I’ve been pondering the spiritual meaning of one’s home. I’ve mentioned in another blog posting that introverts and extroverts tend to view their home in different ways. Blazing extroverts tend to open wide their doors and invite any and all into their space, they are energized by sharing who they are and what they have with others. Introverts tend to see the home as a place apart from the world…a place where they can disengage from others and find rest; they tend to be energized by alone time which helps them engage the world “out there”.
In taking it bit deeper I wonder, though, if a home could represent our souls. Maybe the extent to which we let others into our personal, inner lives is reflected in the extent to which we let others into our homes. This idea fits nicely with the introvert/extrovert notion mentioned above.
This year the Fourth of July came and went at our home just like any other day. To my chagrin, no one was invited to come and celebrate with us. My disappointment was acerbated by the fact that we live on a lake and the day was picture perfect for entertaining and that our traditional “away from home” Fourth plans were canceled. Being more extroverted than some others in my family I tried to coax them into inviting others over. A flat out “no” is what I received…even going somewhere else to celebrate entertained a flat response. So, we sat at home, played some board games, grilled steaks and did manage to take the boat out to view fireworks on our lake. It was a nice family day for the four of us and maybe that is enough…maybe me wanting something more is just extroverted me wanting something more. Days before the Fourth were days I prayed and struggled with God on this…in one of my jogging stints, I cried and prayed asking for Him to help me get some perspective. I felt He invited me to let go of my agenda and embrace, as much as possible, the joy of what the day would hold…to let go, and let God have it and do what He would with it. As you can see, I had mixed results. I guess I was too focused on what I wanted…
Perhaps the level of stress felt also contributes to how open our home is to others. Maybe the stress in our society has squelched our desire to open the doors to our hearts and homes to others. I’m betting this applies to both extroverts and introverts…stress fosters fear which tends to make us less trusting, less open and more exhausted. Rich, my husband, was laid off a couple of months ago, which has heightened the level of stress around our home substantially. Maybe that put us over the edge on opening our home for the Fourth…I don’t know, but maybe.
I’ve noticed that the introverts I know well manage to engage with others superbly outside their homes. Others may even mistake them for extroverts…but when it comes to their homes and souls, the doors are mostly closed. Their inner lives and homes stay private to all but a very few. When others enter their home and inner life unbidden, it may be that they feel invaded, unsafe, exposed.
I don’t know, and I am mostly speculating here. I do wonder, though, if introverts have a tougher time letting God into their inner lives than extroverts. Of course, introverts are more aware of their inner lives than extroverts, so maybe they’re more aware of what they’re doing by inviting God into their inner spaces. The gift of awareness that introverts hold is pivotal for a rich spiritual life…little spiritual growth happens without it. Extroverts entering the spiritual walk invariably have to become more introverted, have to become more aware of what is going on within their hearts.
What we do with that awareness is what may dictate how open we are with our inner lives and homes. Maybe if God is invited into our life, we’ll find that we have space for one another in our personal lives and homes. Maybe welcoming space for Him inside us manifests itself as welcoming space for others in those inner and outer spaces we call home.