Stories about the holiness of selling your home
My home has been for sale since August. In January, we listed with an agent. This month, we started seeing homes fly off of the market, sold in less than a week! Why I wondered was this not happening to me? In my heart, I knew that if God wanted my home to sell in less than a week, it would. It was easy to blame God for not selling this house. Trust, however, became more elusive.
People began offering me unsolicited advice.
- The photos online need to be retaken. They are too junky. <– said by someone who had first told me that my home showed “really well” online.
- You need to restage your home.
- You need to reduce the price.
- You need to paint your door. (which had already been painted, thank you very much.)
- You need to paint this bedroom.
- You need to change the verbiage on your for sale page to say, “offers accepted.”
- If you moved your school area downstairs and staged your dining room to be a real dining room, it would sell.
- Ask one of your interior decorating friends to makeover your home.
Now I am not saying that any of these thoughts are bad or are not good ideas, but what I heard everyone say was, “Your home needs to be perfect for it to sale. You need to be perfect.”
Last week, my neighbor’s house sold in a few days. One of their clients had seen my house too, and I didn’t know if perhaps they chose her home over mine. I was happy for her, but I cried. I didn’t really think about why.
A few days later, I recognized it was because I was ashamed. Not selling the house was telling me that I was not good enough, and I was listening. The feedback from the potential buyer’s had been good, but still, there had been no interest, and this was discouraging.
The holiness of selling your home is finding the shame and lies and turning them into truth. No matter how not good enough I am for others, I am a chosen child of God. I am enough to be chosen by Him, because of Jesus.
A few months ago, I posted something as a facebook status about home selling being hard. We’ve been cleaning and showing and had gotten over the honeymoon stage of home selling, where we thought any moment anyone would snatch it up. Because of the status, some good friends told me to pray as I cleaned and vacuumed. That was the best idea I’d ever heard, so I started trying it.
But, most of the time, I couldn’t do it. My prayers were stagnant. I felt more anger than belief. I feared that the potential buyers could smell my anger over Him. Why were these past two years so hard? Where exactly was God? Had He forgotten me? Did He really love me? Why had following Him meant so much pain and loss? Of course, I’d wrestled with these questions in the past, and my head knew why, but my heart still hurt.
If I wasn’t angry with God, then I was trying not to be angry with my family members. I would turn on Pandora to praise stations and sing my heart out and feel myself come to calm, but sometimes, I could not do anything but vacuum in silence trusting that the Holy Spirit was praying the words I could not.
The holiness of selling your home is allowing God to pray when you cannot, to release the questions and emotions you are holding onto, and allowing Him to do what He may with them.
God’s grace is a free gift. I had spent the last few years learning about grace, but I found myself feeling like I had to earn my way back to God through working hard, living right, and repentance. I was falling back into the place where I knew God did not want me to be. Internally, the lie I was telling myself and that Satan was working hard to get me to believe was that, “if you work hard enough to be good for God, your home will sell – until then, you can forget it.”
Doing all the right things, including repenting, felt more like manipulation than righteousness. I kept coming to the conclusion that “it cannot be about me or what I am doing.” God is bigger than me, and His kindness toward me is really not based on me. The question remained, “Did God want to be kind to me?”
During one of the rages in our home, I found myself yelling to my husband, “God doesn’t answer my prayers. He always says no. Why else did my dad die instead of my parent’s marriage being reconciled?” In the earliest days of my faith life, the one deep prayer I’d prayed with fervor had been denied. Little did I know that there was some place deep inside with lack of complete trust that God was good to me. This, I found, was the true intent of my anger with God, not that He wasn’t selling my home. I was unable to trust Him completely because I didn’t think He cared about my heart prayers. Not only was it about my dad’s death, but internally, I had a long list of things God had not cared to do for me no matter how I had cried out to Him.
The holiness of selling your home is finding what is in your heart, in places long forgotten, like cleaning out a home and getting it ready to sell.
A few weeks ago, I joined a mentoring group for writers who are struggling to write. Our second assignment was to tell our story. I did not want to do it because I was angry with God, and I didn’t want to remember who He was or what He’d done for me in the past. But the exercise was healing for me, because I had to remember what He had done. Of course, He’d done good things for me. Of course, I’d seen Him move and work in me. This blog is full of such discourse, but I refused to reread what He’d done. Of course, I knew He was with me. But, I wanted my anger. He, of course, cared more about my heart and was cleaning out the caverns more intensely, and He was refusing to allow me to turn away. So I did the assignment I had paid to do. I told the story of God’s goodness to me and how I was angry now.
The next day, I realized that something had been broken. My heart was healing, softening, transforming, and I think it is safe to say, I was less angry.
The holiness of selling your home is finding some semblance of healing.
Even still, a few days after this realization, I met with a friend. I don’t have many friends right now. I have struggled with friendship with many years, but God always sees to it that I have at least one. She asked me a single question about my parents. I told her how I was afraid of living the life my parents had lived and that I was caught in generational sin. I was afraid of reliving the past in the present. I answered her question with a detailed story of the past, recounting deep and painful things I’d forgotten. It became clear that I was not living the life I was afraid I was.
Selling my home was becoming holy work. Sure, my home could have sold in two days, but then I would have taken all the demons with me to wherever we move to, and God really did have something better in store for me. His kindness and goodness were ever-present, ever with me, ever pursuing me into the depths of the pain I didn’t know I had.
It is because His pursuit really is relentless that I can truly say that He is for you too, even in the midst of your pain, your heartaches, your joy, and yes, even your anger. You have no idea how excited I am to write those words, because I can say them and absolutely mean them.
Sometimes the relentless pursuit looks like unanswered prayers and a house that doesn’t sell and pain instead of joy. Even still, He is jealous for our whole hearts, causing us to trust even when prayers are not answered the way we wish they were.
The holiness of selling your home is sanctification. He longs for our whole hearts, and even when we cannot do the work we wish we could, He does it for us.
Dear future owner of my home,
or the prayer I couldn’t pray.
You will not see a perfect home here.
I’ve KonMari’d the heck out of this place,
yet papers come in every day.
Even if it seems perfect to you (you are a rare breed),
things are going to break here.
The best learning happens when things break.
Seeds begin to sprout.
Lies begin to shatter.
Hope begins to grow.
And light shines brighter.
Life does not happen without imperfection.
We can either let it defeat us,
or we can embrace the things it wants to teach us.
Please choose to embrace it.
I don’t know if dreams will be made here,
but I know you are on holy ground.
Take off your shoes and see what He wants to do.
So much work and love has happened here.
This place is blessed,
and if you choose it, I have no doubt,
you will be blessed too.
A third of my life has been lived here.
There has been laughter and joy,
hope and healing,
anger and fighting,
tears and rage,
death and life,
building and restoration,
searching and knowing,
grief and unquenchable rejoicing,
hiding and dancing.
May you embrace the work that has to be done,
and let it teach you to love the life you have.
May new things be birthed,
(if you are lucky it will be children)
let the old things pass away.
May you know the God of this house
even if you don’t know Him now.
May you find the grace that showers with abundance
when you hear the owls hoot,
see the bunny poop,
find a turtle on a sunny day,
or see the deer grazing in the back.
May you find the creek faster than we did,
but may you know the Lord’s protection over anyone falling in.
May the flowers and trees bring you delight.
May you listen to the rain on the back porch
and teach the kids the sounds of the birds.
May God be found,
the small spaces expand,
in this holy temple ground,
where His holy light and life abound.
The holiness of selling your home
is finding Jesus is still all around.