I have been largely absent from social media aside from "liking" a few things here and there. I have drastically slowed down the blogging as well, so for you, my few faithful readers, I apologize. I am teaming with ideas and lacking the time to put things down. A lot of it is because my hands have been busy with different work. The work of selling our home. I have been cleaning, organizing and staging our house to go up for sale this week—tiny person screaming inside my head, "EEEEEEK!"—and it has taken every ounce of energy and then some.
The exhausting thing about selling a house is you have to depersonalize and declutter. You have to give the buyer a blank-ish space to imagine their own lives, and fight the urge to let them peer into yours. I would imagine it is hard to look past the toys strewed around nearly every square inch of floor, the papers piled high on the counter to go through and file, and the small city of clothes piles that exist in various rooms and see your home in the midst of ours. We took down all of our pictures with faces, anything with verses, or names. We took out about 50% of our furniture and had the carpets cleaned. We scrubbed everything from top to bottom. And while we are creating this space for them, we still have to live in our house. We don't eat inside anymore because of the mess it will make. I keep bathroom cleaner, a magic eraser, and a squeegee in the shower now and each day, I smell a little bit like lavender and a lot like Tilex. We exist in an in-between place, now. A place where we sleep and all of our stuff is—whether stashed or on display—and a model home that must remain clean, spotless and untouched by actual LIFE.
The funny thing is that anyone who looks at our house to buy will see three cribs in one room and, in all likelihood, not be able to relate to our lives—but hopefully they will see how spacious that third bedroom is...—but they will skim the surface of what really goes on here.
Buyer (in a British accent for some reason): Hello, what's this?
Realtor (shiney northern lady): Well, this is the third bedroom with a nice spacious closet and plenty of sunshine!
Buyer (shock, awe): They have three children who are still in cribs.
Realtor (trying to move on quickly): Well, gee, they must have their hands full! Have you seen the spacious master bathroom...?
Buyer (still British, with resolve): I don't want to buy a house from these nutters. I'm off for a cuppa.
My job now is to organize and declutter the cabinets of my kitchen, the pantry and the closets. These are the places that we stash our stuff so that no one sees. But now, people may be inclined to open those doors and peer into those nooks and imagine their food on the shelves and their clothes on the hangars. Under the surface is where our real life happens and that is going to be on display.
How many times do we put on the polished appearance, put our best foot forward, and shove all of our crap deep into that back closet of our hearts so that no one sees how broken we really are? We think that somehow, like potential buyers, God and other people will see our mess and walk away. Praise God that he sees the clutter piled high and does not flinch. He sees that dark part of our hearts and yet, does not stop loving us or or even hesitate. Instead, he walks towards us. He pulls out the bin and rolls up his sleeves, and says, "Let's set you free from this junk!".
As the family of God, we need to be like Jesus and not be shocked that people have problems, issues, or crippling baggage. EVERYONE DOES! We need to be in real relationships with people, point them to Jesus, and stop being so troubled when people are not perfectly staged. It's called love.
It is funny when I walk through my house now, it feels familiar but it is a shadow of the home it was before I stripped it of its heart and coziness. It is beautifully put together and the rooms feel clean and spacious, but it is kind of sad too. I don't want to live my life as a spiffed up, cleared down, depersonalized version of myself and I don't think that is what God has called me to either.
So we need to bust open the doors, be vulnerable, dig a little deeper, all those things that sometimes cause us grief, but when we delve below the surface of the picture perfect life, there is more healing, freedom and friendship that can be found.
I want to encourage you to find one person to reach out to today. Ask them where they need healing, ask them a real question. Answer a real question. Show God and others who you really are and be OK with the beautiful mess.