I think most of us have some hangups around this thing called "home," and Christians, especially. And yet, it's this very idea that shapes so much of who we are and what we are able to do for God in this world.
Home is the place where you're most comfortable. It's a box, sure, a place with walls around it, but here, you feel like you can stretch out a little bit and be wholly yourself. Home is the place where you start to define yourself, to discover who you really are. And home is a safe place, not just for exploration, but for rest. It's the place you always come back to. It feels completely safe.
But there are two dangers about home that we have to be aware of.
The first is that we become so wrapped up in the idea of home that we become uncomfortable anywhere else. This wraps us in fear and anxiety at best, and in a sense of deep betrayal at worst. Our fear and anxiety stems from wondering about uncomfortable places, questioning whether we can be in another place what we so naturally are at home. Or perhaps, stemming from experiences in this broken world, our fear and anxiety stems from wondering if there's a place called home at all. We wonder if, should we step out in faith, home will be there to receive us back when we return. We can become insecure about home.
Or we can become too secure about home and then we feel this deep sense of betrayal if we happen to be comfortable anywhere else. It's like the kid who goes away to summer camp and has an amazing time, but is afraid to tell his parents how much he loved it because he doesn't want them to think he doesn't love home. Sometimes, we get a chance to go out into the world on a grand adventure, and when we come home, we downplay it. Because heaven forbid there be more than one place for us in this world.
And it's not just about this world. There are many among us who struggle with this world at all because, as has become the Christian buzz phrase, they've made their home in heaven. So they are perpetually uncomfortable here. They refuse to find a place to nest in this world. They can't imagine being happy or comfortable or content on this earth at all and spend their entire lives wrapped in restlessness because somehow, it feels like a betrayal of heaven to embrace earth.
The exact opposite is true, too, by the way, and that's the second danger of home: we can become so confident and comfortable with a place called home that we end up taking it for granted and never visiting.
Here, we get a little too comfortable on our adventures. We get a little too comfortable out on the road. We almost become more comfortable traveling than staying put, and we spend our lives in perpetual motion, never finding a place to rest or stretch our legs. The problem here is that for awhile, maybe, we hold home with a certain fondness in our heart, but over time, that fondness dims, and by the time we come home again, we hardly recognize the place. And it seems...rather blah.
Did you know there are persons in this world who are so comfortable here that they can't imagine heaven being any better?
So we have to be careful about what we think about home. Our idea of home can shackle us in fear and anxiety and betrayal, or it can cause us to lose ourselves in fleeting fancy. Neither is what home was meant to be.
Home is the place where you stretch out a little bit and discover who you are. It's the place where you come to rest and refresh. It's the place you know is always waiting for you, so you're willing to risk those few bold steps in a new direction. As long, of course, as you always come back.
The only question left, then, is: what is home? What is your home?