A Life Renovation
Decisions, decisions. Our lives are the result of constant decision making, so what governs you?
Over the past 5 years specifically, it seems that both of these have had a hand in governing me. As a result I have taken a sledge hammer to my life, demolishing everything that seemed like a solid foundation; the concrete walls, the strong roof, the solid exterior—it’s all gone. The renovation of my life has come and it has definitely uncovered much more than I expected.
When you’re getting ready to deconstruct something it can be exhilarating or daunting. Very rarely is it emotionless. I am at the start of a deconstruction, whose end is not in sight, and I am settled in that. So let’s talk about what that has looked like for me.
Metaphorically speaking, my house (my life) was built. I was ready to furnish the inside, pick out the beautiful decor, sit back and enjoy the fruit of my 26 years of labor. My furnishings included a few kids, a great job where I made enough to live generously, a rock star marriage, and an amazing community. A noble desire it was.
When the tools arrived on my front porch, I brought them inside, set them aside, and didn’t think much of them. Then, little by the little, the tools began to be used. A hammer to the wall here, a door off the hinge there, a broken appliance, a water leak, and before I knew it, I was living in a house I didn’t even recognize. Cracked, broken, dirty, and unlivable. But where was I supposed to go? I LIVED IN THIS HOUSE. As far as I knew, I loved this house. And it was everything I wanted, until it wasn’t.
Over time, the residence of my soul needed to be gutted. These beliefs that I held onto dearly were not proving themselves to be true. Not because they weren’t—rather, because I wasn’t. They were truth because they had been told to me, not because I had experienced them. So began the gutting… And here’s a few of those truths:
Just have faith and it will happen.
Give your money here, and you’ll benefit there.
Marriage is great. Hahahaha. (This one makes me laugh.)
Stay with me, here, I am not being cynical. Remember, some of my foundation was built on these truths. And they were truth because “I said so,” and I needed them to be truth because “I experienced so."
“Just have faith and it will happen,” is easier said than done. I feel like faith gets a bad rep in religious circles. It’s easy to tell someone to have faith when they need encouragement and you don’t know what else to say. But coming from a girl who has sat at the base of a mountain that seems impossible to scale for 10 years, please don’t tell me to have faith, because it implies that I don’t. Instead, tell me that I am strong enough. Tell me that no matter what, this doesn’t define me. Tell me that it neither adds or subtracts from my value. Tell me those things, or stay silent. Experientially, here is why this is a truth to me now: Because having faith is not about scaling the mountain. Whether I sit at the base or make it to the peak, my satisfaction is stable.
(Side Note: I know money is a touchy subject, so if talking about money makes you uncomfortable you should skip the next paragraph. 🙂 I get it, no big deal!)
I was raised in church and like everything else, especially non-profits, they need our support. I love that. I love supporting good people who are doing good work, including the church. However, the “give your money here and you will benefit there” concept in recent years has been hard for me to accept, if I am just being honest. So here is where I am at experientially: I feel better when I am generous. I know I am not that great on my own, and I am grateful for all the opportunities I have to make money, so giving a portion of that away is in part my way of saying thank you.
Marriage is great! Haha this is a funny one. Let’s start here: Marriage is great, just not on its own. Here is my experiential truth: Getting to live life with a significant other is seriously a gift. Marriage gives the gift of intimacy. Real closeness. You get to be known in a way that no other relationship can offer. At the same time, you get to be known—good and not so good. Marriage without accountability and community is not great. Isolation in marriage is not great. Facades in marriage are not great. The breakdown of who you really are in proximity to another human who loves and cares for you is great. How you accept love and belonging, which marriage brings out, is great. Marriage - Union - Covenant - Commitment - alone is hard. In the context of community, marriage is great.
So let’s trek back to this Life Renovation. I say I am only at the beginning because I don’t want this process to stop. I want to continually demo the areas of my life that are moldy, cracked, and the likes thereof. So if you too find yourself in a life renovation, congrats and keep going. If you want to begin to break down the walls and jack hammer the floors, begin to ask yourself the why’s. Why do I believe that? Do I know (experience) it? And lastly, if you have no desire to renovate your life, I get that. It’s not easy. I would simply encourage you to live in a way that is always kind and generous—those are really good foundations to stand on.
Follow the yes. Wade in the peace. Halt in the no.