It makes no sense to keep my house. With only two small bedrooms, it isn’t even almost big enough for my new husband and me, along with our three children.
But I want it.
I want my roomy kitchen where I make pies for my monkey, with its pans and dishes and kitcheny-things. I relish the organizational plan that makes food preparation and entertaining go so smoothly.
I want my paradoxically small house that expands to fill with friends and love when the occasion calls for it.
I want my garden, with its accumulation of compliments, that I have diligently worked on.
Well, that I try to work on. It is difficult to work on any of it now that I know it’s not really mine, that it will be someone else’s before too long.
Weeding the garden, painting the house trim, decluttering the closets – they’re things I want to do, that I enjoy doing, but that lately I can’t seem to motivate myself to do. Every raked leaf, every brush stroke is a reminder that this is not mine much longer.
I want my stuff. It’s not that I don’t understand why it must go. Or that I don’t want anyone else to have it. I just want it.
It feels like a part of me, this house I’ve lived in for 9 years. The yard that I painstakingly turned from a pit of ivy and blackberries into a beautiful garden.
Am I still going to be me if I don’t have my house, my garden, my things? There will be plenty of house projects to work on – and an even lovelier and larger garden – at the new house. But will I still be me if I’m working on someone else’s house, weeding in someone else’s garden?
I know I’m being childish. Some days I could out-toddler a two-year-old.
I remind myself that I can live without my house, my garden, my belongings. I note that none of this is truly mine, that it is God’s and that I am just the caretaker. I admonish myself that getting this teary-eyed over belongings and – seriously – the kitchen’s “flow” (what is that!?), means that I like my things too much, that they have become my idols.
I wish I could tell you I put those foolish things behind me when I came to that realization. But I am a work-in-progress. Every day I try to focus on the things above, and sometimes I succeed for a while. But it isn’t easy.
Giving up our idols instead of giving in to them takes work. Especially when there is a peri-menopausal toddler living inside you.
But I pray for God’s strength. And in those strong moments, I realize that perhaps this is His plan in keeping me here temporarily.
That I need to willingly give up my belongings before I can move on.
That I need to caretake this house – that soon won’t be mine – graciously, lovingly, and for Him.
That I need to learn that my identity is not in this house, this yard, these things, but in Him.