My wife and I are both introverts. This means we can only handle people in small doses. Too much time around others, and we begin to shut down. Eye contact becomes painful. Forcing a smile starts to feel like bench-pressing two times our weight.
So after the end of a long week, mine spent wrangling college students, her’s spent constantly entertaining a high-energy and extroverted two-year old, we prefer to just veg out.
Redbox. Takeout. The couch and a blanket.
Once in a while, the veg out route is okay. Beneficial, even.
But it cannot become the norm. If it does, some very negative results are sure to come about.
For one, you will become lonely. It seems odd, at first, to think that such an enjoyable experience as consuming burritos in front of Netflix can actually lead to loneliness and isolation. Especially when we do this activity with a spouse, or our best friend.
But it’s the truth. When we use all of our down time doing inward-focused activities, whether reading books, watching movies, knitting, hanging with cats, dominating solitaire, or playing video games, the result will be increased distance from others. These inward-focused activities build zero relational bridges.
Sure, they’re low risk. You certainly won’t be turned down or rejected by anyone. And it doesn’t take much energy to cue up another film.
But they’re also low reward. You don’t get to know anyone better. You don’t laugh with friends. You don’t make memories. You don’t build a support network for the times when life gets hard.
Not only that, but if you are a follower of Christ, you also produce no ministry.
Consider what Paul writes at the end of his first letter to the Corinthians:
Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. (1 Corinthians 16:19)
Did you notice that bit about “the church that meets at their house”.
Just to be clear, Aquilla and Priscilla were not paid pastors overseeing an ornate building with a little apartment tacked on the side. They were just a couple who loved Jesus, with a regular house in a regular neighborhood.
And the church met there.
We often like to say that our home is our sanctuary. But this passage gives new meaning to this phrase. Our version of the phrase means: we keep others out. Their version of the phrase means: they welcome others in. This is quite a contrast in how we approach our homes.
We can see our home as a personal sanctuary where our preferences reign; or we can see our home as God’s sanctuary where his preferences reign.
This second approach raises some challenging questions:
Who does God want in your home? What does God want conversation around the dinner table to look like? What schedule does God want your family to follow?
At first, especially if you’re an introvert like me, these questions feel threatening.
But if we consider the results that would occur if we saw our homes as God’s sanctuary—wow, how could we not offer our homes to his service?
- Your home can be a place where the word of God is taught.
- Your home can be a place where holy moments occur.
- Your home can be a place where lasting connections are made.
- Your home can be a place where hurting people are loved.
So lets reclaim the phrase, “My home is my sanctuary”.
May your home never be a place where isolation is furthered, or loneliness is fostered. Instead, may it be a place where the beauty of Christ is displayed, and the Kingdom of God is advanced.
May your home be a place where the church meets often. And may your neighbors take note.