The last time we moved we “staged” our home. We showed a Pottery Barn catalog to our kids and explained that we needed to keep our house looking like we lived in that catalog. {Be careful with kids: Later, we found out one of our children told people we were moving to a barn!}

The reason staging works so well is that it sells an illusion. Our very first realtor told us, “People want to buy the illusion of peace. They need to believe there will be enough storage space and room to relax that their life-clutter cannot follow them here.” The implication is that they can leave their internal angst in the old home with the tiny kitchen and inadequate storage.

But you can’t live there. It really is an illusion.

Kids don’t play more kindly in a welcoming and tidy playroom; selfishness still gets strewn about the room like toys littering the floor. When the Order-idol rules, little hearts break under the weight of a mama’s misdirected anger. Marriages collapse like building blocks in the hands of a toddler when “control” is our goal.

We must admit the temptation to live a staged life is real, but there are hidden losses tucked behind closed doors when we stage our lives.

The Hidden Losses of Staging Our LivesDon’t get me wrong! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the benefits of living in an orderly home. It is helpful to be able to find your keys when you are ready to leave. A good schedule is a wonderful tool to make sure you are doing what is truly important. A home that is tidy and inviting pushes back the chaos of the harried world just outside the door. It invites peace – and Jesus is the Prince of Peace!

But we need to be careful to seek true peace and not settle for traces of it. When we prize the replica of peace in our homes we often sacrifice the reality of peace in our hearts. All too often, a tidy home disguises a troubled heart.

Now we know God is a God of order. God established order. Order is intrinsic to his very character. Order is revealed in his image in humanity – we mimic order in life, science, government, relationships, business models…. There is no avenue down which man has trod where order has not come into play. BUT, while God is a God of order, order should not be our god.

After all, the God of order is also the God of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Do we strive for gentleness with as much passion as we pursue a clutter-free counter top?

I mean, really, what amount of order reveals God’s character if I have destroyed a child with harsh words to obtain it? What amount of peace do I really achieve if everything is in its place except my heart? At some point I need to grasp that the God of order has an answer for my internal angst which external organization can never achieve.

Hidden Losses of Staging Life

This is an ongoing struggle for me. And I’d guess it’s a struggle for many of you, too. If we are going to overcome the temptations of staging our lives, we recognize the choices amidst the mundane.

Moment by moment, we must decide, will we turn to my Savior or some semblance of structure to find peace? Will we settle for peace in our surroundings over a peace that surrounds us? Will we rest in the benefits of an orderly home or the benevolence of an orderly God? Will we seek peace through routine or repentance?

How we answer these questions has implications for our kids, too. Do our lives point them to Christ or control for salvation? Are our well-ordered homes a new form of legalism? Do we promise peace through discipline rather than discipleship?