Downton

Downton Abbey? A post about Downton Abbey? Oh yes, I’m guilty as charged. For I, like the rest of the world, have fallen in love with this British display of pure delight.

There is just something about this wildly popular TV show that strikes a chord with me. Simply put, when I watch Downton, I’m not just drawn into the story line, the characters, and the drama. No, something more happens. Each and every time, my heart is stirred and a longing for tranquility, beauty and romance rises to the surface. Considering the show’s popularity, I’m guessing I’m not alone.

Desire can be tricky, and poses the question of what to do when longings arise. Do I pretend they aren’t important or that they don’t exist? Do I let Downton fill my heart with cheap satisfaction and counterfeit joy? Or do I take my longings to God and let Him fill my heart with His peace, His goodness, His love?

In answer to these questions, this is what God is showing me:

The Tranquility of Downton and the Tranquility of God

The residents of Downton Abbey encounter their share of chaos, but there are also many scenes that present the Aristocratic family enjoying breakfast in bed, leisurely strolls, or a good book on a plush chaise lounge. It is scenes like this that make my heart long for a taste of tranquility.

Tranquility is NOT the word I would use to describe my current phase of life. Maybe someday my picture of tranquility will look a little more like that of Downton, but what if, right now, God is meeting my desire for tranquility in ways just as sweet?

What if tranquility, right now, looks like a walk on a spring afternoon with my girls and a stroller? What if tranquility, right now, looks like an oversized chair, my girls on my lap, and picture books piled high? What if tranquility, right now, looks like my words on paper and the satisfaction of knowing that I’m doing the work I’m called to do?

The Beauty of Downton and the Beauty of God

One thing that makes Downton a joy to watch is the beauty that fills every nook and cranny of the show. The clothes, the rooms of the estate, the scenery of the grounds…each and every aspect of the show cries beauty.

When I look at my surroundings I don’t always see beauty. I see dust on bookshelves and dirty clothes piled high. I see bank accounts running low and an endless stream of ordinary days.

God meets my heart’s longings for beauty each and every day, whenever I’m willing to open my eyes and see. While my surrondings may not be the lavish settings I see displayed in Downton, they are certainly no less beautiful. Even dust bunnies and dirty clothes can take on their own brand of lavish goodness when I view them through eyes that are focused on God and His displays of beauty.

The Romance of Downton and the Romance of God

The famous couples of Downton portray the kind of love stories that stir my heart. Tell me, who wouldn’t love to be called “Darling,” every now and then. How I would love to be pursued, treasured, romanced like that.

I love my husband, and I know he loves me, but sometimes I wonder, does our love story read like the stories of Downton? Has he ever called me, “Darling?” Does he even think of me like that?

My husband will be relieved to know, that he’s off the hook on this one. While it is always wonderful to be romanced by him, and I do long for this sort of attention, there is no other love story like that of my Savior. He pursues me, He treasures me. He looks on me, with love, and calls me, “Darling.”

My sweet friend, Ashley, recently shared the following quote on Facebook. I love this statement because it speaks to what I believe, in one way or another, is the ultimate desire of everyone’s heart.

“As I was cleaning my bathroom and listening to Disney Princess music, I was thinking of how I wish I lived in a fairy tale; awaiting my prince to come sweep me away to a castle. Then I realized…My prince saved my life many years ago, and now I’m awaiting his return. And I get the feeling that the kingdom He will take me to is way more beautiful than the castle I was dreaming of today.”

No matter what stirs our hearts, no matter what our hearts long for, God is the answer. Because what do our hearts ever really long for, but more of God?