once every season. This one refreshes my perspective.
Well-read : Read one new book every month. This one validates my English degree and fills my mind with worthwhile information. (Read: not an 18th viewing of Gilmore Girls.)
Grateful : Write down one meaningful verse and one moment I'm grateful for every day. This one puts my priorities in proper place.
Real : ENJOY LIFE - especially the funny and miscellaneous parts. This one is the junk drawer; I need it to remind me that life is full of things that don’t go on lists. I want to value the map and follow the directions, but look out the window and enjoy the ride, too.
Every day you'll see a post that corresponds to one of these traits in an effort to consistently live a life of authenticity. You'll also see two other types of posts:
Good Things : From groceries to country songs to magazines, this category is for anything that makes life sweet.
Inspired : A weekly list of links that lit a spark in my heart in any way.
If you want to stay on top of things, just use the RSS button on the sidebar to subscribe to all of the posts from this blog in a feed reader, or you can also receive daily posts via email by signing up for an email subscription. And unlike the (too many) magazine subscriptions I indulge, this subscription is completely free! Woo hoo!
I'm so glad you're all here. I hope that when you are in this home you feel welcomed, loved, and empowered to be YOU.
Thanks for coming over!