Material Comfort: Why Is It Comforting?

Not my mess – lol

What is it about material things that makes us feel comforted?

Two months ago I moved, and for two months the majority of our belongings have been in storage in another state. It was a rough start, but soon, by prayers answered, people started gifting us with what we needed. We had food, clothing, toiletries, an air mattress, and even some kitchen supplies to get us by. But we’ve done more than get by. We’ve been thriving… all with things that weren’t ours.

We were able to get our things from storage this past weekend, and now I have the enormous task of figuring out where to put everything and making our home baby-friendly. That right there takes some mad skill. But now that I have everything, I’ve been finding myself doing a lot of purging. I’ve gone two months without it so do I really need it? On the other side of it though, having our belongings here – hanging pictures, sleeping with the quilt my grandmother made me, wearing my aprons while I cook – gives me a bit of comfort and makes this house feel more like our home. This morning, though, this thought bothers me — Why do I need stuff to make this feel like home?

We say “home is where the heart is” and “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”, so what does it say if the stuff, the stuffing, the filler, makes us feel more home?

If you were to empty your house of everything but the essentials — things to cook with, toilet paper, soap, clothes — would it still feel like your home? It’s a tough question to answer.

When I first moved into this empty house, we had enough clothes to last a week (we had been “moved” for over 2), our plants that would die in storage, a few toys, my current WIP, and a handful of toiletry items. That was it. So, as you can imagine, the house felt extremely empty. But then… an air mattress and sheets showed up at my door. Then some toilet paper, a couch, kitchen supplies (hooray for something more than sandwiches), a dining room set, even a tv and dvd player and a handful of movies for my daughter. You see, I didn’t know when I would be able to get our things from storage, but I hated the thought of buying what I knew I already had, so we were just “making do”. But “making do” for a couple weeks turned into a couple months.

Before our things got here we were surrounded mostly by “new” things, things that were not ours, things that were unfamiliar. Now that our own belongings are here, I initially felt comforted that we now had our things. That thought made me sad. I don’t want my heart and my treasure to be in things. I want my heart and treasure to be in God and in my children and in others that God brings me to serve and love. The things, all of it, will someday fall apart, break, burn up, be given away, be sold… so why do I put my comfort in those things?

But ya know, even when we were only surrounded by unfamiliar things, my heart was happy. Even when I was sharing an air mattress on the floor with my two girls, my heart was happy. When I was sitting on the hard living room floor before we had furniture, my heart was happy. It was happy because I had my girls with me. It was happy because my girls were happy. It was happy because I saw God answering prayers. It was happy because I saw God bringing me people I had prayed for.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.


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