Lessons Not Learned

Today was the day that we had planned on staging Millbrook. I had arranged for photography, inspection, Matterport videography, cleaning and the likes. I was so excited to place it up for sale. I had hoped that my hope alone would somehow speed up the renovation process in its final stages. I was wrong.

It’s been a long, long six months. There’s been some amazing memories built over the past few, including Aaron’s proposal to me, all of which have been sadly hazed by the stresses brought on by this renovation. Nothing has seemed to work in our favour. I’ve yelled about it. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve cried about it: none of which have changed anything for the better – at least, from my point of view. It’s impeded on Aaron’s and my happiness. It’s cut my patience shorter than I’d like to admit and my views have been skewed under the pressure. If you Google “stresses caused by renovations,” you’ll see a mile long list of articles written by psychologists and those who have gone before explaining just how difficult and taxing it is on relationships in particular. Unfortunately, there’s nothing special about us in comparison to the rest of those who have embarked on this journey and I’ve succumbed, time and time again, to the overwhelming emotions of it all.

Yesterday was no exception. When Aaron walked into an unpainted home with the deck installed wrong, kitchen items gone missing, holes in the wall and the long list of deficiencies not rectified by any stretch of the imagination, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. With my stager going away on vacation for three weeks, the sale of the home would now be pushed into December. I displayed by dissatisfaction to my contractor in an irritable-toned text message and called my business partner to complain. Yet again, I wasn’t able to to control the situation, and for someone who doesn’t know how to relinquish control, it had me in the tizziest of tizzies.

On a normal day, I would have jumped into my car and driven from the east end to Toronto in a heart beat. I would have walked around the house in anger, not accomplishing much other than raising my heart rate, thinking in my frazzled state-of-mind that me being present within the home may change something. Instead, I decided to go to church, somewhere I haven’t been all that much since renovations started. I prayed that someone would give me a message (mind you, thinking it would be a message of encouragement). I should have learned by now to be more specific in my prayers. I got a message all right – a message of conviction about my attitude and how I was treating others in my anger, specifically Aaron. I’ve been known the point a blaming finger or two…or three, maybe even all five. I got convicted of God providing me with a blessing and me letting it get to my head. I got convicted of treating those who are my partners in life – my fiance – with condemnation and contempt. Maybe the renovation got to my head and my heart more than I had realized. The possession of my home doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It doesn’t mean that God has more favour on me than anyone else. It doesn’t mean I can treat others in a manner that supersedes God’s grace. It doesn’t mean I can act in a way that doesn’t reflect a Christlike character, even when times get hard. It made me realize how imperfect I am and how much I need to stop pointing fingers and change who I’ve become. Not the message I had intended to receive, let me tell you!

Feeling a bit discouraged, I went home to talk to my mom, questioning the house altogether. What if, I thought, maybe I had thought God had blessed us with this project, but He actually hadn’t? Maybe I wanted it so badly that I stamped God’s approval on it all on my own. I had thought, without a doubt, that God’s hand was on it. What if it actually wasn’t? Maybe that’s why it isn’t working out. Maybe that’s why it’s so delayed. I began second-guessing myself and my decisions – until I decided to leave for work an hour earlier than I ever do (like, EVER) – and started listening to a sermon that I truly believe was meant for me this morning. The message: wait. Wait and wait and wait some more. It talked about me creating a timeline that I assumed God had to stick to. Well obviously, right? Because I have everything figured out to a T – the market, the new mortgage rules, my finances…it has to sell NOW or it will never succeed. Wrong. Wait and wait and wait some more, I heard.

The sermon talked about God not having an expiry date and working outside of time. It talked about God’s numerous mysteries that are filled with variety, and God working in mysterious ways we can’t even comprehend. It talked about learning lessons – lessons on patience, lessons on trust, lessons of maturity beginning to take root the more we wait. It talked about there being nothing that I can do to make it happen other than believing the promises that God’s given me. It talked about the work God had to do in me for a greater glory. It talked about doing a work in my heart in the waiting period, and gaining a peace in His sovereign will. It talked about God making “everything beautiful in its time,” and that those who wait “will renew their strength.” Well, I’ve run out of my own strength quite some time ago. And I have not learned that lesson of patience that I was supposed to. And I haven’t honed my character like I thought I would. I haven’t learned the lessons yet that perhaps I’ve been put in this position in the first place to learn.

I think I know it all – I think I know the bigger picture with my extensive knowledge in real estate transactions. I think I know how to do relationships. But the truth is, I know nothing at all. God sees the picture bigger than I will ever see it. And He sees me, flaws and all, and gently tells me, “Wait. And while you wait, change. And until you change, you’ll wait some more.”

I pray that I’ll listen to the messages that were given to me as I wait, as I try to trust, as I try to not take advantage of this blessing. May He continue to do a work in me as I continue to trust in His timing and until I learn all of the lessons not learned.

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11




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