This morning as I was on my run I came across a house that is for sale. It is a large, Spanish style house on a good sized piece of land overlooking one of the many lakes in our area. It is definitely in need of some TLC. It calls out to the DIY fanatic within me. I can’t pass it without imagining what it looks like on the inside and wondering how many Pinterest boards I would need to transform it into my dream home. As these thoughts started to creep in I felt the familiar tightening in my chest, the tugging at my heart, and the increase in heart rate that signals a worried train of thought that could really ruin the rest of my day. When it comes to anxiety, home-ownership is one of my triggers. I imagine that for all of us our homes factor into our identity much more than we realize. When it’s gone it feels like a part of our self is missing, almost as if a person is gone. Home gives us a sense of stability. It makes us feel rooted. It also is a huge responsibility, and it can lead to much worry as we deal with the cost of repairs and maintenance. It cuts both ways. Still, it is an important part of the human experience. Just look at the Israelites! The entire Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Bible) is about God choosing a people, giving them an identity as His chosen nation, and leading them to a land of their own. The people, the promise, the land, and the revelation of God’s perfect character go hand in hand. It is a God-given desire to find “home,” but the enemy can use it as a device for causing fear and distrust so that we wander away from the shadow of God’s wings.
Right now my family is renting a house, but I know that in this area it is financially better to own, which means we will need to become homeowners again most likely within the next year. That terrifies me. And even though God provided a way for us to to sell our first home, which we were sure we were going to take a loss on just to get it off our hands (we didn’t, though because God is AMAZING), I still worry over the prospect of wearing the shackles of home-ownership once again. I worry about money. I worry about the timing. I worry about the children’s school. I worry about the cost of maintenance as opposed to the cost of renting. I worry…and this is where the downward spiral into an anxiety ridden afternoon begins: with a simple “For Sale” sign. Maybe it has something to do with the house, too. I look at it and think, “We’ll never have a house like that.” Perhaps I see it as a reminder of the possibility that I may never have my “dream home.” I may never get to live in a great big house with a great big yard and a beautiful view of a lake. I may never have reclaimed wood floors. I may never have a home filled with architectural salvage that gives it the kind of character that I love. As a woman living in Eve’s shadow, struggling with my own futile efforts to re-create Eden with my fallen hands in a fallen world, maybe the house stands as a symbol of my “Eden” might never be. These thoughts are far more upsetting than I know they should be. The fact is that any Eden I could imagine would be broken from the very beginning! Nothing I could contrive could possibly match the perfection of God’s will.
So, this morning when I passed this house and had these thoughts I knew I had to turn the future over to God. I have to live for right now. For today. One fallen day at a time. Spending my time worrying about a future I can’t control will only make me squander all of the beauty around me. I will waste the joy of resting in God’s provision, and I’ll miss out on the beautiful gift of today. This morning, in that moment I looked up at the beautiful clouds on a gorgeous day and I said out loud, “His will in His time.” It was a reminder. It was a prayer. It was a request that God through his Holy Spirit would keep me grounded in the here and now. It is my new mantra for this new season. If you know me you know that I have little mantras that go along with different experiences and stages of my life. These words or phrases help me to focus on God and His priorities. When anxiety is high, when I begin to look right and left at the world around me, these mantras serve as reminders of what God has taught me and how embracing His will and His way leads to joy and peace. In the last year my entire life has changed. This both amazes and unsettles me. God in His providence has shown me how little control I have over my life, over my future, and over the circumstances surrounding me. All I can do is release these cares and worries, my hopes for the future, my fears, even my worldliest desires to Him and ask him to change my heart, to focus my gaze upon him, and to make His priorities my priorities. The truth is that the dream home I imagine won’t make me happy, and I may make myself miserable trying to get it AND trying to maintain it. The Lord knows my needs and in His mercy He helps me to understand them and to distinguish them from my worldly wants. I may never have the big house with the fancy floors and a gorgeous view, but there is no doubt in my mind that I will have everything I need. God is good and His love endures forever. So I will trust in His will and I will wait for it to come to pass in His time.
I hope that this encourages you. And, I invite you to adopt this mantra with me. Let’s commit to seeking His Kingdom first, and let the Lord take care of adding “all these things” if He wills it. I also invite you to download my free “His Will in His Time” color page and hang it up where you’ll see it and be reminded that there is no need to worry! We’re trusting in God’s will and His timing! Be blessed!