Posted by: karanoel | September 8, 2017

Uprooting what never belonged

Entering ever more deeply into middle age, we were eager to forego our renter status and become homeowners. Until our names were listed on a deed, it seemed as if our lives were on hold; like we couldn’t put our roots down and get established in a meaningful way. Our lease wouldn’t be up for several months, but I scoured Zillow anyway… every single day. For someone who wasn’t yet free to buy, it was pretty absurd how many details I knew about each house on the market.

If the future hadn’t arrived yet, I thought waiting would feel less frustrating if I had some clues as to what would come – and when – so I plied God for information. Rather than answer my questions, He spoke into my heart a simple directive: “Invest in where you are now.” It is one of the most profound and challenging statements I’ve ever heard. Over two years later, in the same rental, I am still pondering the implications.

Growing up, we moved often. I learned to keep my roots loose and shallow, not letting them grow too deep or become too interconnected because it hurt too much when it came time to pull them up. So investing in a place and community is scary, particularly if I know it’s temporary. There’s an insidious dread that once I really settle in, giving my heart to this home and the people who surround it, it will be torn from me and I will experience pain, which I fear above all things.

So I try to control my circumstances, by forcing change before its time so I can be its master or by fearfully clinging to the present in a futile (and exhausting) attempt to resist change. God asking me to be “all in” is, at heart, asking me to trust Him. Not in His ability to bring about the change I want in the time I want, nor in His ability to stave off unwanted change. But rather in His love and care for me, no matter what comes… and what doesn’t.

*********

I started this post last week and every time I’ve sat down to write it, I’ve cried. Not tears of self-pity or even sadness, but of vulnerability as I’m touching the roots of such tender places. They feel laid bare; exposed as they’ve never been.

I can see now that this time of waiting for a house has had nothing to do with a house, and everything to do with my freedom. It’s in the waiting, when desires are unfulfilled, that accusations against God and self are unmasked. They stoke fear during every pause – when the good in a situation is not yet clear, robbing rest and provoking wrong conclusions and reactions. Lingering pain from past experiences provides fertile soil for these fears and accusations to grow and crowd the rightful roots. To be tangled up with these invasive weeds has felt like protection to me – a way to keep from being exposed, from being vulnerable, from being hurt. But all it has accomplished is to steal from each day and each circumstance the joy that is rightfully mine.

In each of those clouded moments, when my soul needed comfort and I turned to the Lord, it felt more about immediate survival than long-term restoration. But what I’m coming to understand is that those feeble choices to trust were an invitation to the Holy Spirit to water the dry, hard ground of my soul. Because I would only allow Him to get so close for so long – just enough to take the edge off my pain – it took many years of such watering to saturate the ground enough to do the work He is doing now, which is masterfully uprooting all that never belonged. In His wisdom, He knew when He could pull out those wounds and beliefs with ease and without disturbance to anything of health and life. He is doing it with such gentleness and care that I could weep with gratitude.

If God were to have given me what I wanted in the time and measure I wanted it, all that old pain and its influence would have been able to stay, tucked away but still operating. That is simply not His heart for me. Rather than working for my good opinion or my temporary comfort, He has been working for my freedom. He has used the drawn-out space of an unfavorable housing market and an unclear future to loosen and remove old fears and show me an utterly safe place to grow deep and wide and strong – in Him and His tender care, with the assurance that I can wholeheartedly invest in the place He has me and the people in that place. Every day. Wherever those days may take me.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she can laugh without fear of the future.” Prov 31:25 NLT


Responses

  1. Beautiful Kara! Thank you for sharing wirh such transparency. Love to hear what the Lord is doing in your heart. (:

    • Thank you Kelly! He’s always working, isn’t He? 😊

  2. Good word Kara!

    • Thank you Tony!

  3. I moved a lot as a kid, as well (not to mention the seven moves during our marriage). I understand your need to KNOW. God works in me all the time to help me be patient with his timing and to be happy without know what comes next (this is really hard for me–especially after my husband went through cancer and there was so much I couldn’t control or know).Stopping by from Chad Allen’s book camp :).

    • Wow Anita. Sounds like you have had to trust in many areas of not knowing. I’m so glad we have a gracious God to walk us through these hard things and teach us how to be restful and joyful in the midst of them. Thank you for sharing!

  4. […] mode for a long while, the Lord told me “invest in where you are now.” I wrote a post about how scary it was for me to invest in a place I knew to be temporary, but I did my best to […]


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