How did I get here? There was a time when Susan wanted to repaint our living room with, what I thought were, wild and crazy colors. She wanted to spend money to buy new furniture and really upgrade the place. I remember arguing with her because it seemed like such a waist of money. I argued that maybe we should give that money away or use that money to go on a mission trip. Of course these kinds of arguments leave the other person with no where to go. What could she say, “I don’t want to help the poor!” or “I’d rather buy a couch than tell people about Jesus!”
So, I won…not! I’ve learned that when you ‘win’ an argument you usually lose relationally. I was certainly losing my wife and I couldn’t figure out why. All I knew was that I had given everything (literally) to serve God and everyone else should too!
Then one day I found myself trapped in a car with Doug Fike driving through the mountains of Bath County. As I explained to Doug that my wife so desperately needed an upgrade in commitment and sacrifice for the kingdom (after all selling everything she owned and moving to Asia couldn’t possibly be enough!) he began to talk about Charlene’s creative spirit and how it had clashed so dramatically with his Mennonite upbringing. He talked about his own process with God of letting go of his poverty mentality and recognizing that God could meet us in poverty and in abundance and how Charlene had taught him that.
Then he turned the tables and said something to the effect of, “Did you ever think that maybe Susan’s desire to decorate the house and use colors you would never choose could be an expression of the creativity God put inside of her? Perhaps decorating your house so that others could experience ‘home’ and feel safe in a pleasant appealing environment could actually be worship to the God who made her.”
I was undone!
The truth is I was religious in a really bad way. One of the ways I define religion is: God does something good and we think everyone else should relate with God like that too.
I went home and asked Susan to develop a budget for the upgrades and we would find a way to make it happen. We went for it and have continued to upgrade our home along the way. As a result countless people here in Wylie and from around the world have experienced ‘home’ in an inviting and loving environment in our house over the years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say things like, “I love this house. I feel so at home. I’ve never slept better in my life.”
And last weekend when we put the house on the market we had 6 lookers and 4 offers in one weekend! I think Susan and God might have had something to do with that, don’t you?
None of us change in a vacuum. Personal growth is not really personal.