“I feel violated.”
Not the response you want to get when staging a person’s home.
Definitely not what I expected to hear when I was in the process of transforming a rental home for selling last week.
I wasn’t there to disrupt a family or make the tenant angry.
I was there because I had a job to do, and a beautiful presentation was my only goal.
I was there because the owner of the home knew what needed to be done to make this house shine to sell quickly.
“But I feel violated. It doesn’t feel like our home any more.”
The words stung my ears.
Though I admit it was through slightly gritted teeth, I tried to encourage her through the process. To comfort her and remind her that this was a necessary part of the process of selling a home. I tried to be sensitive to her concerns and needs.
And while I was initially hurt and irritated by this statement that seemed to disrespect the hard work I was putting in, there was a part of me that also understood.
I was moving things around. I was putting personal items away and eliminating familiar clutter. I was changing everything that felt normal to this family.
My presence in that house was an unwelcome reminder to this tenant that their world was being turned upside down and that they would soon be leaving this beautiful home, uncertain where they would rent next.
No matter what I did to beautify, her verbalized intent was to return things to how they had been. Back to her old normal.
Gosh, that sounds like me.
God comes in to start working on something inside me, His only goal to make me more lovely inside.
But all I can feel is the shift of the proverbial rug being taken from under my feet. All I see is removal and unwanted rearranging that doesn’t feel like my comfortable normal. I just want to go back to my old ways of thinking, acting, viewing of things.
“I feel violated,” I can hear my heart saying.
Jesus is quick to remind me that the finished product will surprise and delight me if I just let Him do His work. If I trust that He is the expert and knows what He’s doing. He encourages me along the way that He is well aware of my frail human perspective of the process, and that He won’t fail me.
“I promise it will be good,” He says.
Yesterday I returned to the house to make sure things were in place for professional photos.
And the woman whom I had filled with so much angst was now smiling at me.
I think she actually was kind of getting used to this new normal, maybe even starting to enjoy the beauty of the rearranged look. There was a little more trust in me.
Over the course of just one weekend, her perspective had changed a bit. I’m hoping that she saw that the changes made were things that, at least at some level, could be maintained. That the result of simplifying might actually work to make her life a little easier.
(Before and After Family Room)
After the house sells and I go back to gather my decor and staging items, I know that she will be relieved that it will be the last time she sees me. 🙂
But I also hope that when we say our goodbyes that she will have come away from the experience feeling like some part of it was worth the pain. That maybe she gleaned something that she can take forward with her.
I hope I do the same.
I want the changes that Jesus works into my life to be permanent, not just temporary fixes. I want to leave in place the things He has rearranged and make room for either new pieces or further removal.
Because, honestly, I am just the tenant.
He is the owner of this temporary dwelling that is me.
And He knows what needs to be done in His deeply valued possession….
Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
1 Corinthians 6:19 – Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself…