I’m a homebody. Although I was a go-go-go person when I was college-aged and just out of college, I’m most happy now when I am at home. I do need to get out from time to time and once in awhile I even get in the mood to go to the mall.
But for the most part, I love hearth and home and am most content at home.
The Tyranny of Change
I am also not particularly fond of change, especially change over which I feel I have no control. It is one thing for me to decide to change the living room window treatments. It is something completely different when Meijer rearranges the entire store.
I find myself resenting changes like this because it means I have to expend extra energy (especially mental energy) just to complete routine aspects of my life. Learning all the new places for the products I buy is not time well spent, in my humble opinion. The energy I have to expend doing this is energy I don’t have to spend on something else MUCH more important.
Prolific Writers Who Loved the Quiet of Home
So on both counts I have a problem because I live in a culture that doesn’t exactly support this homebody, anti-change disposition I have. But I discovered over the last week or so that I’m actually in some pretty good company.
While doing some reading in different books I found the following.
“We who live in the quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts and live our own lives in a way that is not possible for those who are keeping up with the crowd.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Missouri Ruralist, 1919
“I don’t like change very much. I am not always moving the furniture around. I don’t want any “bright new taste surprises” for breakfast. I want the sofa where it was yesterday and the black coffee just the way I always make it.
It was reassuring for me to learn that C. S. Lewis also liked monotony and routine. Urged time and time again to journey abroad to lecture, he stayed home and smoked his pipe and lectured where he felt he belonged. He also wrote wonderful things and remained content with familiar surroundings, able to draw on deep inner resources.
We need not be always seeking something different, something other, out of mere restlessness. There are enough changes we cannot stop, which are of the essence of this life and are meant to be. They are meant to drive us to God.”
Faith That Does Not Falter: Selections from the writings of Elisabeth Elliot
I found it comforting to discover that I was in the company of Laura Ingalls Wilder, C. S. Lewis, and Elisabeth Elliot in some of my inclinations.
As a writer, I also found it interesting that these prolific writers who have had such an impact on so many lives were folks who preferred the quietness of home to the chasing of the crowd.
The Multiple Costs of Change
David and I have been renovating our house for the past four and a half years. With the exception of a few breaks here and there, there has been something always going on in the house. If we weren’t actually working on a renovation, I had to LOOK at it in its unrenovated state each day which was also draining in its own way. Although I am generally pleased with the outcome of our labors, I now realize how much time and energy all of these changes have cost us.
The costs were not just the money, time and physical energy we had to put into it (which were significant at times). The costs also included the mental, physical, and emotional energy we didn’t have to devote to other pursuits. Being emotionally and physically drained from having your kitchen or bathroom or master bedroom torn up for weeks on end does not generally put you in the frame of mind to compose great passages of prose.
So while we have a lovely house to enjoy now, the trade off was a lot of articles that were never written, a lot of coffee breaks with friends that never happened, and a lot of reading that piled up.
Working in the Quiet of Home
A few years ago when I still worked for an employer, I decided that I needed to get “out” more. So I asked for a cubicle so I could work at the office and feel a more integral part of the company. (Before that, I was allowed to work from home.)
I know, I know. What was I thinking?
In the few short weeks it lasted I thought I would go mad! How can anyone get anything done with all of the distractions? People coming and going around you, phone conversations, music, jokes, paging, etc. I am not exaggerating when I use the term “mad.” It about drove me nuts! I couldn’t think clearly. Forget thinking clearly. I couldn’t even hear myself think at all! I quickly realized how good I had it before and made arrangements to head home for work. And I’ve never left since.
And so out of these experiences I have learned that in order to be a productive user of the gifts and talents entrusted to me by God, I have to learn to say no to all the other “stuff” demanded of me by those around me. I have to guard the precious talents that God has given me, cultivate them, and make them multiply for my good and His glory.
So I have accepted that I am just one of those quiet, need-to-be-at-home types. Like all good introverts, I need time with my own thoughts every day. And as a writer who desires to be used by God on a regular basis, I know I need to stay home, sip my coffee, and continue tapping away on my laptop rather than chasing the crowd. Most of the time the crowd is going nowhere fast anyway, and I much rather aspire to be led beside the quiet waters by my gentle Shepherd.