Sunday, August 5, 2012

letting go of your dream house

I love how God takes you to places you would never imagine.

Three years ago, we lived in a new 4 bedroom, 1500 square foot home with four kiddos. We loved the 4 bedrooms, but I often thought about my dream house.  I imagined it would have lots of character. I dreamed of having a big kitchen, a living room with enough places to sit, a farmhouse table, a fun office/schoolroom, a peaceful white bedroom, and a sewing room, and a family closet/pantry. And pecan trees. Oh, and a big front porch.

That's not so much to ask for, right? :D

My itty bitty living room was crowded and often got messy really fast with little ones running around.

Two years ago, we felt God leading us to sell our little house there and go a different direction.

We thought we were going to rent a smaller place than our current home {funny, huh?} and save money for a house someday or maybe eventually go somewhere to be missionaries. We didn't know for sure, but we didn't feel that we were supposed to be tied down to a big mortgage on a small new house.

So, in true God-of-the-universe fashion, He turned our plans upside down, and in less than four weeks we sold our home and did the very last thing we'd expect at that time: we bought another home.

God totally dropped this house in our lap.

It was nearly half the price of the home we sold, so we could pay it off much faster.

It had a huge kitchen, living room, tons of bedrooms, a sewing room, a family closet pantry, a huge front porch, and pecan trees. Five pecan trees.

our home

We were just seeking to do whatever He wanted us to do, and He gave us the perfect house. It came with a purpose that was very clear, but for weeks after we closed I cried every time I thought about it. I am so amazed that God gave me the EXACT home that I had dreamed of- with a better layout than I had even drawn out!

He had it built to my specifications 117 years ago. {or He put my dreams into place, either way it blows my mind.} And He gave it to us at the price we could afford.

Who is this God that He cares so much for me?

It's incredible, and it still brings me to tears.

But even more than that I cry today because His ways are unsearchable, and the depth of His wisdom is so much more than I could ever imagine.

He has extended a kindness to me that I don't deserve in any way.

I'm beyond blessed to have been given this home that basically fulfilled my every dream.

But even more than that, He has so mercifully blessed me by opening my eyes to see the myth of the dream home.

Oh, I can't praise Him enough. It's only by His great kindness that He has shown me that having your dream home here on earth isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I believe that the dream home is actually very much a trap.

You see, for me, having 3500 square feet of home is definitely useful when you have lots of kiddos. But what your daydreams {or Satan} won't tell you is that the more space you have, the more of your life and energy you will spend keeping it up.

It's pretty much a fact.

The bigger {and better} your home, sweet friends, the more time and energy you will give to maintain it. In one way or another.

We acquire, we decorate, we clean, we organize, we declutter, we remodel, we repair, we redo, and then rinse and repeat.

It's completely normal for us in this day and age, but it's so, so dangerous for our hearts in eternity.

Here's the thing- it's good and right to maintain our homes, to love our families, to make them comfortable, to make the place we live a place of joy and usefulness. But it so easily can take our attention off what is most important: living for Jesus.

And the bigger home and the more stuff we have, the harder it is to keep our eyes on what really matters.

Loving God and loving people.

I love to decorate. I truly believe that God gave me the desire to style and design and He put joy in my heart to put things together that are pretty.

But here's the deal: the bigger the house, the more space there is to fill, the more stuff to buy to make it look just right, and the more money to spend on fabric for curtains and headboards and dining tables, and it goes on and on and on, ad nauseum.

Your life can so, so quickly get taken by acquiring, consuming, and maintaining.

And for followers of Jesus, this is so dangerous. It's hard to not be consumed by the cares of this world.

In Mark 4, Jesus tells this parable about the seed and the soil:
1Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3“Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

So Jesus tells them this parable, and the disciples are like, can you please explain what that means?

13And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word.15And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy.17And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.a 18And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

It's this part that I want you to catch in verse 19: the thorns are dangerous for us. They can keep us from bearing the fruit we are supposed to bear.

As women, I believe we are more susceptible to longing for nice things and houses, and getting caught up in the cares of this world.

You see, behind the dream home, there are tons of the cares of this world.

The dream home is elusive. It comes with weight, and responsibility, and sucks your time and energy by the square foot. 

I don't think having a big home is wrong. Not at all. And I can't say having nice things is wrong either. It's not! God gives all good things. It's not about the things.

It's just that it is so much harder to focus on God when you are distracted by the cares of more, more, and more stuff.

That's why it is so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven.

It's our hearts. It's where our thoughts lie. It's about where our treasure is.

But how do we know if our treasure is in something?

The test taught in that parable of Scripture above is this: how willing are you to give it up?

When you think of this question, do you have anxiety in your chest when you think of selling or giving away certain things {or positions}? What could you leave behind? What could you not?

Three years I had this dream of a home. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought it would make life easier or better. And while it's a good thing to have extra room and storage and furniture to sit on, it can really be a huge distraction for me, and it takes God to keep my eyes on what is important. It's not what I expected to come with the dream home.

I can paint and change things, and buy and sell furniture, but it's important that I keep my mind set on God, and what He wants for me, not on the things I have or don't have in my house.

How much heart time am I giving these things? Houses, paint, furniture, much energy am I giving to things that won't matter in eternity?

This home is great and all, but do I want it to keep me from the best home?

If my heart serves stuff, it cannot serve Jesus. No man {or woman} can serve two masters.

Even if you have a small home, your heart can be set on it. It doesn't take a big house to distract you.

It could be a car, or a high-paying job, or a boat, or a vacation. Riches are deceitful. They look so good from the outside, but when you get them, it's so hard to not get all tangled up.

It's the cares of the world. They are a trap- they threaten to keep you from bearing the fruit of Christ.

Sometimes God gives you awesome things. Things aren't bad- but don't desire them. Give them their place. If you have nice things, don't set your hope on the uncertainty of riches. Don't give things the priority in your heart.

This is such a hard thing in our culture, but God can do it.

I still struggle with how much I should care about my home, and how much money I should or shouldn't spend, but God reminds me so often that it's about my heart, and I talk to my husband about what we should or shouldn't buy or invest in to change our home, and he helps me decide.

Sometimes my purchases and house things are wise investments that bring us a return and sometimes I mess up and waste money, and God shows me that too, and He gives me grace.

I just really want to urge you- if you have a small home, don't hate it. I've been there and I remember it's hard. But it's a gift. Truly. 

Small frees you.

If you live in an apartment- you have almost zero home care right now. That is a gift- you don't have a yard to mow, plumbing to fix, or flooring to replace. Enjoy that.

You leave and could go somewhere in one month. That is a precious time in your life.

The more you have, the more tied down you get.

Don't long for the dream home. I promise it comes with it's own price.

Wherever you are, be content with what you have. It's a lesson that's incredibly hard {and one that I'm still learning every day!}, but it's so possible with God.

How do you do it? You set your eyes on Jesus, and you ask Him to free your heart from the thorns. And then you keep asking Him. And He will deliver you from the thorns. Ask Him to keep your heart from seeking the thorn bush of riches.

He loves His children, and He wants your heart. He did it for me, and I never ever expected it to happen in that way. I didn't even realize I was setting my hope on some silly big house. And I still have to rely on Him constantly to keep my eyes off this stuff and on Him. And He is so good.

You see, God wants to give you your dream home too. In eternity.

Let's pray that we keep our eyes on the real dream home that comes without cost or burden. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment