Wherever you live, I want you to consider how you use your space. No matter what the space - dorm room, condo, apartment, house, rented or owned - you can leverage it for sacred use. Jesus gives us a great commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:30,31). How do you use your living space to love God and love your neighbor? Here are some suggestions.
A Haven: We all need a space to rest in. Our living space helps us with "sabbath," when we cease from the craziness of all our work and just rest. It could be a certain room, a backyard, or a particular time of the day in your house. It might simply be a recliner in the corner, or a bean bag chair in the dorm room. Is your home a haven? What would make it more restful? Furniture? Lighting? Air freshener?
A Community Center: A community center is a place of activity for the benefit of neighbors. How does your home space bless and benefit your neighbors - next door neighbors, friends, family, church, or co-workers? Do you have space for people to come over? If so, is it clean, inviting, and accessible? How does the arrangement of your space facilitate conversation? Meals? Games?
A Sanctuary: A sanctuary is more than just a haven for rest (see above). It is a space that houses an encounter with God's word. Do you have a corner in your living space that's good for prayer? Devotions? For quiet reading of Scripture? If you live with a family, is there space that's designated for family worship and devotions? Is there furniture or art that would help indicate that your home is sacred space?
A Work Place: Every home, from the dorm room to the large house, is a place of work. There are chores, projects, homework, etc. that happens at your house. If you work from home, is your work space designated and different from your haven or your sanctuary? Is there designated time for work and time for play?
A School: A home is a place of learning. Especially if you live with a family, your house serves as a little school. It's not only a place for homework, but every aspect is a place to teach. How to cook, how to do yard work, how to do laundry, how to make a bed. These are the venues to teach deeper lessons - work ethic, personal care, respect, teamwork, responsibility, service to others. In fact, the house is more of a school than a child's actual school because parents are a child's primary teacher. In addition to the every-day aspects of life, your home can be a place to do formal teaching in the faith - memorize Bible verses, read the Bible together, pray together, sing together.
No residence is perfect. Some are even toxic and unhealthy. If your current living space is far from good, I pray for peace. Maybe it's time to look for new space. Regardless of what kind of space we live in, or with whom, may we all say, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15). Feel free to contribute other ideas.
Related Scripture: (Ps. 127:1; Prov. 24:3; Matt. 7:24; Heb. 13:2; I Pet. 4:9)