when God says not now

I’m in the midst of a fight with God right now.

Three months ago, my husband and I felt a strong call from the Lord to sell our house and live with less.  It was not something I was excited about at first.  We feel really blessed to have a beautiful house and neighbors who we do life with.  So, the thought of leaving it all was not at the top of my list.  But, when we felt Him nudge, we tried to be obedient.

We cleaned, shoved everything in drawers and under beds, and stuck a FOR SALE sign in our front yard (after breaking the news to our neighbors first).

For 75 days we cleaned every time we got a call.  We tried to keep the house as “perfect” as possible and made our beds every.single.day.

At several points throughout this process, I felt like I could explode.  My house felt stuffy and lifeless.  Everything looked perfect and clean — just the way I always wanted it to look.  But now, all I wanted to do was leave a mess and not worry about it.  We went 75 days without having friends into our home or letting our kids have a playdate.  This house that I once loved now suffocated me in a way I never would have imagined.

A few days ago, we had enough.  We just couldn’t take it anymore.  Our house wasn’t selling, so we took that as the clarity we had been praying for.  We took our house off the market.

It was a strange feeling.  I had already grieved leaving all the things that I love about this house and location.  I had grown excited about all that awaited for us in a smaller, cheaper place.  And, isn’t that what God wanted for us?!?

I’m not sure what God is doing — what His plan is.  For now, He is saying “not now.”  We may try to sell again later.  But for now, we will stay put.

A few days ago I had a moment, though.  After lunch I was cleaning up the kitchen and looked around.  There were dishes in the sink, library books piled on the dining room table, and shoes all over the entry way.  For the past three years of living in this house (and especially in the last 75 days), this would send me through the roof feeling overwhelmed and stressed with keeping everything “just so.”  For the first time, though, it didn’t stress me out.  It was almost refreshing.  I didn’t feel burdened by the fact that we live in our house.  For several years I’ve expected and desired for our house to be perfectly presentable to all who might happen to knock on my door.  But today, I would gladly welcome anyone in…with a smile on my face…because we live here.  Welcome to my not-so-perfect house.

It has taken a lot of growing for me to get to this spot.  You see, I care what people think.  I want people to think that I have it all together and oooohhh and aaaahhhh over how clean my house is.  God taught me something different these past 75 days.

NOT NOW means I get to breathe a little.  He may not have answered our prayers the way I thought He would, but He’s showing me that a perfectly clean house does not bring contentment.  I can only be satisfied in Him.  A house (no matter how clean or dirty it is) will never satisfy.  Only God can meet the deepest desires on my heart.

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