Leah Richardson’s Interior Wisdom Interview Part 3
Yolanda: You also in Interior Wisdom give us behind the scenes view of the beginning to end process of designing. Whether it be with a full team, architect, client, craftsman and various contractors or a team of one wearing many hats. And you’ve described the joy of working with like-minded godly professionals on the construction site. And along with that, the fruits and challenges of managing a site where everyone isn’t so like-minded. I particularly enjoyed your way of being salt and light on a jobsite using just a sharpie pen. Can you give us tips on being salt and light in the design field and practicing our ministry of reconciliation of among professionals with diverse worldviews?
Leah Richardson: Okay, I do love a Sharpie. For obvious reasons I love to wield it like a sword.
One of the things you are referring to is once the studs are put up into the house I love writing scripture on them, because I just think, to me, it is part of the foundation. I love the book of Isaiah. It says as the rain falls and waters the ground causing it to flourish and grow, God’s word never returns void but accomplishes what He sends forth for it accomplish. I will never know who has read that scripture on that job site. Maybe that burly construction worker. You never know how God might grab his heart. Part of that is just being obedient. Being salt and light, I think that is our greatest ministry. I don’t care who you are or what you do, our greatest ministry is to live out what we believe. It is a radically thought nowadays, because we do live in a diverse society.
A lot of people keep their voice to themselves. Like maybe I just shouldn’t say anything, but maybe, if we can be okay with really living out what we believe, we’ll see that people watch us. They listen to us. If we’ll stop judging and speak truth in love, we will be loving and compassionate like Jesus. I love it when the disciples asked Jesus who sinned? The man or the parent? This was when they met the man on the street who was blind. Jesus said neither one. You know, we’re to look with Jesus’ eyes everywhere we go. Whether it is at work or in the grocery store, and then have the compassion and love of Christ. Let that be what flows you know from our mouth, because out of the overflow of the mouth, the heart speaks. So it flows from our hearts first.
Our lives should look different from the world. I have found that people even of different faiths and worldviews, they don’t attack me. They don’t criticize. If I treat them the way that I want to be treated and I’m loving and I’m kind and I allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to flow from my life. Then I can walk through this life with that supernatural light emanating from me. Salting the earth in a supernatural way, just because God is in me. I may not even have to say a word.
Yolanda: Wow. Wow. That is great. How are you developed and strengthened relationships with fellow-believing professionals with the inevitable ups and downs and mismatched expectations that come with a project? I know that it’s a pretty practical question. I know that one of the greatest testimonies that we give is how we treat each other. Other believers. I also know that the construction site and the whole process of designing and all of that bring its own particular challenges. Do you have and words of wisdom regarding that?
Leah Richardson: Well yes, it is hard. You are absolutely right. And the delays… things going wrong…it is just the nature of the beast when you are building a home. When you are designing and redesigning and renovating. It is about being prepared. Preparing your clients and preparing yourself for those inevitable ups and downs and delay is very important. I again will hearken back to scripture Philippians 2:3. It says “Do nothing out of selfishness or vain conceit. But in humility” which can be hard for all of us, “consider the other person more important than yourself.” I try to be positive. I try to be kind. I try to watch my tongue and think before I respond. Respond instead of reacting. Before I allowed God to take over my life and my tongue I would react. I am learning to take a deep breath, step back, shoot up a little 911 prayer, then open my mouth.
Leah Richardson: This is the better way to work through challenges on the job. Pointing my finger usually does no good, but I do try to accept responsibility when the blame is mine. And be accountable if I’ve made a mistake. Again it is living out what we believe. You know forgiveness. Just forgiving others. The painter who didn’t check the specifications of what the finish of the paint should be. He painted it eggshell and it was supposed to be flat. The tile guy didn’t check the color of the grout. And figuring out a way how we can move forward, how I can forgive, and how can I make my client happy.
It is truly a challenge, but one way we can all be prepared for these challenges is spend time alone with God. And I call it a “quiet time”, because it quiets everything that the world wants to cave-in on me and scream at me, and tell me the many mistakes I have made… blah blah blah. All of those things that the world tries to throw at us. Again, I encourage you whether you are an interior designer or not, face your day first by filling up with God, being alone with God. And then you will be amazed, and can trust, what comes out of your mouth.
Yolanda: Trust what comes out of your mouth. That is good. Because you spent that time in the word it affects what you say and like my mom always says, “It is not what you say so much as it is how you say it.” That is what it is all about.
Leah Richardson: And that comes from our heart. Right?
Leah Richardson: Because if we’re critical, judgmental, thinking “I am better than you, how in the world can you have made that mistake?” That comes from our heart. We could be telling them how to make pancakes, but if it comes with that kind of tone, with that kind of attitude, nobody is going to listen to us. And we’ve nullified, we’ve really kind of voided our ministry. We have blown it which I do sometimes. So I get on my knees at the end of the day and say Lord, you know I just blew it! I blew it right here. Please forgive and restore. It is so nice to know that He forgives us.
If we’ll forgive others, others will forgive us. It goes full circle. And we can get up and go to the next thing. We can say, you know what, I blew it. I am so sorry. Forgive me. There is no excuse. Forgive me. Let’s see how we can move forward. And they will be safe with that too.
Yolanda: My husband and I are like small mom and pop show. I am listening to your words and even how I interact with him. You know we’re husband and wife but we’re also professionals working together, with all the inevitable ups and downs of projects. So thank you for those words, it has been a real challenge to me. I am a morning person, but I need to be more consistent in having those morning quiet times, because there is something about the morning that just sets the tone for the rest of my day.
Leah Richardson: Absolutely, you couldn’t have said it better. That is absolutely right.