Taking up space in a house that isn’t your home is draining, not only for the body but for the mind and soul too. If you are stuck in a similar situation to mine, I have a few bits of encouragement to share.
When I look up, I see a beautiful vaulted ceiling. On my left, a stone wall boasts a cozy fireplace. To my right, a comfy rocking chair and stylish drapes welcome guests who walk through the front door. This is a beautiful house, and I will be here for at least four more months, but it doesn’t feel like home.
I’m sitting in my dad’s living room chair, staying at my childhood home as my husband and I step into a new season of life. We just moved from Colorado and are house-hunting in Tennessee. Meanwhile, my husband is in Minnesota training for his new job. With a brutal housing market and extensions added to my husband’s training, I’m stuck in the waiting process, hanging out in my bedroom that still has my favorite undergrad photos displayed above my headboard in the giant shape of a heart.
Of course, I enjoy staying with my family. I am close to my parents and younger sister, but this house is no longer my home. My home is the space I cultivate to welcome others; it’s the place where I inhabit the same four walls as my husband for more than a weekend at a clip.
Though I’m an avid traveler, nothing calms my soul quite like sipping coffee and studying my Bible at home, nestled in my blue velvet chair and surrounded by dog hair and honeysuckle candles.
When we are in these in-between seasons, it’s easy to grow impatient, frustrated, or worried. We are more likely to take our current angst out on those we love most, especially those who lend a helping hand as we wait or navigate a new living situation. Our Bible study rhythms are thrown off, and we find spontaneous worship to be a little awkward as others step in and out of the room we occupy.
Taking up space in a house that isn’t your home is draining, not only for the body but for the mind and soul too.
If you are stuck in a similar situation to mine, I have a few bits of encouragement to share:
1. Deeper Relationships are Waiting
I didn’t say deeper relationships might be possible; I said they are waiting. They are an active part of the present that requires you to invite them into your future.
The first few weeks I was back in my hometown, I had the chance to meet up with a dear friend from high school who still lives in the area. She and her husband now own a very successful pressure-washing business, and I met their youngest son, Zeke. I heard how her view of God has matured over the years and how each of us now sees others in a softer, kinder, more empathetic light.
Though we don’t see each other eight hours a day and five days a week anymore, I feel as though we are closer in the realities that we shared, the vulnerable seasons that adulthood has allowed us to live and grow through.
Honestly, if I weren’t forced to come home for a few months to be away from my wonderful friends in Colorado, I wouldn’t have had the chance not only to reconnect but deeper forge a relationship with a childhood friend.
Relationships are waiting for you to step into them, even when the physical space you live in seems like the last place you would want to make friends.
2. New Outreach is Available
If you are in a new city, state, or even country, even if you are still living out of a suitcase, new charitable space is available. New opportunities for you to love on the least of these are ready for you to extend your love and unique, God-given gifts. Perhaps you are in a town much colder than where you’re from, so you might want to see if a local church or charity hosts a coat closet. Even if you don’t have a coat to give, you can offer your time by organizing donations. If you have an eye for creativity, you could create flyers and social media graphics to advertise the clothes closet to the community.
Even if you live in the same town and are simply waiting for the day to move into your dream home five minutes away, who could you serve in this in-between phase? Since I’m back in my hometown, I know of the local charities, but what I find spiritually rewarding is loving on my parents and finding ways to take care of them. Thankfully, they are both in great health and are thriving in their mid-fifties, but it’s my joy for the roles to reverse as I sweep the house for Mom simply so she doesn’t have to. I find a purpose in patience as I allow Dad to force me into watching the same dog videos on social media repeatedly.
There’s a beauty to extending myself toward others. And true to his nature, God makes service beautiful, too; even when we give of ourselves, God allows us access to a heavenly joy and humming sense of purpose.
Don’t allow this low-key miserable season of waiting to keep you from being present for others. In truth, whether or not the season is miserable is up to you. Give God the chance to provide you with a wonderful reason to toss doom and gloom to the side for the sake of love in unexpected places.
3. Waiting Has an End
You already know this. I won’t pressure you with the obvious, but rather, I will present you with a simple parallel to this time of sleeping and waking in a space that isn’t home.
Jesus spent thirty-three years on earth, not only amid the wreck and ruins of sin but away from his Father. For the first time in, quite literally, forever, Christ wasn’t sitting next to the Throne of God. He was among wretched, sick, sinful people. Some wanted to murder him; others wanted to use him. And few truly desired to love him.
He wasn’t home; he was far from the sound of angels, the sparkling golden streets, the sweet aroma of genuine praise. Rather, he lived in a world where he wouldn’t even have a place to rest his head (Matthew 8:20). Christ gave up all comforts of heaven, all familiarities, to deliberately be among us. And rather than “endure” us for a season, he chose to love us. Instead of huffing, “This is just for a season. Only three more years,” he said, “I’m here to turn the tides of sin; law will no longer be the requirement for freedom from flaws. Instead, Mercy will make the sacrifice, and Grace will set mankind free.”
Likely, Jesus didn’t enjoy feeling the weight of mankind’s sin for thirty-three years. Undoubtedly, he didn’t find joy in being pursued by villainous Pharisees and deceived by one of his own disciples. This wasn’t his home, but he chose this place to create the gateway for our eternal home.
Because he remained steadfast in a clay-paved place he’d rather not be, because he looked for ways to forge deep relationships with mankind, because he found worth in extending his love to widows and orphans, and because he knew glory–true glory–was on the other side of his season of waiting, he chose to save the world.
Of course, we can’t save the world. We are the ones who need salvation. But where could joy and hope and love exist if you saw this season of waiting, this time of living somewhere you don’t want to be, as an opportunity to make a difference in those around you?
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Valentina Locatelli
Peyton Garland is an author and coffee shop hopper who loves helping others find beauty from ashes despite OCD, burned bridges, and perfectionism. Follow her on Instagram @peytonmgarland and check out her latest book, Tired, Hungry, & Kinda Faithful, Where Exhaustion and Exile Meet God, to discover how your cup can overflow, even in dry seasons.