Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life as a House

I spent the last week siding a house. Not my house, or someone I know, but a woman in New Orleans I met for just a few minutes in passing. It’s fascinating to me the way that God reveals himself when you step outside of your comfort zone and do something that you never would’ve pictured yourself doing. Like siding a house. 

My job for the most part is sitting at a desk. I get to be creative and I get to be organized, but rarely does my job entail anything more physical than typing or thinking. That’s a large part of why the Habitat trip to New Orleans was so appealing to me. It often takes getting out of one’s comfort zone and doing something completely out of the norm to make more room for God to show up.

Somewhere in the last few years, due to life circumstances and my own shortcomings, I’ve allowed myself to become such a muted version of the person I was created to be. If I didn’t know the person well that I was spending time with, I felt like in every conversation I was shrouded in gray. It was such a slow change, I didn’t notice it until I found myself uncomfortable in most social situations. I knew that I was missing out on life connections that could be incredible, but I couldn’t find a way to shake it. I felt myself shying away from speaking up, and I would leave conversations knowing that the other person knew nothing more of me than I was “nice.” As someone who strives to be transparent, and vulnerable even when it’s hard and I hate it, and embraces who I am, all the quirky traits that make me- me, this felt like a failure. 

Going into this trip, my biggest prayer was that I would be able to shake the gray, that I would be the me that I am to those in my life I feel safest with and that I would see God. And I did. I saw him in more laughter than I’ve experienced in months. I saw him in the hands that worked beside mine and in the love of people I’d never met, appreciating me for simply being me. And as the week wound down, I realized it was going to be hard to finish the side of the house I’d been working on. As Friday continued on, I felt a sort of quiet desperation settle in. All I wanted to do was see this wall completed. I had hammered hundreds of nails here, and I wanted to be the one to put the final pieces up. As we continued working and I realized it was going to come down to the wire, I felt myself becoming more and more determined and panicked to see the finish. Another person from the work site recognized it, without me saying a word, and came around to help us finish. He was the one that realized due to an error in framing, there was a stud we weren’t going to be able to side around. When he tried, the siding cracked in half. This meant, 3 pieces of siding to go, the wall wasn’t going to be finished by us because we simply didn’t have time to fix the framing error. I found myself fighting back tears at the thought that it wasn’t going to be completed by me. And the whole time I was having this inner battle with myself over why I was so passionate about seeing it through. It was just a wall of a house. But it wasn’t until days later, upon returning home, that I realized why I reacted the way that I did. There are several areas of my life that I find myself living in quiet desperation to see the culmination of, the next step, the ending that I’ve been praying for so long to see. And over the last several months, I’ve felt myself resigning myself so many times to simply feeling lost. I don’t understand why areas of my life look the way that they do, when I so desperately wish and pray for them to be different. I realized though in this act of siding a house, that sometimes it’s just not ready. No matter how hard I work, or pray, it may not be time. There are some things I pray for that I may never get to see to fruition. They may not come in my lifetime. There are other areas that feel like God is clearly saying, just breathe. You can’t force this. You don’t want it to crack. You want it to last. You want it to weather what is to come. At the end of the day, the simple act of siding a house gave me peace, and hope and helped me find myself again. 

What a beautiful, and unexpected, gift. 

 “You know the great thing, though, is that change can be so constant you don't even feel the difference until there is one. It can be so slow that you don't even notice that your life is better or worse, until it is. Or it can just blow you away, make you something different in an instant. It happened to me.”
                                                                                               ~ Life as a House