Even so, I have long dreamed of being a homeowner. Of picking out my own paint. Of feeling settled, more permanent. Of knowing neighbors. Finally, at age 30, my dream had come true! I had what I always wanted! (Do you sense foreshadowing?) I owned a precious house in a precious neighborhood with my precious husband! But what has followed has been an immediate sense of being overwhelmed and unsettled. Oh me of little gratitude.
Why the overwhelmed-ness, you may ask? I've asked myself the same and have decided on these three ingredients:
- I don't handle change well. I like routine and comfort. I want to eat the same thing for Christmas breakfast every year, stay at the same place on vacation season after season, go to the same Starbucks every day on my way to work. I love traditions, which I think is a good thing, but on the other side of the coin is someone who is inflexible and unadaptable.
- I don't do "not finished" well. In my StrengthsFinder list, "Achiever" is one of my top five, which mostly means I get a big time thrill from the check in the box. I like things complete, wrapped up with a bow, yesterday.
- I am a perfectionist. When I was in 4th grade, I forgot the words to my solo in the chorus performance. I cried and cried and cried. My parents tried to comfort me by saying that the concert was like a beautiful painting with a small dot in the corner, and no one was going to notice or remember the dot. My immediate response was, "BUT I AM THE DOT." I have little grace available for myself in even the smallest of failures.
Take these three things, stir them together, and what you get is the recipe for being overwhelmed as a new homeowner. I miss my old Target and the market where we used to get dinner several times a week. I miss our gym. I have a to-do list that seems to only grow, never shrink. I sit on the couch and just see projects, projects, and more projects. And I had an all-out meltdown when my backsplash did not turn out perfectly.
Yes, a meltdown over a backsplash. Please don't judge me.
But there is a silver lining, and if I will pause just long enough to look for it, it's staring me right in the face. God is using all of this to refine me. He's taking these characteristics that shine a light to my sins and hammering, melting and remolding them away.
He's showing me that life changes; it ebbs and flows, brings life and death, joy and sorrow, and this move is just one of many changes he needs to prepare me for. He's showing me that, at its core, my resistance to change stems from my desire for control, and that He wants nothing more than to teach me that there is only One who is in control of my life on this earth (hint: it's not me).
He's teaching me that life is a process, and that he is working through all of the days of my life until my very last breath. He is doing a good work in me and will be faithful to complete it, but it takes time, and it's not always pretty, and it's definitely not always easy.
He is showing me that I am not perfect, and that I can never be perfect. (And He's reminding me that this is news to no one but myself.) More importantly, though, He's reteaching me the gospel - that He did something so much greater by sending his Son instead to be perfect on my behalf.
So as I journey on, becoming a homeowner, I am praying for a new perspective. I am praying to be changed, to be made into someone who is joyful and grateful, who is present, who laughs at the days to come, who enjoys her lovely home with her sweet husband, who invites friends and neighbors in, even with an empty dining room, mismatched Ikea furniture, and yes, even a crooked backsplash tile.