Is it weird that I can’t wait to go work on my house this weekend? What I used to dread with the agony of a thousand small ant bites, I now anticipate with an excitement similar to going to Disney World or a girl’s weekend away.
What I am embarking on is a lot – and I mean a lot – of work, but it is essential as I move on and ahead in my journey. The work I’m doing is summed up in what should be a simple question but because of its emotional weight, is one I struggle to answer: Should it stay or should it go? This question is the crux of what I’ve asked God for years as I sought His direction: Do I stay or do I go?
And, if you are like me, you now have that popular song in your head, “Should I stay or should I go now?”
Here are two assurances that I read and re-read and remember when I’m praying about my future: Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (NIV) and Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(NIV)
With a so-not-like-me enthusiasm for cleaning, I look forward to dragging the empty boxes I’ve gathered from co-workers’ trash piles into the house, filling them with the stuff I’m keeping after sorting. Sorting involves methodical decision-making through the cob-webbed corners of closets and attic spaces. It’s the culmination of a 9-year season of life answered in a You Stay or You Go.
The last two weekends I spent two days each sorting, clearing, cleaning, trashing, piling, and purging the contents of my house. I am determining, slowly – and with the loving help of friends and family – does it stay or does it go. I can see the end.
The things I’m keeping go in one room: memories of childhood birthday parties, a Caboodles box full of jewelry I coveted as a preteen, a box of old dolls and even some Barbies, a yearbook from fifth grade and seventh grade, a hand-stitched baby blanket, and then there are the things I need and things I want.
The things I’m selling are going in another: old china collected as a teenager from Goodwill and Salvation Army but never ended up converting into a broken china-framed mirror, barely-used clothes from high school and college and shopping sprees gone-bad, purses, lots and lots of housewares, toys, linens, you name it.
My pile to sell is a lot bigger than the pile to sell. And, the pile I loaded into the trash was almost as big as the pile to keep. Kinda scary what I hold onto – mostly because I think I’ll need it one day.
Blessedly, The Question of whether I stay or go has been answered.
I will go from this place, but take it with me forever. I love my home – a 1907 Southern charmer with a tin roof, sweeping veranda and hardwood floors. It needs painted and it’s well-loved on the inside but it’s a very comfortable home for a small family or two active singles to share. I would love to sell it just for a financial release but I am practical that in this economy it’s not realistic. I’m praying for the right opportunity – for me and for the ones to next live in my home. In the meantime, like Esther, I’m preparing.
And the interesting thing about living in a home that is more than a Century old – you are not the first nor will you be the last to decide, “Should I stay or should I go?” We share a history and we look to the future – it longing for a fresh coat of paint and me, longing for the day I embark on this new season He set before me as a wife.
Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.” (NIV)