Our Journey Home – Part 1

Erik Cooper —  February 13, 2012 — 3 Comments

When we sold our house last month, we assumed the journey God was leading us on had to do with where we live.

(Home. Live. Seemed like a reasonable connection to me).

Little did we know, God had something much bigger in mind. Signing that purchase agreement was the equivalent of pulling our thumb out of the dyke. A back hoe moved in and began excavating some deep places in our hearts, ripping up the roots and setting them on the surface for everyone to see.

Things we knew. Things we didn’t know. Stuff we were dealing with. Stuff we thought we’d already conquered.

Over the course of this week, I’m going to share a few of these uprooted revelations with the hope you might find a bit of yourself in our messiness – your own “journey home.”

The week after we sold our house was heavy. I literally felt a weight. In my gut. On my shoulders. In my spirit. And my face registered every pound. Our realtor was showing us houses all over Indianapolis and all I wanted to see was the bathrooms.

Could I discretely vomit in here while they’re checking out the kitchen?

After a few days of soul searching, my wife and I both realized the culprit: Expectations.

As leader you always feel it, and some of it’s healthy. We lead with our lives.Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) But when the weight of opinion and other people’s convictions begin to dominate your thinking, you’re no longer able to be true to yourself or listen to God.

Somewhere on my journey I learned that agreeing with others avoided conflict, and avoiding conflict eliminated embarrassment, pain, and shame. Elevating other people’s opinions above my own convictions kept me in the club.

My wife grew up under the pastor’s kid microscope. She and her brother can recall stories of self-righteous board members physically pulling chewing gum from their mouths on church property under the guise a passing motorist might think a 6 year old was chewing tobacco. (You can’t make this stuff up).

Perceptions involuntarily became important to both of us. Surrendering to the expectations of others a coping mechanism. So when a simple, little “For Sale” sign turned “Sold,” the voices of old conflicts and angry board members began ringing in our heads.

“So I guess you’re gonna….”

“Wow, it’s about time you…”

“Surely you’re not planning…”

What will people think? How will they perceive us? What do they expect? A root we were already well aware of (and thought we had dealt with) got re-exposed to the elements. Novocaine free.

People pleasing isn’t just unfortunate, it’s a sin. Elevating the accolades of others above the love of God. Surrendering to outward expectations rather than pressing into who God designed you to be. It’s a reminder we’re broken. It’s a call to repent.

Do you wrestle with the weight of pleasing others? How does it affect you? Is it ever a good thing?

Sometimes God pulls and end around. He calls a run play when you were 100% sure He was going to pass. That’s the journey we’re on here. Our journey home.

More beautifully uncomfortable revelations to come later this week.

3 responses to Our Journey Home – Part 1

  1. I appreciate this post so much — my husband and I are on the other side of this, buying our first house and terrified of what our friends will think all because of the price tag. When you know your friends are living in postage-stamp apartments furiously saving money for a much-hoped for adoption, or simply struggling to get by each day, it’s hard not to feel selfish or worldly or just plain extravagant. It’s stealing the joy from what should be an exciting time in our lives.

    I like the idea of using this as a chance to press into who God designed us to be. We are tremendously blessed with a down payment gift. How can we continue that blessing to others? When I was on staff with a collegiate ministry, a family opened their home to me rent-free. What a gift. Perhaps this is just the beginning. Perhaps God is making room in our heads and our hearts for His purposes by digging out the clutter of our fear of others’ opinions. Anyway, thanks Erik, for your candidness. I look forward to reading everything God is teaching you in this season.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Kate. It’s encouraging to me as well. We started much the same way as you (a few years ago) with a nice down payment and dealt with a lot of guilt. I think it’s important to be challenged be each other’s journeys, but to understand we’re not all on the same one. You’re so right, don’t forget to celebrate this time in your lives. (It’s OK!)

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  1. Own Your Why | Beyond The Risk - Erik Cooper - May 17, 2012

    […] months ago we sold our house. I shared the bulk of this gut-wrenching process as we Pepto-Bismol-ed our way through each […]

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