This summer we moved into our dream home.
To be clear, this home is perhaps not what you’d naturally think of when you think ‘dream home’ but you have to understand something: we’d lived in rentals for over 12 years and hopped from city to city, home to home and sometimes even multiple homes in one city so the stability alone is quite the dream.
This home doesn’t have cathedral ceilings or all the fine finishes and there’s no shortage of the lists of things I am dying to change. So, how is this our dream home, you ask? Well, it’s our dream home because it is ours. It was built in 1942, has so many beautiful quirks and nooks and crannies that have yet to be discovered and so many stories surely yet to be told.
We have a backyard that is more than large enough for a trampoline and our future dog. We can finally host all of our friends and family without the fear of encroaching on neighbors and now have the ability to enjoy privacy we haven’t had in years as the house sits on a lot just shy of an acre. Having a home that allowed us to entertain was at the top of my list . Unfortunately, even with all of the aforementioned, I still found myself in a place of discontentment with it all.
As long as I can remember I’ve struggled with seeing the good in things. I can remember being “encouraged” as a young girl to “get my attitude together” or to “shift my sights” more times than I can assign number to or honestly even care to remember. This pit is not new to me but it is one that I am realizing I have a choice in whether I fall into it or, with the help of the Holy Spirit, see my way out of before I’m in too deep.
How is it that when arriving at a place where we’ve only dreamt we could, is it that we still find a way to allow those seeds of ungratefulness and discontentment to be cultivated? Before I knew it, all I could see were the things that I didn’t like and I found myself in an all too familiar place of despair wondering how I ever got there in the first place.
I have a nightly routine in this new place. As I was going through the routine of wiping a few counters down and putting food away I reached into a corner to pick something up that had fallen and caught a whiff of that old 1942 home. It was an obnoxiously displeasing aroma to say the least and it left me feeling a bit disappointed and somewhat empty about not being able to have that home where I’d never have to deal with that type of experience. That was not my story.
I began to think about what it would take to get rid of the occasional odor (that honestly isn’t a problem at all) I went through the process of tearing the house down to the foundations and ripping the walls apart. “We’d surely have to pour new foundation”, I thought, “and get rid of all the old supports and wood. That would, of course, translate to lots of money that we just don’t have and we have so many other renovations on the list.” I quickly realized it was just not realistic.
I felt the gentle tug of the Holy Spirit on my heart as He asked, “ What about the foundations of your heart? What about the walls of your soul? Will you let me tear those down and rebuild them? Will you allow me to remind you and give you new perspectives about this life of yours and this home I’ve given you to live it in?” Whoa.
I was reminded that my ungratefulness was the worst stench to the One who had given us such a beautiful and treasured gift. Instead of sending up an aroma of praise to God, I was sending up a worship I never intended.
The beautiful thing about God is that He wants to help us build new walls and to help us see the reward in our praise. He wants to give us His strength and His words and His thoughts so that we can see the beauty of not only the world around us, but the gifts He so graciously and freely gives us. When the world screams to our hearts that we should want more than we have or that we don’t have a reason to be thankful, He wants His voice to be louder and more clear and, if we’re honest, I think that’s what we want, too.
I don’t think I’ll ever arrive at a place where I walk this out perfectly but I also don’t believe we’re ever meant to. In all of His graciousness and His kindness He is waiting to welcome us into a place where He eternally offers the freedom of a new perspective and where we send up what we can muster knowing that even in the midst of hard times and in the evidence of our humanity, our aromas of praise still pale in comparison to His desire to meet with us. He is there. He is waiting to meet us. For that, I am grateful.
“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” Psalm 141:2